|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
From a bean counter’s point-of-view, it doesn’t make sense to bring in a wagon since it’ll never sell in numbers compared to say, a crossover or SUV. And so, it takes a company with a different mindset to appreciate the merits of bringing one in. It takes some cojones to offer a specialized, almost niche vehicle in the market; and the company that did so had to be Mazda. Not limiting themselves to simply what focused group studies say, Mazda stuck true to their corporate DNA. In every segment they’re in, they don’t simply just build another car; they build a Mazda. This way of thinking is very visible in how the Mazda6 is engineered; and now, more so with the Mazda6 Sports Wagon.
Contrary to what most people think, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon isn’t just a case of automotive cut-and-paste. The dimensions alone tell the story: the wagon is marginally shorter in both length and wheelbase. It’s also slightly taller, but because of the roof rails. Of course, without looking at the spec sheet or brochure, there’s no way of telling. The Mazda6, even in its wagon form, is every bit as sexy. In fact, you can go as far as saying that it’s the better looking of the two. Where the sedan looks a bit stretched, the Mazda6’s long hood and wheelbase are more cohesive with the wagon’s roofline. The move from the formal three-box to a two-box shape actually gives the Mazda6 much needed musculature and bulk giving gravitas to the otherwise slender form. The best part of the transformation is actually the 6’s wagon-exclusive grille. It may not look that different from the sedan, but at night, an LED strip outlines the grille creating an unmistakable presence. As such in this class, it’s the little things that matter.
Despite the reduced wheelbase, there’s no discernible difference to the interior room. It’s the same experience you get in the sedan with generous shoulder, hip, and knee room. Since this is a car made to be driven, not to be ridden (shame if you just review this car from the backseat), the front seats offer the best experience with a great balance between comfort and support. The seats don’t look as plush or wide in pictures, but it manages to make short work of long-distance driving. The rear ones are less stellar, but they’re good nonetheless. The biggest difference between the sedan and the wagon is found in the headroom. While going in and out of the front seats will ruin gel-affixed hipster hair, there’s more headroom at the back simply because of the roofline. It doesn’t feel as claustrophobic. As a wagon, it offers a much larger cargo hold, but this is with the cargo net retracted. With it in place, the loading height is severely cut meaning an object similar to the 6’s 225/45R19 tires will barely fit in the back.
Creature comfort features are the same for both the sedan and wagon. And this equates to a fully-loaded interior with stuff like push-button start/stop, passive entry, powered front seats, a moon roof, and even a Bose sound system (which oddly enough, sounds much better in the wagon when set to identical settings) all as standard equipment. And you can get the 6 wagon with the optional Pure White interior as well (depending on the exterior color). However, if you dread any scuffing or bleeding (from your jeans or otherwise), the standard all-black interior is the one to have. Technically, it’s not really all black since they’re some dark brown inserts scattered throughout including those on the dash and door trims. It does sound weird, but in reality, the combination works well.
Sharing its mechanicals with the sedan, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon gets the same 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine putting out 188 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. It’s slightly heavier though, weighing at 1,491 kilograms versus 1,444 kilograms. Behind the wheel though, the experience is pretty much the same. There’s no shortage of power whatever situation you find yourself in. Whether you’re just puttering in the city or driving high-speed on the expressway, the drivetrain is so well tuned that you never need to reach for the paddle shifters or even the Driver Selector (Sport) mode. Like the sedan, the wagon is largely quiet if just for a tad of noticeable tire noise. Plus, the heavier body also doesn’t seem to penalize fuel economy. The 6 wagon still manages 9.80 km/L in the city (average speed 19 km/h) and 16.94 km/L on the highway.
Having the opportunity to drive both the sedan and the wagon brings about the most discernable difference: the handling. The Mazda6 is already a well-sorted machine in its own right, but the Mazda6 Sports Wagon simply elevates the experience a notch higher. It rightfully deserves the ‘Sport’ in its name with a steering that’s noticeably quicker and a body that feels nimbler with much less understeer than the sedan. It still behaves like a large car when pushed but apparently the slightly reduced dimensions make one heck of a difference. Normally, an executive car isn’t one to carve corners in, but the 6 wagon simply loves these surroundings. It loves switchbacks, allowing you to play with the steering. And it always feels planted and will never feel tiring.
As the segment’s only executive wagon, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon has this segment all to itself. There are some people who won’t dare go for a wagon, wanting instead the conventionality of a crossover. Unfortunately, results with the masses who end up with more of the predictable choices. But the Mazda6 has never been just for the everyday executive. It’s designed for the one who wants something different, who wants something special. The Mazda6 is for the guy who doesn’t play by the rules and he wants his car to reflect that very persona. The Mazda6 Sports Wagon goes a step further. Essentially, it’s the up-yours in the face of convention and mediocrity.
2015-2016 Mazda6 Sports Wagon
|Ownership||2015 Mazda6 Sports Wagon|
|Year Introduced||2013 (Refreshed: 2015)|
|Vehicle Classification||Executive Car|
|Body Type||5-door Wagon|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||188 @ 5,700|
|Nm @ rpm||250 @ 3,250|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 93~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,491|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Muti-Link|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/45 R 19 (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Front and Rear w/ Reverse Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (w/ Memory for Driver)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes, Dual Zone, with Rear Vents|
USB x 2
|No. of Speakers||11, Bose|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|