Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: 2017 Mazda6 Sports Wagon


Mazda has been steadily rolling out G-Vectoring Control or GVC throughout its entire line-up. In fact, their entire passenger car range from the cheeky Mazda2 to the sleek Mazda6 all have it now. The mission of GVC is to unite the different components of Skyactiv: Engine, Drive (transmission), and Body into one seamless package. Think of GVC as Mazda’s version of torque vectoring, only better. Instead of being reactionary which is typically the case, GVC is proactive, working the moment the driver moves the wheel. Of course, all this GVC talk questions whether it’s made every Mazda drive the same way now.

Well, it’s a yes and a no.

Having driven the GVC-equipped Mazda2 and Mazda3 already, getting into the saddle of the Mazda6 feels extremely comfortable. Sneakerheads can relate, but driving one Mazda after another is like owning three different shoes of the same brand. They may have different designs or trimmings, but the overall fit is the same. And boy, is it good.



One trait that differentiates the Mazda6 from its siblings is how it belittles its size. Compared to the “what you see is what you get” size vis-à-vis handling on the Mazda2 and Mazda3, the Mazda6 does better at hiding its girth. Compared to other executive sedans (or wagons) out there, visibility is quite good with just minimal blind spots. It doesn’t feel bloated or cumbersome to drive. The sight lines are already great in tight, urban confines, but they’re truly a godsend when tackling curves and corners. Having said that, the Mazda6 could have scored perfect in visibility if only they equipped it with blind spot indicators. An available feature on the Mazda3 and CX-5, it’s nowhere to be found on the Sports Wagon. Though adjusting the side mirrors to the outer flanks do help, a wayward motorcycle or two can still manage to sneak through the Mazda6’s rear three-quarter blind spot.

As the grand tourer of Mazda’s passenger car range, the Mazda6’s driving components are tweaked for that task. Unlike the Mazda2’s quick responses to steering inputs for instance, it takes more prodding to get the Mazda6 to dance. The steering is honest and precise, but it’s nowhere as responsive as the Mazda2 or even Mazda3. It’s all deliberate though since what it gives up in agility, it gains in comfort and stability. With the exception of audible tire noise, it’s well-balanced, with a firm yet pliant ride. New for 2017 is the aforementioned GVC system. In the Mazda6’s case, the GVC does well to cut back on steering corrections, but its operation isn’t as transparent here. At the limit, the cutting of engine power is actually noticeable. This could simply be that the Mazda6 is a smoother car, but more likely, it’s GVC going against the laws of physics; and physics always wins.





With all that handling prowess at its disposal, the engine does start to sound like a downer. The normally-aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G’s 187 horsepower, 250 Nm of torque may be alright for a typical passenger car, but on paper, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon could do with more power. In reality though, there’s no shortage of pull whatsoever. The engine note does sound a bit raspy, but whether it’s stop-and-go traffic or high-speed overtaking on the highway, it’s got game. The engine and transmission are so well-tuned that reaching for the paddles shifters or even the Drive Selector (Sport) mode are almost always unnecessary. Fuel economy remains at a respectable 6.85 km/L in the city (average speed 11 km/h) and 16.94 km/L (average speed 56 km/h) on the highway.

Aside from the poor headroom (poorer than even the Mazda3’s), the Mazda6 is roomy. It strikes a great balance between sportiness and comfort, enabling it to tackle long-distance drives just as well as the daily commutes to and from the office. Compared to its smaller siblings, it’s got the best seats with the best levels of support at all the right places. The rear passengers do feel shortchanged compared to those in front, but they won’t be complaining. Despite its shortened wheelbase, it’s the same in terms of shoulder, leg, and knee room. And as a wagon, the biggest attraction of the Mazda6 is its larger cargo hold. However, be forewarned that this is with the cargo net retracted. With it in place, the loading height is severely cut allowing just two full-sized luggage and two carry-ons to fit with almost no space to spare.



Though largely carried over unchanged from the 2015-2016 update, the 2017 model does offer revised gauges featuring a full-colored LCD display that replaces the previous one’s archaic-looking single-color multi-information display as well as a beefier three-spoke tiller. Also new is the subtle wrap-around Mazda Speed body kit and net-type luggage separator.

Mazda is offering the only executive-segment wagon in the market through the Mazda6 Sports Wagon and frankly, that’s saying a lot. Often considered as the best all-rounder in the entire automotive landscape, wagons have all the benefits with none of the side effects. They handle well, don’t take up a lot of space, and yet remain flexible and practical.

With crossovers and SUVs dominating the top-of-mind choice now, the Mazda6 now happens to appeal almost purely towards emotions—a truly heart over mind choice. Though the Mazda6 has always appealed to those who want something a bit more driver-centric than the usual, it doesn’t compromise on the comfort expected of an executive car. Furthermore, G-Vectoring Control bakes a deeper sense of emotionality. While its implementation here is much rawer than on the Mazda2 or Mazda3, it still adds the right dose of change to keep the Mazda6 Sports Wagon on the positive side of the handling equation.





2017 Mazda6 Sports Wagon
Ownership 2017 Mazda6 Sports Wagon
Year Introduced 2013 (Refreshed: 2015, 2017)
Vehicle Classification Executive Car
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Wagon
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 187 @ 5,700
Nm @ rpm 250 @ 3,250
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.85 km/L (11 km/h),
16.94 km/L (56 km/h)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,805
Width (mm) 1,840
Height (mm) 1,480
Wheelbase (mm) 2,750
Curb Weight (kg) 1,444
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/45 R 19 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear, with Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (w/ Memory for Driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone with Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB x 2
Bluetooth
GPS
# of Speakers 11, Bose
Steering Controls Yes

14 comments:

  1. Technically, the Subaru Outback is also a station wagon, even if it's raised. So yeah, 2 are offered here. :)

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  2. Uly, you should do a comparison with the Levorg and the Golf GTS. Similar wagons but different value all in all.

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    Replies
    1. We can! Unfortunately, there's no demo unit of the Golf GTS. As for the Levorg, I'm waiting for the facelifted one.

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  3. I can't believe 11 km/h is now our average city speed these days...

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    Replies
    1. That's actually good because that includes the weekend. Without it, the average speed goes down to around 8 to 9 km/h.

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  4. I'm choosing between this, the CX5 and the MX5. It's a very hard choice..

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    Replies
    1. if you have an SUV already buy the mx5. coz... YOLO

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  5. You didn't mentioned the speaker sound quality.

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    Replies
    1. It's got Bose, but honestly? It doesn't stand out as much as on the Mazda3 using the same setting.

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  6. That’s a WIDE variety of choice you got there sir! I envy you and i wanna help! If it’s pa pogi you want then the CX-5 or Mazda6 sedan diesel might be the choice for you, test drive the 6 diesel to know/remember how FAST it is. Halos bonus nalang yung efficiency. And remember na kahit pogi yung MX-5 ang laki ng trade offs when it comes to practicality and space. But if it’s for the purity of driving and the manual transmission, walang tatalo sa MX-5 for me.

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  7. Hi uly. Just wondering if the mazda 6 sedan also got the my 2017 changes. Haven’t seen any reviews on the sedan yet

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  8. I went to the dealer to see the 6 wagon and walked away disappointed. It has the interior space of a compact car at premium midsize money

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  9. would the wagon be fitted with the diesel engine like the sedan?

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  10. Still lookin’ good after all these years

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