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November 21, 2018

Everyday Extraordinary: A Second Look at the 2018 Mazda6 Sports Wagon

If there’s one carmaker that does design well, it’s Mazda. Since the introduction of their KODO design in 2012, they have steadily proven to be a contender when it comes to delivering class and elegance, as well as consistent driving performance. These elements are present across the product categories, not just in the coveted MX-5. In fact, their Jinba-Ittai or horse-and-rider-as-one philosophy manifests itself strongly even in their executive car offering, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon (read the in-depth review, here).

From the onset, the Mazda6 keeps it real: it’s not exactly meant to attract an immature boy racer, but more of someone who enjoys the good things in life. Despite its name, it comes across more as elegant than outright sporty. It entices with that sexy silhouette that’s unmistakably Mazda. The lines, running from tip to stern are seamless, as though the panels are built in one fluid piece. The sloping hood is purposely elongated while the rounded backside smoothly wraps up the package.

Admittedly, design-wise, the Mazda6 Sports Wagon still carries the current KODO design language, one that’s already superseded by the evolved KODO design seen in the 2019 Mazda6 sedan. Nonetheless, it manages to remain fresh and current.

Settling into the cabin feels like being cocooned in a warm, comfortable shell. Everything you see and touch is well-thought of, starting with the premium leather trimming that envelopes most of the interior. The seats themselves are firm, but supportive; providing an ergonomically-sound driving position.

Mazda’s mastery of the human body likewise extends to the positioning of the controls. All of the necessary buttons and knobs are within easy reach, all arranged in an intuitive and easy to understand manner.

Of course, Jinba-ittai is nothing without the drive itself and as with any other Mazda, the true personality of the Mazda6 shows itself on the road. There’s a fluidity in its handling with a perfectly balanced steering to boot. The same action holds true with its pedals that promotes a steady, smooth action of the brake and accelerator pedal. With a 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine, the Mazda6 can eat up all that highway if you let it, but it’s also nonetheless effortless in traffic. Progress builds up gradually and linearly—without the sudden jolt so prevalent in today’s small displacement turbos.

That said, the Mazda6’s greatest weakness is its visibility. While the flowing curved lines create a wonderfully beautiful aesthetic, it also greatly hampers visibility. This makes lane-changing or spotting two-wheelers quite a challenge. It desperately needs blind spot indicators, something that should be taken into consideration with its impending facelift. Still, the current Sports Wagon’s myriad of proximity sensors and a rear parking camera do make parking it quite easy.

Even pre-refresh, the 2018 Mazda6 Sport Wagon is well-suited for the modern urban individual. It is, for all intents and purposes, a benchmark in its class thanks to its fusion of tasteful styling with functional details. Mazda’s task is to make any ordinary driver enjoy an extraordinary driving experience every day. In that regard, it’s job well done. Things can only get better from here.

Words and photos by Gen Tiu.

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