Has the mainstream mode of Japanese automakers Mazda turned off years ago. The brand clearly sets itself apart from the Far Eastern competition, be it through special technical features or with an unusual design. This also applies to the mid-range sedan Mazda6 and the associated station wagon. Since the beginning of 2013, the debut of the current series, Mazda has sold well over half a million copies worldwide, 26.700 in Germany.
Because the 6 is so well received, there was no reason to mess around with the outer optics. Therefore, the developers paid more attention to the well-being of the occupants. So there are not only improved materials in the cockpit, new equipment details and other colors. Mazda is the first ever to use an electronically controlled comfort system in automotive engineering, but the driver is not aware of it.
The system is called GVC. The abbreviation stands for G-Vectoring Control. If the driver steers quickly into a curve, the software minimally reduces the engine torque for a fraction of a second. As if you were going off the gas very briefly. This lubber puts more load on the front wheels. This load is used in order to be able to build up more lateral forces, which has the consequence: The car pulls through the curve even more accurately. But this happens in the background, imperceptibly for the occupants. They only feel that they have to use less energy to keep the body calm and should get out of the car more relaxed. GVC is now standard on the Mazda6 and will be installed in other models in the future. The facelifted Mazda3 is already at the end of the year. Passengers who want to read or write emails while driving should also be happy about the new technology. The “wobble level”, the engineers from Hiroshima assure, has been significantly reduced.
But the developers also took on supposedly other little things, all with a focus on relaxation. This gave the buttons on the steering wheel better ergonomics. For the first time there is also a steering wheel heater for the Madza6. The instruments have a higher resolution and are easier to read. The head-up display is now colored, provides a sharper contrast and also reflects the traffic signs.
The goal of the engine builders was also more peace and well-being on longer journeys. The already supple 2,2-liter four-cylinder diesel - with 14: 1 the lowest compressed series diesel in the world - was penetrated deep into the combustion chamber. Because an annoying resonance vibration was measured at 3.500 revolutions, a 20-gram vibration damper was installed in the piston pin, which vibrates in opposite directions and thus eliminates the resonance. A modified pilot injection ensures smoother running of the diesel engine. Both measures can be clearly felt. The four-cylinder runs unusually smoothly and still convinces with spontaneous throttle response and good elasticity. The top version we drove with 129 kW / 175 PS (based on 110 kW / 150 PS) actually consumed 5,6 liters per 100 kilometers. Mazda specifies the standard value of 4,5 liters. Only 3,9 liters are even promised for the 150 PS variant. The three petrol engines with 145, 165 and 192 hp can also be ordered.
One may smile at Mazda's concept philosophy “Jimba-Ittai”, which supposedly unites horse and rider harmoniously. But the Mazda 6 is really extremely comfortable, light and balanced. It steers directly and springs comfortably. Everything seems to be professionally coordinated. A point of criticism, however, would be the issue of smartphone connectivity, which could be a decisive factor for some customers. It is still not possible to connect a mobile phone to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the Mazda6, so that the apps can be operated via the screen on the dashboard. Mazda is working on it, but does not say when this technology will be introduced.
Japan is also the fifth largest automaker for assistance systems. The expensive laser technology was dispensed with here. This work is now being carried out by a new, high-resolution camera. It not only reads the traffic signs, but also extends the city emergency braking function (now recognizes pedestrians) as well as the distance control system.
Mazda still offers its 6 as a sedan and as a station wagon at the same prices. 86 percent of Mazda6 customers in Germany therefore opt for the more practical estate version. Nothing is likely to change in the future. The price starts (Prime-Line) at 25.690 euros, it offers air conditioning, audio system, alloy wheels and central locking. However, many safety and comfort extras are only available in the higher equipment lines "Exclusive" and "Sports". It is therefore not surprising that over 60 percent of Mazda6 buyers immediately choose the top version. This is expensive fun: after all, at least 43.090 euros have to be paid for the most powerful diesel with automatic and all-wheel drive (only possible for station wagons). (Michael Specht / SP-X)