Story & Photos by Patrick P. Tulfo
THOSE who are in the market for new cars are in for a treat nowadays, with the abundance of choices available at their disposal.
The strong economy, which created a strong demand in brand-new vehicles, has brought confidence to manufacturers to bring in models to the country that were only available in First World countries. Mazda, through its exclusive distributor Berjaya Philippines, is a good example, as the company is now selling almost all their models in the country.
But Mazda has an ace on their sleeves in the midsize segment as they’re one of only two Japanese manufacturers that offer a station wagon body configuration for buyers who are looking for something other than a four-door sedan (Subaru’s Levorg being the other).
This scribe was lucky enough to get his hands on Mazda6 Sports wagon (as Mazda puts it) during the Holy Week and put it in its paces on the paved roads of Bataan and Subic Freeport in Olongapo for four days.
The white five-door sports wagon was delivered a day earlier, as it has been a practice of both public and private offices to suspend work early to give city-dwellers the chance to pack up their things and travel to their respective destinations early.
This was my second encounter with the sporty-looking wagon, having driven it before during the Mazda2 media drive held in Batangas more than a year ago. Mazda gave invited journalists the opportunity to test all Mazda vehicles that were brought along during the event.
Suffice to say, I was enamored in the short time that I was behind the wheel and looked forward to longer stint with it for a proper review.
Exterior-wise the five-door sports wagon has the same sleek styling of its multiawarded four-door sedan sibling. Mazda deserves a pat on the back for making sure that both the sedan and the wagon have different personalities. The Kodo (soul of motion) design language is a visual treat with all the curves in the right places. Mazda 6 is even sleeker than its sedan sibling due to its body configuration.
The low and wide 225/45R19 tires shod onto 19×7 -1/2 Aluminum wheels add to the visual appeal. Upfront the trademark wide grill with Mazda logo prominently displayed on the middle, paired with the elegant headlamps (adaptive front-lighting feature) and daytime running lamps completes the look. The headlight itself is unique, which looks like an iris, especially at night.
Inside the vehicle, its sporty theme continues with stitching on the leather-clad seats, as well as in the dashboard and on the doors, as well. The combination of soft plastic and leather all over the interior provide an expensive feel.
Mazda uses the “Jinba-ittai” philosophy or simply translated to horse and rider in designing the ergonomics of the vehicle. The controls are all laid out within the reach of the driver. The Mazda connect system uses a dial just below the shifter that controls almost all the functions of the vehicle, which are displayed on the monitor placed cleverly above the dashboard. It is like the I-control found on BMW. Too bad I couldn’t test the eight-speaker Bose surround sound speaker setup of the vehicle as it was Holy Week and part of my sacrifice was to keep the sound coming from the radio to a minimum.
The powerful dual auto-climate cooling system with rear vents cooled the cabin quickly, even when the vehicle was parked under the sun. In addition, other noteworthy features are sensors on the front and the rear that warns the driver if it’s too close to an obstacle, rear camera, sunroof and a dual removable cover for the rear that keeps belongings at the compartment safe from prying eyes.
Meanwhile, the 2.5 liter in-line four-cylinder Direct-injection DOHC 16-valve gasoline engine with SKY-ACTIV technology produces 185 hp and 250 N-m of torque. Mazda’s Sky-activ system features a high-compression ratio, push it hard and it produces an aural sound that is similar to the ones made by turbocharged engines. However, by doing this, fuel consumption suffers dramatically. But driven sedately and combined with another fuel-saving feature is “The I-loop”, which turns off the engine for a few seconds when the vehicle stops even if the aircon is on will return a respectable fuel economy.
The SKYACTIV drives six-speed automatic-transmission shifts flawlessly and is equipped with sports-mode button located just below if one wishes to overtake slower vehicles faster.
The suspension setup Macpherson struts up-front and multilink at the rear provides a somewhat stiff ride, but on the positive note it does wonders on the car’s handling, giving one confidence to tackle corners at a higher speed living up to its Sports tag. The Mazda6 Sports wagon is competitively priced at P1.845 million.