COINCIDING with my road test of the latest Mazda6 the Japanese company was chosen as the “Best Car Manufacturer” of 2014 in the annual awards of the UK’s leading consumer organisation fighting off tough competition from Audi, Honda and Skoda to once again claim the crown it first won six years ago writes Bryan Longworth.
Mazda has always been rather special to me as my very first road test many moons ago featured the company’s first rotary engined car in the UK and I can still clearly remember the thrill of driving a car with such a smooth and potent power unit.
The manufacturer persisted with rotary engines for many years but currently all their new UK cars have conventional engines such as the 2.0-litre four cylinder in-line petrol engine under the bonnet of the Mazda6 2.0 165ps Saloon Sport Nav test car although there are strong rumours of a new rotary unit being available within two years.
Mazda6 with its SkyActiv technology won a top UK award last year so it is quite clear that Mazda who once had close links with Ford is now on the crest of a wave again with much improved sales after a period in the doldrums following global financial problems.
This third generation Mazda6 is arguably the most attractive car the company has ever produced and it is the most handsome car in this sector where Mazda dealers should have benefited particularly from lengthy delays involving the launch of the new Ford Mondeo which will be one of the main competitors.
The test car which cost £24,195 on the road is recommended to those owners who prefer a petrol engine because the all new engine is so smooth and economical - top speed is 134mph, zero to 62mph takes 9.1 seconds with a combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 135g/km.
With a solid six speed manual gearbox the test car provided a very comfortable ride with positive steering plus a very roomy and luxurious leather clad interior and with this being one of the top models there was a high level of standard kit including a Tom Tom sat nav, Bi-Xenon headlights, Bose sound system and 19 inch alloy wheels.
However, I noticed that the specification sheet for the test car also included a space saver spare wheel but this was not on board and for some reason had been replaced with a puncture repair kit which I do not like.
The Mazda6 is quite a large car with a roomy boot although access to the load area is not as versatile as with a hatchback for large items especially and garden waste but those owners who are not happy about this situation will be able to buy the Tourer estate car version if they want a load carrier.
Mazda stylists have done an excellent job with the Mazda6 that looks good from every angle especially front and rear and the interior has been well designed with a luxurious feel about it that gives those inside a real feeling of well being.
Another indicator that the latest Mazda6 is a real winner has been revealed by Yorkshire based CAP Automotive who specialise in the residual values of cars and have stated that the residual value of the Mazda6 has increased since its launch.
This places it ahead of rivals such as the Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and VW Passat which is indeed good news but not really surprising because the Mazda6 is such a good car in every way and such statistics help to prove this.
Model: Mazda6 2.0 Saloon Sport Nav.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 134mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 9.1 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 47.9mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 135g/km.