THE all-new Mazda6 is one of the best mainstream offerings ever produced by the Japanese carmaker.
With impressive dynamics and good looks, the mid-size '6 is an outstanding package starting from $33,460 (plus on-roads) while the range-topper is a diesel-powered wagon that retails for just under $52 grand.
The base-model price represents a slight rise on the previous '6 but buyers will be happier with the features list.
Officially launched in Adelaide yesterday, the new Mazda6 is available with a choice of two engines - a 2.2-litre diesel and a 2.5-litre petrol - and four levels of trim (Sport, Touring, GT and Atenza).
Both powerplants are armed with Mazda's SKYACTIV technology which uses the latest in fuel efficiencies without sacrificing performance.
There is also a "capacitor" system called i-Eloop which uses braking energy to help power the electronics which also helps cut fuel use. (Click here to see the video)
Best of all, the Mazda6 can walk the walk. It looks fast and dynamic, and on-road it delivers.
The new chassis caters for all comers, and during a testing trek through the Adelaide Hills the mid-sizer delivered admirably.
Particularly impressive was its ability to corner with direct and responsive steering.
Both engine variants were quiet and refined when cruising, and each powerplant is capable in varying conditions.
Those wanting more mid-range punch or frugal driving would be best served by the diesel, but the petrol is no slouch in either department - and just requires the driver to push higher into the rev range to gain the desired performance.
Standard kit includes push button start, dual zone air con, sat nav, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, CD stereo with AUX and USB inputs, cruise control, alloys and solid safety credentials which includes stability control, reversing camera and anti-lock brakes.
Up-spec models feature leather trim, Bose sound system, along with features like blind spot warning, radar cruise control and automatic brakes which can slow the vehicle if it detects and accident is close or avoid an impact altogether.
The writer was Mazda's guest in Adelaide.
Details: Four-door sedan or five-door wagon.
Engine: 2.5-litre in-line four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 138kW @ 5700rpm and peak torque of 250Nm @ 3250rpm; 2.2-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo-diesel generating maximum power of 129kW @ 4500rpm and peak torque of 420Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 6.6 litres/100km; 5.4.