Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Spoiled for choice with Mazda tourer

Spoiled for choice with Mazda tourer

MAZDA came to the Cotswolds last week to launch upgraded versions of its flagship model — the large and handsome Mazda6.

I was able to test-drive both tourer and saloon versions in a long and leisurely morning’s drive through some of Britain’s finest countryside.

This included the excellent A466 from just below Monmouth south to the first Severn Bridge taking in the glorious Tintern Abbey. If you have not driven that way, I can recommend it.

I suppose most drivers when it comes to a choice between either a tourer (estate car) or a saloon have strong preferences.

I liked the way the Mazda6 saloon performed but on balance I think I preferred to travel in the tourer, particularly on such a picturesque route.

Certainly, the saloon appeared more “engaging” to drive. But you see, at heart I must be a tourer (estate car) man because this new Mazda6 tourer was generously spacious inside. Both versions were seductively comfortable but the tourer with the bigger engine edged it for me.

The “upgraded” cabin on both versions is more stylish with finer design lines that add to the overall sense of great improvement inside the car.

This was the UK debut of Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre petrol engine. The updated Mazda6 also sees the Skyactiv-D 2.2-litre diesel engine benefit from a power upgrade.

Priced from £23,195 to £33,585 the combined saloon and tourer range features 25 models across four trim levels: SE-L Nav+, SE-L LUX Nav+, Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+.

With its cylinder deactivation system, the new 2.5-litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine switches between four- and two-cylinder operation, says Mazda, to “improve real-world fuel economy at no cost to performance”.

The new engine is paired with Mazda’s Skyactiv-Drive six-speed automatic gearbox in both saloon and tourer models.

“With new powertrain technology, fresh premium design details inside and out, revised model grades and more standard technology, the new Mazda6 is a thoroughly re-engineered and refined update of our flagship,” said Jeremy Thomson, managing director of Mazda UK. The 2018 car has a redesigned front including a new grille. There are revised LED headlamps.

At the rear, the saloon has a remodelled boot lid, while both the saloon and tourer feature cleaner rear bumper styling with more body-coloured areas.

There are also new alloy wheel designs and the introduction of Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint, which “increases brightness by approximately 20 per cent and depth by 50 per cent, compared with previous Soul Red Metallic paint”. Inside the new Mazda6 new materials and technology are aimed at “an understated sense of luxury”.

Highlights across the range include the introduction of a larger eight-inch centre display screen and the adoption of a full colour windscreen projected Active Driving Display. The dashboard and door trim designs have been redesigned and seat comfort improved.

The GT Sport Nav+ trim features Japanese Sen Wood matches with brown Nappa leather and suede.

The 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine has been enhanced with new intake ports, new pistons and revised fuel injection and cooling. The new Mazda6’s suspension fine-tuning is apparent with a smooth, comfortable ride and excellent handling through a long drive on a mixture of small country roads, major roads and motorways.

The big tourer is especially quiet inside the cabin. Mazda says this is due to the addition of thicker floor and rear wheel housing noise insulation panels, plus body reinforcement in places where vibration can penetrate the cabin. New vibration absorbing material has also been added to the centre tunnel and the roof lining.

All models now feature a range of advanced technology including Blind Spot Monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Advanced Smart City Break Support.

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