Better engineered and better to drive than my old Passat
Totally fault free.
This is so far living up to my claims that if you want a well built, reliable car, nobody does it better than the Japanese.
My 2002 Passat TDI 130 SE came up for replacement and much as I liked it, I got sick of the niggling faults. In 86000 miles it needed a clutch replacement, a MAF sensor replacement, two water leaks repaired, a gear linkage replacement, an alarm ECU replacement and two new fuel injectors. Even though I didn't pick up the bill for any of this, I was disgusted by the poor engineering of the car.
I looked around the market and was pleased to see this nicely specced Mazda 6 came well within budget. So far I am delighted.
The 2.0 diesel engine comes from the Mondeo TDCi series and it performs brilliantly. It's maybe not as flexible right at the bottom end as the VW PD 130 unit, but it pulls harder up top, and is smoother, quieter and far sweeter. On balance, this feels a little faster than the Passat, although it's probably similar in real terms. One thing it can't match the Passat for however is economy. The 42 mpg average I have seen so far is a little disappointing when the Passat could easily manage 50 mpg under similar driving conditions.
Handling, steering and brakes are all excellent for this type of car, and the car will reward a sporting driving style by displaying excellent body control, front end bite and feel through the steering. The Passat by contrast used to buck and float when the pace was upped, and the steering was so numb you never really knew what the front wheels were doing. As a drivers car, the 6 is to the Passat what an MX-5 is to a mk4 Golf GTI. You could tolerate either, but you know which you'd choose.
The specification of the TS2 is generous, reliability is so far flawless, and Mazda's helpful, courteous, "nothing is too much trouble" dealers are in a different league to VW's arrogant, surly and unco-operative ones. In VW's defence though, if my Passat was anything to go by, they have a much higher repair and fault finding workload than Mazda whose cars just seem to run between services and never need any attention elsewhere. No wonder the technicians and desk personnel are in a better mood.
Overall very pleased with my decision. I think the Japanese car industry has just won a lifelong fan if this is anything to go by. Put it this way, I will never be suckered by the high screen price of a German car again. I don't need image that badly.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 15th June, 2006