Practical and reliable car with a sporting nature
I only get 8.5 - 8.9L/100km for my intra-suburban driving (my BMW E46 would deliver 7.5L/100km). Still, this is not too bad.
Poor rear view if not relying on mirrors. The car needs a radar parking sensor (which is an option).
Panelwork is of very light-gauge metal. I was loading a plastic kayak onto the roof racks and did accidentally push it against the pillar and doors of the car in the process. I was shocked to find that I now have hailstone-style damage to the car. I would expect such light-gauge metal in a small hatch, but not in a big one like the Mazda6. If I drive with the window down and grip the door with a single hand, I can flex the entire door, and I am no gorilla. My belief is if they intend on making something so light-weight, use a soft plastic instead of sheetmetal (much like some small Renaults do for their front 3/4 panels).
Engine has a flat spot in the very useful 2000 - 3000 rev range (although this may just be a tuning issue). Engine does pick up very nicely from 3000.
I have no idea why there is a 6th gear when it is doing about 3000 revs at 100km/h, while 5th gear does about 2800 revs at this speed - the difference would become greater at higher speeds, but I don't have a race track in my area..
The electric windows do not operate at all when the engine is off (not even when the key is in ACC mode). Generally all cars allow for a 1 minute time delay after switching the engine off to operate the windows with the key out.
There is no "driver door only" remote unlocking feature. This is insecure.
The instrument cluster looks silly. Oversized numbering and plasticy chrome dial circle do not compare with instruments I usually expect.
Excellent standard stereo system, complemented by Bose speakers and a subwoofer that lives in the spare wheel in the floor of the hatch/boot.
Large carrying capacity. Fold down rear seats. This is why I love hatchbacks.
Leather seats are well shaped and comfortable. Drivers seat has electric adjustment and memory settings.
Centre console is of good design.
External appearance is very "handsome". It's a great looking car. And panel fit is very good.
Manual gearbox has a good feel, and contrary to what others seem to say about the clutch, I find it pleasant to work with.
Handling is very good. The car handles my cornering abuse quite nicely. Better than my BMW E46 coupe (although shocks on that car may have been a little old). Ride is firmish, but I like that.
Engine is reasonable, considering it is pulling over 1.3 tonne.
Good resale value.
TO SUM UP:
Overall, the car is nice to drive, it is practical, and one you can be reasonably proud of.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th March, 2010