MAZDA has long had a romance with weird names and foreign terms, all of its recent models having built-in ‘zoom-zoom’ and ‘skyactiv technology’ and its mid-sized Mazda6 also reflects the brand’s ‘tireless pursuit of ‘Jinba-Ittai’.
That’s clearly a Japanese term and it translates to ‘a sense of connection between car and driver.’
We drove the latest Mazda6 wagon, and agree that it’s an accurate term.
One of the best-looking of the relatively few wagons on the road, it slots into the 6 line-up in a range of four models: Sport, Touring, GT and Atenza and with petrol or diesel power.
A similar scenario applies to the Mazda6 sedan.
Wagons make a lot of sense, especially in a world now dominated by SUVs.
Wagons are much more car-like, therefore they handle better than the high-riding SUVs, have better aerodynamics, hence superior fuel efficiency and they’re more flexible, with the best-possible mix of comfort and space.
Interestingly, the 6 wagon is marginally shorter overall than the sedan – by 64mm – but it has quite a bit more cargo room: 506litres, or a massive 1648litres with the back seats folded flat.
In addition, it has slick one-touch seat-folding and an auto-retracting cargo blind.
The entire range comes with a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, and prices range from $33,790 for the Sport petrol wagon to $49,540 for the Atenza with diesel power.
Our diesel Touring wagon was $41,440, just $2850 up on the petrol version.
Standard fitment to the range includes automated emergency braking, a reversing camera, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and a colour multimedia display with sat nav, DAB+ digital radio and the obligatory Apple and Android links.
In addition, the Touring is blessed with leather trim, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, front parking sensors and LED headlights.
The 2.2litre in-line four-cylinder turbo-diesel claims to have the world’s lowest compression ration at 14:1, plus a couple of other Mazda creations in ‘Natural Sound Smoother’ and ‘Natural Sound Frequency’ control, all allied to that mysterious Skyactiv tech. But hey, it works. Quietest diesel I’ve heard, even with my hearing aids in place.
It goes well too, dispatching the zero to 100km/h sprint in 8.5seconds with all its 129kW let loose.
Torque is a prodigious 420Nm, from a low 2000rpm.
How thirsty is it? The official figure is a most impressive 5.4/100km (that’s 52mpg in imperial terms). But that’s under perfect conditions seldom found in the real world.
Expect mid-6litres in urban use, which is still about best in its class.
Inside, the classy trend continues with soft-touch dash fittings, garnished with tasteful brightwork and leather trim.
Clear and comprehensive instrumentation, well-placed controls and good visibility make the pilot’s slightly bolstered seat a great place to be.
The well-sorted suspension, electric steering and brakes make every drive pleasant, and pretty sporting with a nicely balanced ride and, should the mood take you, more than a touch of zoom-zoom through the twisty bits.
Verdict: A sporty, attractive and practical wagon, delightful to drive and looks fantastic, goes well, drives beautifully and has a high-quality, user-friendly and bristling with technology, quality and yes, definitely a lot of Jinba-Ittai too.
- Lots of standard features
- Classy cabin
- Very good road manners
- Smooth transmission
- Safety equipment
- Not much