11th August, 2005
Boasting a host of mechanical and cosmetic upgrades, including two new transmissions, the latest Mazda 6 builds on the class leading strengths of the original top-selling sedan, hatch and wagon range.
Mazda 6, which kicked off Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom revolution, has sold more than 800,000 around the world since launch and has dominated import sales in the local medium market since September 2002, averaging almost 1,100 a month.
With 750 engineering changes the updated Mazda 6 delivers improved fuel economy, better performance, cleaner exhaust emissions, a quieter cabin, sharper dynamics and better occupant protection.
The car’s 122 kilowatt 2.3-litre MZR engine features a host of upgrades that include an electronic throttle and lower exhaust emissions with the engine now Euro Step IV compliant.
Offering a strong 207 Nm of torque, the 2.3 litre engine now mates to a new six speed manual or five-speed Activematic automatic transmission with manual gear selection mode.
The revised engine and new transmissions combine to improve fuel consumption. The Federal Government’s 81/01 test shows that manual models now use 8.8L//100km compared with 8.9L/100 km for the superseded model.
Activematic sedan and hatch variants demonstrate significant gains with official Government fuel use falling from 9.5L/100km to an impressive 8.9L/100km, while the automatic-only wagon enjoys the greatest benefit, with consumption slashed from 9.6L/100km to 8.9L/100km.
With sound insulation added to 18 locations and additional body reinforcements, such as thicker B pillars and additional front frame reinforcements, Mazda has significantly lowered cabin noise.
There are also styling changes inside and out.
For more than half of all Mazda 6 customers, design was the primary driver for purchase, therefore changes to the exterior of the original Mazda 6, which has hardly aged over the last 3 years, focus on subtle modifications.
Among these are the grille, which is more deeply recessed and flatter with a honeycomb mesh pattern replacing the diamond mesh of the outgoing model, dark tinted headlight bezels and tail lamp glass, as well as modified front and rear bumpers.
The Luxury Sports models feature more comprehensive changes with a redesigned body kit and new “sports” grille.
Added to this are new look 16-inch alloy wheels on Classic and 17-inch multi-spoke wheels on Luxury and Luxury Sports models. Taken together, these design enhancements give the Mazda 6 a lower, wider, more dynamic appearance.
Two new colours haven been added – Phantom Blue mica and Brilliant Carbon Grey mica, taking the Mazda 6 colour choice to twelve. Mica or metallic paint is a no cost option.
Revisions to the interior are significant. New surface materials and softer upholstery for the door armrests combine with a newly-designed centre instrument panel to deliver a higher quality look and feel.
A darker instrument panel, edged with a chrome-finish, replaces the silver metallic look of the outgoing model. A titanium look facia is used on Luxury and Luxury Sports models. The instrument panel also incorporates piano black audio controls that further underscore the elegance of the cockpit.
To improve owner appeal two distinctive cabin trims are offered on Classic models. A new lighter “sand” coloured interior is optional with selected exterior colours. A new, higher quality black trim with dark grey weave is available across the Classic range.
More functionality is provided by vertical door “grab” handles for the front and rear passengers. They make getting in and out of the car easier and give passengers better hold during spirited driving.
Mazda 6’s traditional interior strengths are retained, including the ingenious Karakuri principle for folding down the split rear seat (Mazda 6 hatch and wagon). Named after traditional Japanese folding dolls, you simply pull on a lever on either side of the luggage compartment to fold the rear seatback flat in one single motion, without having to remove the headrestaint/s.
Mazda 6 has always been a value and safety leader and this continues with the new model.
All Mazda 6s offer as standard six airbags -- dual front, front side for driver and passenger and head protecting curtain airbags – and ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution.
Other safety items include a breakaway brake pedal to reduce possible foot, ankle and lower leg injury; anti-whiplash headrestraints for the front seats while all three rear-seat passengers get a headrestraints and a lap/sash seatbelt.
To ensure that cargo remains restrained at all times, the Mazda 6 wagon comes with a roll-up net that fixes to the roof behind the rear seats, or from the floor to the roof when the second row seat has been folded flat.
Crash safety has also been improved with the Mazda 6’s stiffer body offering better occupant protection.
Independent testing recently found that Mazda 6 offered the highest level of active safety (crash avoidance) when compared with 14 other top-selling vehicles on the Australian market.
New Mazda 6 provides more active safety, with the updated model’s suspension getting a comprehensive retune. Dampers, coil springs, stabiliser bar and lower arm bush characteristics have all been modified, delivering even sharper response.
Mazda Australia’s managing director, Doug Dickson, said: “The Mazda 6 was the first of our new-generation Zoom-Zoom models and it has performed well above our most ambitious expectations."
“Its combination of style, performance, dynamics, interior space, safety equipment and value has seen Mazda 6 re-invigorate the medium car market."
“The new range builds on those strengths and will ensure that Mazda 6 remains one of Australia’s most popular cars”.
Standard features on Mazda 6 Limited, which is priced from $28,240, includes air-conditioning, a CD player, remote central locking with deadlock function, power windows and mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment and an outside temperature gauge.
Telescopic and height adjustable steering is new to Mazda 6, further improving the driving position. Also new is a retractable-type key that enables the key blade to fold out of the way when not in use. The central locking buttons are also contained within the fob.
Classic models, which are priced from $31,935, add climate control air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, six-stack CD, wheel-mounted audio and cruise control switches and more luxurious trim. The sound system now features six speakers with the addition of a tweeter at the base of each A pillar.
The Luxury sedan and hatch, which are priced from $39,900, boast 17-inch alloys, power sunroof, leather seats, Bose sound system with seven speakers and, for the first time, a power-operated driver’s seat with three position memory.
The power operated driver’s seat position can be programmed into each retractable key allowing `his and hers’ settings to be recalled as you open the car door.
At $40,910 for the manual and $42,910 for the Activematic model, the range-topping Luxury Sports hatch features a full body kit, “straight-through” twin exhaust outlets, and for the first time, alloy pedals.
The front seats of Luxury and Luxury Sports models have been reporfiled to provide more under thigh support.
The new Mazda 6 range is expected to maintain the sedan, hatch and wagon’s sales pace of close to 1,100 sales a month.
All Mazda passenger cars are protected by a three year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
(Correct at 8/8/2005)
Upgrades In Detail
Three years after its first appearance, the Mazda 6 still looks fresh. For the designers of the Mazda 6 facelift, the goal was to refine its winning looks, rather than a radical exterior facelift. Their goal was to realise an even sportier appearance, one that continued to express “emotion in motion.”
Thin, clear glass headlights continue to define the front end design of the new model – now with new dark coloured chrome bezels. The characteristic Mazda five-point grille is now a bit more recessed and flatter than before, which makes the front seem even sleeker. The Mazda logo is also larger and more prominent. The lower air inlet aperture is now larger and its outer edges accented with chrome moulding. All front inlets now have a honeycomb grille mesh, replacing the former diamond shaped mesh.
The silhouette of the Mazda 6 remains as dynamic as before. Contributing to this are its steeply angled windshield, thin B-pillars and discreetly designed wheel wells. Mounted inside these are newly-designed 16 and 17 inch aluminium alloy wheels.
For the new Mazda 6 the same design rule applies: regardless of what angle you look at it, the car does not look massive.
At the back, a slightly modified bumper, dual exhaust pipes and darkened taillight glass enhance the car’s sporty and dynamic character. In order to emphasise the car’s wide rear track, the reflectors in the lower bumper are now connected by a horizontal indentation. The rear lights wrap slightly around the corner of the body, which gives fluidity to the back as it curves into the sides of the car.
The updated Mazda 6 comes with a total of 12 exterior colours, of which two are all-new: Phantom Blue Mica and Brilliant Carbon Grey Mica.
The popular Luxury Sports receives the biggest changes with a new-look body coloured front sports grille, a bigger front bumper with a special aero skirt, modified side sills and a redesigned rear spoiler.
Wide chrome mouldings encircle all meters of the driver instrument cluster. The centre instrument panel has a new darker surface colour replacing the silver metallic-look of the previous model. This elegant décor is repeated on the surface of the centre tunnel between the front seats, as moulding for the dashboard fascia, the armrests of the door trim and the new door handles. The shift lever and shift console of the automatic transmission are now in the same metallic-look as the air-conditioning control knobs.
A silver-look moulding frames the centre instrument panel and flows down to the centre tunnel, and contrasts nicely with the dark panel colour and the surface of the radio, which is in piano black. Functional criteria played an important role in determining the design of the air conditioning knobs. Instead of having rings of translucent plastic, the new model employs a corrugated surface, which is more practical to use.
The door trim has been completely redesigned. The door openers are now in brushed aluminium-look and the door armrests have thicker cushioning material. Added to this are new vertical door handles for the front passenger door and for both doors in the rear. These make getting into and out of the car easier and give passengers something to hold on to during sporty driving manoeuvres.
The interior concept of the original Mazda 6 combined roominess with easy-to-use functionality and high levels of quality feel. For this reason, Mazda 6 facelift designers did not change this formula drastically. The Mazda 6 continues to impress with lots of room, comfortable seats with good side support, easy-to-read instruments and an ergonomically optimised and very intuitive driver environment.
Still onboard is the Karakuri seat system that comes standard for Mazda 6 hatch and wagon. With this system – named after Japanese Karakuri folding dolls – you can fold down the split rear seat using a lever on the side trim of the boot. The seat cushion slides forward, the seat back folds over it and the head restraints can remain in place during the entire process.
After this quick one-touch conversion, the Mazda 6 hatch has 1,662 litres of load volume and the Mazda 6 wagon 1,712 litres. With the rear seats up, the two versions have 492 litres and 505 litres of load volume respectively.
The electrically adjustable driver seat, which is standard on Luxury and Luxury Sports models, now includes a seat position memory function. The system can store up to five different driver seat positions. Three can be programmed using the three memory buttons on the side of the cushion.
Two further seat positions can be programmed with the two retractable key fobs that come with each car.
This is especially convenient, because the seat automatically moves to the pre-programmed position when the doors are unlocked and the driver door opened.
For the first time the Mazda 6’s steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach, further improving the driver’s seating position.
Incorporating two balance shafts that ensure low vibration and smooth operation, the engine also has a Variable Intake System, which maximises the cylinder charging effect of pressure waves in the intake manifold by varying the length of the intake passage.
A valve in the intake manifold opens and closes depending on engine speed, (closed at low and mid range speed and open at high revs) maximising torque throughout the rev range. The engine delivers 90 per cent of the engine’s torque from about 2,000 rpm.
Other changes include an electronic throttle, which improves both linear acceleration feel and helps deliver improved fuel economy, while a dual silencer improves exhaust gas purification and power output across the rev range.
These modifications enable the engine to comply with Euro Step IV exhaust regulations, which have not yet been mandated for the Australian market but are expected to be introduced from 2010.
The new, compact six-speed manual features faster and more precise shifts thanks to triple cone synchronizers for first and second gears. At the same time there is a shorter shift stroke and improved feel, boosting driving pleasure.
A five-speed automatic transmission replaces the four-speed automatic transmission previously offered. This new Activematic transmission has modified software control that makes changing gears even smoother. The ratios of the first four gears have been lowered to improve acceleration.
Fifth gear, on the other hand, was laid out as overdrive for high speed cruising. The transmission’s slip control range has also been extended, which reduces transmission losses by the torque converter.
The new automatic transmission also retains the same compact dimensions as its predecessor. Despite having more parts, it is still 370 mm long and can be installed using the same amount of space as the older transmission.
Improved Fuel Economy
Activematic sedan and hatch variants demonstrate significant gains with official Government fuel use falling from 9.5 L/100 km to an impressive 8.9L/100km, while the automatic-only wagon enjoys the greatest benefit, with consumption falling from 9.6 L/100km to 8.9 L/100 km.
A More Rigid Passenger Cell
This construction is mounted to a rigid front subframe that ensures highly precise steering and at the same time helps insulate the body shell from chassis vibrations. The suspension strut domes are made of high-strength steel and are linked by strong cross braces.
Due to the above-mentioned reinforcements and the application of sound insulation material at 18 locations, interior noise levels were lowered even further.
The car’s multi-link rear suspension system is designed with a low overall height, maximising boot space. No chassis elements limit the width of the boot, which is realised by low rear springs and angled dampers. The basis here is a strong rear subframe that is connected to the body by four large rubber bonded metal mounts.
Mazda 6 facelift uses new bushings which, together with retuned springs and dampers, provide for an optimal balance between handling and ride comfort.
The braking system of all Mazda 6s not only relies on large brakes, but also on the combination of an Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution.
Mazda 6 at a glance
Classic Sedan, Hatch and Wagon
Luxury Sedan and Hatch
Luxury Sports Hatch