The latest Mazda6 D-segment models are not completely new for 2015 but face-lifted versions of the Saloon and Tourer which brought them about 8,000 UK sales last year and is expected deliver the same in 2015.
Mazda has created new front end styling and fitted light emitting diodes on top versions while the rear gets new styling treatment and between the ends the wheels have been upgraded and given a high-lustre finish.
The styling changes are more significant inside with revisions taken from the latest Mazda3 so the central console is new and more driver-friendly and it gets an electric parking switch for the first time on the Mazda6. Top models come with head-up display infront of the driver and upgraded navigation system.
There are revised suspension settings and more sound insulation in all versions to reduce noises but the powertrains continue as before.
The familiar five trim levels continue as SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav over 28 versions of saloon and semi-estate styles, with diesel or petrol engines in various outputs matched to either six-speed manual or automatic transmission and priced from £19,795 to £28,795.
For 2015 the Sport Nav versions can be specified with a safety pack of technical features including adaptive headlights designed to prevent dazzling vehicles infront, lane active assist, active blind spot monitoring and city smart braking to stop the car from walking pace before it hits an object.
Mazda UK public relations director Graeme Fudge said the objective of the revisions was to build on the Mazda6 reputation of giving value for money and would also enhance refinement through greater safety and equipment.
He said about 80% of Mazda6 registrations in UK will be the diesels and 80% will be Saloon style with some 65% of them acquired through leasing plans as buyers’ habits are changing and they want a fixed monthly cost rather than outright purchase. Top sellers will be the near top grade SE-L Nav with 150ps diesel engine taking some 25% of registrations.
Mazda UK saw 2014 sales grow by nearly 21 per cent to 37,784 units. “Our strong performance was underpinned by success in both retail and fleet sectors. Retail sales grew by 15 per cent helping to improve dealer profitability and fleet sales increased by 33 per cent with Mazda becoming a more appealing choice for many company car drivers” said Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon.
The Mazda6 became the dominant retail player in its segment, accounting for one-in-five sales, outperforming the Ford Mondeo. “When we launched the original Mazda6 in 2002, it was priced £1,000 below the Ford Mondeo,” said Allibon.
The Mazda6 has always been something of an under-estimated medium-sized car that really can cut it against more familiar rivals.
The changes help to bring it more up to date and make it more competitive than before in terms of looks, and particularly safety, and the better selling top models get most attention and revision this time.
Mazda say they have reduced road noise by up to 25%, but on the big-wheeled 150ps Sport Nav Tourer we tested it was still annoyingly high and contrasted with the SE-L Nav Saloon sitting on smaller 17-inch tyres, although ride was biased towards firmness with both.
Powertrains favour the diesel for get up and go but on our short and mostly urban test routes we were surprised with the petrol 2.0 model’s good 41mpg compared to the modest 43mpg from the diesel.
Inside the saloon and tourer cars are very roomy, even in the rear, and have good luggage space once you negotiate the small opening to the saloon boot. We liked the new centre console design and layout of controls including the sensible placing of the rotary knob but the satnav display could be larger given this is a redesign.
The facelift will help Mazda6 satisfy existing owners but more comprehensive changes will be needed to make significant conquest sales and raise its game.
MILESTONES: Mazda6 2.2D 150ps Sport Nav Tourer. Price: £27,735 as tested with metallic paint £540 option. Mechanical: 150ps, 4cylinder, 2,191cc, turbodiesel, 6-speed manual, electric assisted rack and pinion steering, ventilated/solid disc brakes, strut front and rear independent suspension, 19×7.5 inch low profile tyres and puncture repair kit. Performance: 130mph max., 0-62mph 9.2sec, 43mpg on test, CO2 116g/km, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £30 Year Two onwards, BIK company car tax 19% now 21% from April. Insurance: 21E, Warranty 3-years/60,000-miles. For: Roomy, comfortable, good controls, composed handling, well equipped. Against: Road noise, fuel consumption, notchy gearchange, no spare wheel. Robin Roberts Miles Better News Agency