• Saturday, April 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Affordable luxury

businessday-icon

For ages Mazda has established a track record of building high-quality cars and has made no secret of its intention to appeal to the corporate market with the new Mazda 6 Tourer. The luxury sedan feels well built, proving that the carmaker is a company with very strong engineering pedigree and reputation for producing reliable, well-made cars.

The upper medium saloon ticked just about every box for fleets, and the Tourer adds to the car’s already strong appeal with equally fetching looks, extra space and the marginally stronger Recreational Vehicles (RVs) that come with most estates versions.

At the turn of the ignition, 6-Estate drives as well as the saloon, which is one of the smaller car’s strongest assets. Press on and you will easily notice the extra weight at the back of the car, but otherwise it’s exactly like the hatch, with sharp handling and a comfortable ride.

Complementing the built quality is the enjoyable and comfortable driver’s seat. The Tourer only carries 15kg more weight than the Mazda6 saloon. This means it shares the same easy steering, making it effortless to drive, with an automatic gearbox that changes gears smoothly and a manual that has a light clutch and easy-shift feel.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine is quiet and refined, with the 2.0-litre petrol even smoother and more responsive, but with less power on the motorway. Dashboard is well laid-out and dials easy to read with welcoming conventional handbrake instead of a fashionable-but-inconvenient electric version that many rivals use.

This is clearly designed to make the driver feel comfortable and relaxed, as are driver assistance systems that include Lane Keep Assist, which alerts the driver if there’s a vehicle in their blind spot and to lower their workload and reduce fatigue.

Mazda6 Tourer boasts of more space and convenient features offering a soft, comfortable ride in such a way that passengers won’t bounce around, even over larger bumps. The higher-spec models have larger 19-inch alloys, and while these may not be quite as cushy, the ride remains comfortable.

Across the range, you get excellent, supportive seats, Bluetooth and air-conditioning system, with a 5.8-inch touchscreen positioned at an angle so that the driver can read it more easily in direct sunlight. There is a lot of room in both the front and rear seats, with particularly more legroom in the back because of the Tourer’s longer roofline.

Despite the car’s less space than before, it still ranks good against rivals judging by the clever, thoughtful design cues that include room for rear passengers’ feet under the front seats, as the front-seat rails have been positioned further apart, while higher spec models have air-vents in the rear, too.

Though it comes with a higher price than its Hyundai and Ford rivals, it is fitted with more equipment. The entry-level SE has 17-inch alloys, power mirrors and dual exhaust pipes, with a four-speaker stereo that has Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity. Also available is cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and handbrake lever, as well as a 5.8-inch touchscreen. Safety equipment includes stability and traction control systems, along with driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. On higher-spec models, there’s optional radar cruise control and Lane Keep Assist, which are normally only seen on more expensive cars.

When it comes to running costs, the manufacturers regard it as one product line that outperforms rivals as the best in class. It is the second ‘SkyActiv’ model after the CX-5 crossover. SkyActiv programme focuses on reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide output, with redesigned engines, transmissions and weight reduction where possible.

There is also a new technology, which includes i-Stop, which stops the engine in traffic to save fuel, as well as an energy recovery system called i-Eloop. This system collects energy whenever the driver is not accelerating and feeds it into a capacitor, storing it for later use. This saves up to 10 percent in fuel economy and makes the new Mazda6 Tourer the most efficient car in its class.

 

MIKE OCHONMA