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2009 Mazda 6 2.2D TS2

Sep 2009 - First Report (7,000 miles)

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2009 Mazda 6 2.2d TS2 2009 Mazda 6 2.2d TS2 2009 Mazda 6 2.2d TS2

Numbers are very important. In fact, they are pretty much essential components of our everyday lives. They have their place, and their uses. But they’re not the most imaginative way of naming a car. "What do you drive?"..."I drive a six". "What?"..."A Six". "Hmm...right!".

Regardless, the Mazda 6 is now my daily drive. The Mazda 6 TS2 2.2D, to be precise…in Stormy Blue Mica. Gone is the 160BHP, 340Nm, rear drive 320d SE saloon, replaced by the 163BHP, 360Nm, front drive 6 Hatchback. It has 5 doors, 5 seats, 4 wheels, 3 wipers, 2 door mirrors, 1 turbo and exactly zero stigma rating...unlike the BMW. What did I say about numbers?

You’ll already know my thoughts on the 320d, (if not you can read them here), how simultaneously marvellous and appalling it could be. So, in some respects the 6 has a lot to live up to, certainly in terms of driving thrills, but with everything else, the 6 should walk it.

First, the looks. "Is it a Lexus?" was the first comment from a colleague. "Er, no". But I know what he meant. From certain angles it does look a bit ’new-style IS-ish’...only better looking. Certainly not a munter like the 3-series. There are straight lines, evocative curves and exquisite details in all the right places to create a seamlessly cohesive whole.

Inside is all good too. The dash design is attractive, the layout practical and intuitive – the only exception being some of the minor stereo controls which are small and tricky to find so require a bit too long with eyes off the road. Good job then that most functions are accessible through the steering mounted controls. The instrument lighting is mainly red, with white dials and a blue neon glow around the large central “media” button which pulsates when you change the volume – cool. The seats are comfortable and supportive, the controls positive and tactile.

It has all the kit you need – and some you don’t. TS2 spec gives you in-dash mp3 compatible 6CD changer with superb sound quality, full function trip computer, cruise control, rear vehicle monitoring system (helps you see your blind spot on the motorway), auto headlights, auto wipers and auto dimming rear-view mirror. The only minor niggle is that the clock and fuel computer use the same part of the central display unit so you can’t show both simultaneously...but that really is nitpicking.

Now the important bit. The driving. Well, let’s get this straight at the beginning – it’s not as sharp to drive as the 3-series was. But that didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was that it’s not a million miles off. The steering is almost as sharp, turn-in almost as responsive, body control almost as taught. My favourite twisty roads can be tackled with almost as much conviction, and with almost as much reward. Unlike the 3, the steering is nicely weighted but, like the 3, it’s similarly lacking feel. This relative lack of sharpness does have its reward though, in the form of better ride quality which is firm but absorbent and no-where near as backbreaking as the 3.

Where the 6 does score highly is in the engine department. Although this 2.2 litre diesel is only 3 bhp up on the BMW’s 2 litre motor, it does pack an additional 20 Nm of torque. This really makes itself felt on the road. It’s at its best in third and fourth gears between 30 and 70mph. The pull between 1,800 and 4,500 rpm is clean, linear and very strong and makes the car feel genuinely quick. In fact, every passenger I have carried has commented on it’s pulling power.

Other plus points? Interior space is more than ample front and rear. The boot is huge and it closes itself so you don’t have to slam it, and the colour! When it’s clean and the sunlight catches it in a certain way, it looks absolutely stunning. It’s also proving fairly economical too. It gets a hard work out on a daily basis with a round trip of just over 100 miles, 50% of which is busy motorway, 40% fast, hilly, twisty A and B roads and about 10% town. The average so far is 44.1 mpg. Not bad.

So, two months and 6,800 miles and I’m more than happy. Let’s hope it continues.


Nov 10 - Second Report (38,000 miles)...More

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