Mazda 6: Sleek, sexy, sturdy

Sleek, scintillating, sexy, savvy, sturdy and safe. These are just a few adjectives I can use to best describe the all-new Mazda 6. We recently got our hands behind the wheel of a spanking new Mazda 6 - and we were truly amazed. From its new body styling, interior and cabin layout, engine performance, fuel efficiency, gadget connectivity and overall safety features, the Mazda 6 did not fail to impress.

Two years prior to its launch, we visited Mazda's headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan and learned about all the developments and new technologies that were to be placed in the new Mazda 6. There, we learned about Mazda's SKYACTIV technologies that were to be implemented in its engine, transmission, body and chassis, that will make the car run more efficiently, as well the Kodo "Soul of Motion" design concept that is used by every Mazda designer in drawing up a new vehicle.

So when our chance came to get up close and personal with the new Mazda 6, we got really excited how all the new design concept and technologies had been thrown into the new car.

The Kodo design used in the Mazda 6 is truly captivating. Up front, the new grille has grown bigger and has been pushed forward giving the car an aggressive nose. Its almond-shaped headlights with crisp daytime running LEDs also make it look sleek.

Underneath the grille is what Mazda designers call the Kodo wing. The Kodo wing, as Mazda calls it, can be seen from underneath the grille leading towards the lights. The line connects to the wheel arches at the front and then slides into a creased side line that ends at the slightly tapered rear giving it that scintillating appearance. Then there's another chrome garnish across the trunk, with the rear breaklights set deep into the bodywork, and an integral lip-spoiler in the lid-making it look extremely sexy from almost every angle.

The Mazda 6 has a 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/45R19 tires. The front fogs lights come as standard equipment along with the daytime running lights. It also has Bi-Xenon with adaptable front lighting system and auto leveling.

Powering the Mazda 6 is a 185 horsepower 2.5-liter in-line 4-Cylinder, DOHC, 16-Valve, engine with a maximum torque of 250 Nm/3,250 rpm. The engine is mated to a SKYACTIV Drive 6-speed automatic transmission.

Making the Mazda 6 sturdy is the use of tensile steel in the body. The tensile steel have been combined with other lightweight materials to keep the heft down. The use of lighter materials considerably improves the power-to-weight ratio making the engine perform more efficiently, thus reducing fuel consumption.

The SKYACTIV technology was applied on the Mazda 6's MacPherson struts and multilink rear suspension, which forces its power down through the front wheels. The front and rear suspension have been redesigned to deliver low-to mid-speed agility and high-speed stability, nimble yet high quality ride comfort, with a light chassis and superior rigidity. A lightweight, highly rigid cross member and electric power steering also contribute to quick handling.

With most manufacturers investing in research and development on hybrid cars powered by batteries and electric motors, Mazda has refrained from doing so as they believe that there's a lot more that can be squeezed out from combustion engines. Instead, Mazda 6 made use of the i-ELOOP system which takes out the load from engines in running the car's electrical components as well as the power steering.

The car's lights, audio system, air conditioner, power steering and other components are usually run off an alternator that sucks up to 10 percent of its power output. With the i-ELOOP system, the regenerative braking principles used by hybrid cars are used to convert coasting and braking to battery power-making it a temporary power source for the car's electronics-savvy, isn't it?

The Mazda 6 is also equipped with the i-STOP, which is an idling stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when one comes to a complete stop after braking. Fuel economy is improved by as much a five percent with this system.

Inside the Mazda 6, leather seats welcome the driver and passengers. An 8-way power adjust bucket seat with memory, Lumbar support, whiplash reducing headrest is standard for the driver while the front passenger is provided with a 4-way power adjust bucket seat, lumbar support and whiplash reducing headrest. It has a driver-oriented cockpit with a clean, consistent look and layout for controls.

Storage is plentiful, with a deep center armrest up front and spacious door pockets. Three adults comfortably fit at the back seat-and despite the sweeping roofline, the headroom is adequate even for tall passengers. Its contoured seats do a good job in holding passengers in place.

For long trips, the Mazda 6 has a cavernous trunk that can accommodate a reasonable number of bags. Extra space can be had as the seats fold 60/40.

In addition to the high level of safety features of the new Mazda6, which includes 6-airbags, ABD/EBD/DSC, a rear view camera display the rear view on the center console TFT display to further enhance the driver's confidence when reversing the car.

And in order to provide added confidence to owners, Mazda 6 owners will be provided with the Mazda YOJIN3 Total Care, an industry-first comprehensive package that comprises of three-year/ 60,000-km periodic maintenance service, three-year Emergency Roadside Assistance with Concierge Service and three-year product warranty - all for free.