Mazda6 Atenza diesel long-term reviewMotor News New Car Reviews Motor Reviews
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The Mazda6 that claimed Drive's coveted Car of the Year title in 2013 was a deserved winner - but we recently spent some time in the range-topping Atenza diesel version to see if it garnered the same praise.
In short, it did.
The Atenza diesel sedan is priced from a hefty $49,660 plus on-road costs - more than the Holden Calais V we drove around Australia earlier in 2013 - but it packs in the fruit for the cash.
There are high-tech gadgets including blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and radar cruise control, along with the Mazda6-standard sat-nav, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity.
We noted that the safety warning systems weren't perfect - none are, though - and the "beep beep" chimes quickly wore our nerves down.
The in-car experience, however, was otherwise good, with comfortable seating, decent levels of storage and strong air-conditioning for the hot conditions over summer. However, as one tester noticed, the car did seem to trap a lot of heat in its dashboard when parked outside, radiating out soaked up rays into the cabin for a while after taking off.
Whenever backseat passengers were present they commented on the spacious feel of the seats, though taller occupants noted the roof was low. The rear air-vents kept things fresh in the rear, too.
The car spent time with a number of members of the Drive team, and those with young families were pleased with the amount of storage and boot space (438 litres).
As we noted in our mid-size comparison test in 2013, the Mazda6 stands tall among its rivals for its on-road manners.
The steering is direct and responsive, and it handles corners with pleasure. However, there were a few quirks, such as the way the electric power steering system binds up to feel too heavy during parking manoeuvres. The ride, too, on 19-inch alloys with low profile (45-series) tyres could be a little wearing over less than perfect stretches of country road.
On the whole, though - whether you were coasting on the freeway or using the car as a daily runabout - it was a charming thing to live with.
The 2.2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine offers a well of pulling power, with 420Nm of torque available from 2000rpm and 129kW of power at 4500rpm. We noticed a slight amount of turbo lag after the car had used its stop-start engine function, but it was nothing out of the ordinary for a diesel mill.
The six-speed automatic did all that was expected of it, shifting smoothly and allowing for comfortable progress in all situations.
We expected the fuel use to be good - with a claimed usage of 5.4L/100km, it should be - but we actually noticed a less impressive 7.0L reading on highway runs and closer to 8.0L for urban duties - almost the same as we saw for the Mazda6 petrol variant earlier in the year (it’s claim is 6.6L/100km).
Still, we can’t deny the Mazda6 is a top-notch option in the mid-size segment.
With a sedan or wagon available, the hardest part for buyers is whether to get the diesel or the petrol.
Mazda6 Atenza diesel: pricing and specifications
Price: $49,660 plus on road costs
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Transmission: 6-sp auto
Power: 129kW at 4500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2000rpm
Fuel use: 5.4L/100km
CO2 emissions: 141g/km