2017 Mazda6 GT Wagon Review – Australian Drive
Alex Rae’s 2017 Mazda6 GT wagon Review with specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
IN A NUTSHELL: A stylish looking alternative to the platter of SUV options in front of families. It’s also more practical and rides better, but the petrol engine is lacking.
2017 Mazda6 GT wagon
PRICE $43,990 (+ORCs) WARRANTY 3 years/unlimited km ENGINE 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol POWER 138kW at 5700rpman TORQUE 250Nm at 3250rpm TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic DRIVE front-wheel drive BODY 4800mm (L); 1840mm (W); 1480mm (H) KERB WEIGHT 1531kg SEATS 5 FUEL TANK 62 litres SPARE space saver THIRST 6.6 L/100km combined cycle FUEL petrol
MAZDA6 SEDAN AND wagon aren’t selling in the same volume as the popular SUV segment but the medium size car fills an important gap for families straying from the now default choice SUV.
The wagon is the more family oriented 6, with its bigger and more practical boot space, and it’s the one most likely to steal sales away from those tempted by SUVs.
The 2017 Mazda6 lineup has received a light refreshment to exterior styling (well, there’s been hardly any change) but it has brought some improvements inside to both interior comfort and technology.
The latest update brought small changes, including G-Vectoring Control which debuted on the Mazda3. Basically it reduces load (torque) on the inside wheel when steering to create a smoother turn-in.
What is it?
Among the four model variants in the Mazda6 wagon lineup, the GT sits just underneath the range topping Atenza. However the GT is plumb with fruit including 19-inch alloy wheels, leather appointed upholstery, heated electric front seats, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, 11-speaker Bose sound system and sunroof.
The 2017 refresh brings even more goodies to the GT model such as colour active driving display, new steering wheel design, DAB+ radio, new centre armrest and heated rear seats.
On the safety front the GT has improved smart city brake support which now recognises pedestrians and traffic sign recognition updated on the heads-up display (HUD).
It also features Mazda’s ‘G-Vectoring Control’, which momentarily disrupts torque and allows weight to shift over the outside wheel when cornering, enhancing levels of grip.
The Mazda6 wagon range starts at $33,790 (+ORCs) for base model spec with the GT priced from $43,990 (+ORCs), metallic paint is a palatable $250 cost option.
The Mazda6 GT wagon is front-wheel drive and fitted with either a 2.2-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel ($46,840 +ORCs) or, as tested here, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol which produces 138kW at 5700rpm and 250Nm at 3250rpm. Both engines come equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The petrol engine is a little less efficient than the diesel, producing economy a combined cycle figure of 6.6L/100km compared to the diesels 5.4L/100km. The petrol provides a braked towing capacity of 1500kg, 100kg less than the diesel equipped version.
Dimensionally, the wagon measures 4800mm (L), 1840mm (W) and 1480mm (H), which is 65mm shorter than the 4865mm long sedan. Boot space for the wagon however is larger, providing 506L of space compared to the sedans 474L.
Competitors are the Ford Mondeo Trend wagon diesel auto, priced from $42,840 (+ORCs), with 730L boot, and, Skoda Superb wagon petrol auto, priced from $41,690 (+ORCs) with 660L boot.
What’s it like inside?
The Mazda6 GT gets a nice leather appointed interior which elevates the feel inside the cabin. It’s not plush, but certainly feels refined. The substance of the steering wheel feels firm and ‘right’ in the hands and the heated electrically adjustable front seats with memory function can be moved into a comfortable seating position.
The rest of the cabin has a sensible layout. There’s a rotary and volume dial with push buttons near the transmission for controlling the 7.0-inch infotainment screen and the climate control is simple to use. Some of the elements inside isn’t up to premium standards however and the overall design isn’t as impressive as some – more expensive – German rivals.
The fit and finish and materials are better than most though, and during a long drive the seat felt comfortable without fatiguing. Mod cons are automatic up and down windows, two USB charging ports and rear air-vents.
The 7.0-inch infotainment feels a touch old now, and isn’t as impressive as some of the new screens with sharper glossy graphics. There’s also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity.
In the back, the rear seats provide good support and can comfortably seat two adults or three kids. A nice addition is the heated rear seat as standard, which isn’t available in many rivals. During testing a capsule style baby seat could fit behind the front passenger seat, but only just as the curve of the front seats kicks back towards the capsule arm.
The boot is 506L large, 32L more than the sedan, but a bit less than the 660L Skoda Superb and capacious 730L Ford Mondeo wagon. In practice it was able to fit a large bassinet style pram, which has been a hard test for most of the SUVs at Practical Motoring lately.
What it’s like on the road?
It’s a comfortable cruiser with some dynamic capability, if it must, but where it is at home is as a well sorted touring wagon.
The steering is accurate and responsive without being overly sharp, and the Mazda6 is relaxed to drive. The 2.5-litre four can struggle at times with the Mazda6’s 1520kg weight and the lack of power down low didn’t deliver the expected refinement found in the rest of the car. However, higher in revs, it moves well enough and the six-speed automatic transmission is responsive and precise.
The HUD isn’t an on-screen graphic and is instead displayed on a pop-up plastic screen in the dash. The information supplied shows useful information such as speed, current speed limit and active cruising control settings, however the use of a separate screen to the front window feels incohesive and cheapens the finish.
On country roads the Mazda6 provides a gentle ride and enough power to get around traffic and the numerous mod-cons inside the cabin compliment the GT’s premium feel. Some more power would be nice, but the 2.5-litre petrol does enough.
What about the safety features?
The Mazda6 scores a 5 star ANCAP (2012 tested).
As standard, the GT receives low-speed autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor, brake assist, reverse camera with parking sensors and rear cross traffic alert.
For fitting child seats in the rear it has two ISOfix anchors and three top tether points.
Why would you buy one?
If you have a family the Mazda6 GT makes more sense over the sedan with its increased boot space (which is also more usable) and good amount of room for passengers. The GT heightens the premium feel over the base and comes with a lot of better kit (including better safety features) but it’s just over $10,000 more expensive. To justify the higher price the fit and finish closes in on some European rivals with good materials, a quality finish and nice features like rear heated seats.
The engine isn’t inspiring but it does the job well and on-road manners provide a comfortable touring wagon. Three years unlimited kilometre warranty is similar to European but not Korean rivals, and while its 12 months/10,000km service interval duration is standard the 10,000km recommendation is short.