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The steering isn't as sharp as before, but Mazda's new 6 is still a big leap forward

4 Dec 2012

WITH a 40 per cent drop in sales compared to the stylish and sassy original, the second-gen Mazda6 was one of the underachievers in an otherwise strong five-year period of growth for the Japanese brand.

With the new-from-the-ground-up sedan and wagon range launched this week, Mazda is trying to rekindle our love affair, upping the ante across a variety of areas.

And aside from a couple of not-insignificant reservations with the steering and cabin design, we reckon the company is on to another winner.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 December 2012 to 1 February 2015

Previous model

GH Mazda6

Released: February 2008
Ended: November 2012
Family Tree: Mazda6

The first-generation Mazda6 (Atenza in Japan) may have been a success in many countries including Australia, but it failed to make an impact in medium-segment crazy America, owing to the model’s compact dimensions relative to a Camry.

So the replacement grew significantly in terms of body size and cabin space, and Mazda stretched the wheelbase in order to cope. Again, three body styles were devised – four-door sedan, five-door hatch, and five-door wagon.

Under the bonnet the drivetrain options were essentially the same – only bigger in the case of the 125kW/226Nm 2.5-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine, driving the front wheels via a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

The redesigned Mazda6 also returned with diesel power, but the 136kW/400Nm 2.2-litre common-rail unit was only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, and only in hatch and wagon guises, limiting the oil burner’s overall appeal.

In early 2010 a minor facelift brought minor specification and equipment upgrades, and a 4kW drop in diesel power, while a rationalisation of the range a year later saw the number of variants drop from double-digits to just nine.

Less than 40,000 were imported into Australia, down from nearly 70,000 first-gen Mazda6s.

Get the full story: Mazda has facelifted its Mazda6 mid-sizer, even adding a more attractive price

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