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Mazda's newest mid-sizer impresses again: we test the Mazda6 Luxury Sports hatch

9 May 2008

WE WERE impressed when we drove it at the global launch in Europe last year, amazed when we sampled it for an extended period over some of Australia's harshest roads at the Australian launch in February and simply astonished when we tested the entry-level Limited sedan last month. Now, the second-generation Mazda6 surprised us away again in flagship Sports Luxury hatch guise. The new Six needed to lift its game to stay ahead of the premium mid-sized sedan pack, which will comprise the new Honda Accord Euro that we're driving this week in Europe and a new Liberty from Subaru next year. Yes, the top-shelf Sports Luxury is an expensive mid-sizer, runs on an expensive premium unleaded fuel diet and lacks the performance and features of sporting Australian cars around the same money. But after extensive testing in all models we're still startled by the advances Mazda has made over the original Mazda6, which was widely regarded as the benchmark in its class.
Model release date: 1 February 2008 to 1 March 2010

Previous model

Mazda6 Series II

Released: Oct 2005
Ended: Feb 2008
Family Tree: Mazda6

Wisely, when a mid-life refresh approached for the acomplished original Mazda6, the Japanese chose to concentrate on fixing the few faults of the fantastic original – a sprinkling of anti noise/vibration/harshness measures here, a specification increase there (including a new five-speed Activematic auto and a six-speed manual gearbox) – but the essential ingredients remained. With a fit 122kW/207Nm of zingy performance available from a wonderful 2.3-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine, even the Limited sedan had that rare ability – to be all the car you could ever need. This was a modern classic in the making.

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