Yes the good news is, I bought my next car here at Driveanotherday HQ. The bad news is, I still have the Subaru here glaring daggers at the far newer 2012 Mazda 6. Still, potential car animosity aside I’m slowly getting to grips with all the bells and whistles of this Mazda 6 Touring Edition (and there’s quite a few of them) and after roughly a week there’s some things I love and a couple of bits I reckon definitely have room for improvement..
2012 Mazda 6 Touring – The good
- There’s a decent level of tech on board the 2012 Mazda 6 which is commonplace for most new cars now but is still quite novel to me. Things such as fuel consumption readouts, parking sensors front and back, split air conditioning, on board bluetooth, limited voice command, 6 disc stacker, boot open on the keyfob, a flip out key (always wanted one) and a smooth transmission that isn’t a Nissan Jatco CVT unit that could cause a large headache by crapping out at any second. And while this is the generation before Mazda’s Skyactive additions started to appear, it’s still got more than enough things to play with to keep me amused (or to try and figure out by blinding pressing buttons and hoping for the best.)
Also if I get tired of the auto, there’s semi auto available which is always fun.
Top tip: The parking sensor buttons are brilliant when you first get one of these just to get you used to the dimensions
- I make no bones about it, I wanted a wagon version of the Mazda 6 because hey, I love a useful wagon. The trouble was that by the time my car finance cleared, all the local wagon options were gone. Still I wasn’t all bad news I discovered when I inspected the car I wound up buying, there’s plenty of space in the back of this thing. And if there’s no kids in the back, the rear seats can fold down for even more room like a mountain bike with the front wheel removed. (Or if my life is anything to go by, lots of trips to Bunnings for various projects like finally finishing my desk..)
Even better, unlike the Stagea the spare in the Mazda 6 is full size and by the looks of this one in the boot, has rarely seen light of day. Perfect for our next big trip away because there’s plenty of space in the back for the kids and all their stuff too.
- To me the Mazda 6 has got quite a lovely factory exhaust note. Not that you can hear much on the inside but with the sound down or off, you can hear the twin exhaust happily burbling away. No it’s not as signature as a boxer engine or brapping rotary doing its thing but it’s still nice.
- The 2.5 litre engine is very smooth and builds up speed easily, to the point where you have to be careful to keep an eye on the gauge in 50kph and school zones because you can easily go over it. Steering is nice and tight and the dynamics of the chassis make this a lovely stable car to cruise around in that still gives you a great driving experience with barely any body roll. It’s not the most powerful engine out there but it’s definitely smooth and user friendly. Fuel consumption wise I haven’t taken it on a major hours long drive yet but it seems a lot less thirsty than the Subi ever was and this should become incredibly obvious the next major drive down to Melbourne.
- It’s very comfy to drive around in with everything within reach and controls on the steering wheel if you don’t want to reach over. The leather is in great condition 11 years on with plenty of electric options. Also unlike the Hyundai I40 Elite Wagon I tested a few weeks ago, the A pillar here doesn’t get in your view which is very handy, that would have taken some time to get used to.
- This centre console lid option. Seriously I don’t know why this is a thing on the Mazda 6 but I amuse myself and the family with it all the time now.
Also good: The air con both hold and cold with it’s automatic modes, seat controls and the sheer size of thing. Also the fact that my code reader plugs right in (the port is right under the steering wheel, just work your way back) and syncs up without a hitch is wonderful. No special software needed here hey Subaru 😉
2012 Mazda 6 Touring – The bad
- It took me a bit of time to work out why I couldn’t find the button/stalk option for the rear wiper on the Mazda 6 and I only worked the why of it all when I next parked it, got out and looked at the back window. There, or should I say not there was any wiper mechanism whatsoever. No blade, motor, arm, nothing.
Apparently like various saloons and SUV’s, the airflow design of the body apparently makes a rear wiper redundant. The angle/shape/speed etc supposedly keeps the rain away from it but I’ve experienced a couple of rainy starts on the way to work recently and there was enough of the wet stuff to reduce visibility enough to make me look for the Mazda 6 rear wiper switch.
At least I won’t have to buy three rubber replacements then…
- Getting my phone to connect with the onboard Bluetooth did take a little time and a bit of listening (no seriously, the car talks you through the options like it’s the computer on the Starship Enterprise and then engages listen mode waiting for you to respond with what you’d like to do next. Like getting your phone and the Mazda 6 to handshake in perfect harmony. And while thankfully I didn’t have to read any documentation to work out how things all came together, I can’t say I’m impressed by the sound levels of the BT in the Mazda 6 when you have to pump things right up just to hear what’s on your phone. Then you forget the volume is set louder than usual when you switch back to radio and it’s a quick jump to the steering controls to pull the noise level right back before Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69 blows your head clear off.
(Considering I had similar reduced levels of sound using Bluetooth option on the JVC head unit I installed in the Subi last year, maybe it’s a universal thing, not sure. Still annoying though.)
- Now depending on your viewpoint, this particular feature could be seen as something to go in the good column. And for the most part it probably should be unless a) roads are wet b) It’s me driving it c) You momentarily forget this Mazda 6 model does this – and that is that it jumps off the line when you least expect it. Don’t ease into the throttle smoothly and this front wheel drive jumps forward ready to go like a hungry greyhound at the sight of a speeding hare. Fun when taking off when there’s no one around, not so much when manoeuvring at low speed (or parking) and forgetting that’s what it does.
When I took it for a test drive I had Max the car owners best friend along for the ride and he drove for a bit so I could get a feel of things from the passenger side. On more that one occasion it happened to him and he remarked ‘Geez it loves to jump ahead a bit doesn’t it?’ No it doesn’t boost off like a turbo, more like a little dash forward before the throttle eases back in something a little more smoother. At least this one does.
(Also on the way home today I forgot about it at the lights and managed to spin the fronts momentarily on a wet road. The wheels chattered, the traction loss light came on and I suddenly remembered to go easy on it to keep it on the road. This might take a little time to get attuned to, even with near new tires on it.)
Also bad: Er…there really isn’t much more than that to complain about. It’s a great and fun car so far!
2012 Mazda 6 Touring edition – The indifferent (and what I would have loved to see on this model)
-There’s a lot of things going on on the small dash screen and I can understand why people look at installing things such as Apple Car Play setups in cars like this and a clearer screen experience. Still, I like the choice of red everything when it lights up at night and the Mazda 6 flashes up a ‘goodbye’ on the dash when I shut up shop which is amusing.
-The flappy paddle gear selectors seemed out of place in the Hyundai i40 Elite but I reckon would seem right at home here in the sedan. Also a sunroof wouldn’t go astray. Not that I really need one but it would’ve been a cool feature (and something I’ve half missed since I bid the Soarer goodbye.)
-If there was a port for the In Car Entertainment to read off a USB, I’d be in hog heaven. But there’s an AUX port if I ever resurrect my Apple iPod so I guess that’s a start..
It’s sleek, it’s comfy, it’s smooth, I love it. All going well, this Mazda 6 will be here to stay for quite a while so prepare for the occasional how to guide as I slowly figure things out myself..