Owner drive: Mazda 6 2010 in the UAE

Owner drive: Mazda 6 2010 in the UAE


“Vroomm…whoa!!! What zoomed past me just now? RX-8? Naah, the badge says..oh wait, it reads Mazda 6…WHAT?” Well, that was sort of an exaggeration for a car like the 6 – mind you all, I am making mention of not the Ultra but the smaller and cuter Japanese variant here; no, I am not underestimating it either. But unlike what Mazda boasts about the 6, the car isn’t really all about zoom-zoom (in a positive sense).

The first generation of Mazda 6 was first born back in 2002, as a successor to the Mazda 626 and rolled out with a bang into the then-boring mid-size segment flooded with only Camrys and Accords, the latter being a relief from the former in terms of looks. Despite Mazda’s desperate attempt to instill their customers with their trademark “zoom-zoom” concept, the Mazda 6 in reality was successful in creating a stir in the segment with its style factor and awesome handling rather than trying hard to zoom down the lane with their loud and weak engines. Add to it a few minor reliability and quality issues, and the immortal love Camry and Accord gets in this part of the world anyway, this competent car never really made it up to the expected levels. However for 2009, Mazda chose to resurrect it with a new face and platform, and the result is the all-new Mazda 6, which yet again, has hit the crowd with its splendid design.

Before I start off, let me tell you that the car under review is my own Mazda 6 which is a top-of-the-range Japanese variant. The car comes loaded with features including smart key and button start, dual zone climate control, auto HID headlamps with self-leveling, auto rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, electrically foldable side mirrors, leather interior, power sunroof, traction & stability control, 18-inch alloys with low profile tyres, 240 watts 8-speaker BOSE sound system, redundant paddle shifters, airbags all around and so on. The 6 does not come with navigation even for the top option, and it is shameful that the top-of-the-range car never came with any parking sensors or Bluetooth gadgets –- not that I care about those anyway since I don’t use them, but a top model should supposedly have those considering what the 6’s competitors offer for the price.

The 6’s exterior is nothing less than funky! It’s as young, as energetic, as sporty and as cool as it can ever get. Styling is where the 6 stands apart from its competitors. However, the interior is a mixed bag. Interior design is good though there is nothing cool about it, except for some blue lighting effects around the audio unit’s volume button. Quality, fit and finish is generally very good except for a few minor squeaks from around the hard plastics near the gearbox area. The dash-top is weird with the driver half being hard plastics while the passenger half having soft-touch plastic. The center console extends upward into the top dash and is also hard plastic; so is the dome covering the gauges. The top door panels come in soft touch plastics while the middle panel and the arm support is leather-padded with fake brushed aluminium finish on the door handles. Only the lower door panels consist of hard plastics. Hard plastic bits can also be found under the front seats, and all around the lower centre console.

The front seats, rear seats and center armrest are all dressed in leather. The 6’s seats are fairly comfortable, offering very good support for the back. Legroom for the front driver and passenger is adequate, while that in the rear is nothing more than average. Blame the design, but headroom is only about adequate in both front and rear –- six-foot drivers will have to rest the driver’s seat on the floor to avoid bumping into the roof, though that still happens while leaning forward. While the fit and finish seems slightly better than Camry, I personally won’t rate it over the Altima, Accord or the new Sonata. As for convenience, there is this 8-speaker Bose audio with 6-CD changer and AUX port which is very good, and a strong a/c that can beat the summer heat with ease even without any rear vents. Front driver and passenger seats are electric and the driver seat has 3 memory presets. There is an extra power outlet placed inside the storage box under the centre armrest which is where the AUX port is. There are two cup holders between the front seats, one bottle holder on passenger-side door and two cup holders in the rear-centre armrest. The interior is fairly noise-proof; there is wind noise at speeds over 110 kph, and under hard throttle, the engine is noisy though refined. However the engine is dead silent once settled at highway speeds. Overall, not bad.

The new Japanese 6 comes with two engine choices – the carryover underpowered 2.0-litre unit, and a new 2.5-litre unit churning out 170 hp and 226 Nm of torque, which is the unit powering my car. Those figures may seem good on papers, but somehow it isn’t as impressive. The car lacks power in the lower rev range, and there is nearly nothing below 2000 rpm. The engine needs to be revved hard to get all those digits on the paper come to life. Yet, it manages to hit 100 kph from standstill in around 9 seconds, enough to walk past the Camry, Accord and even the new Sonata. The engine is mated to a 5-speed tiptronic shifter which does its job smoothly most of time; however at times the gearbox seems a bit confused in hunting for the right gear, especially while taking off from standstill at a normal pace. One can also choose to shift in manual mode using the redundant paddle shifters; manual shifts are responsive enough with only slight delays in upshifts or downshifts. The good thing is, unlike the new Sonata, the 6 can be red-lined in Manual mode with no computer upshifting to spoil the fun. Top speed achievable is a good 225 kph on the gauge –- but don’t expect it to climb till there like how a previous-gen Accord would with ease. Mileage is generally good inspite of the workhorse liking to reside at relatively higher revs. I never used my car’s trip computer; but on a full tank, mixed driving conditions and a sane right foot, the car can easily run up to 500 km.

Now comes the fun part -– ride and handling -– the part which Mazda is probably most bothered about. This is one aspect where the previous-generation 6 stood unmatched by anyone except by its platform-mate, the Ford Mondeo. The old 6 rode as if it is on rails –- well, almost! It was mind-blowing for a front-wheel-drive; and with a good driver it can put an Audi to shame, sans any next-generation electronic aids that Audi has. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with the newer 6. Of course, no Altima or Accord can still compare with it; but when compared to the older 6, there is something lacking. Probably I felt that because of the stupid electric power steering which is almost lifeless; even the cornering limits seemed a tad lesser in spite of the 18-inch low-profile tyres and hard suspension on the new 6 -– it is still fun to drive, but not as much as the older 6 or even the new Ford Mondeo which is currently one of the best in terms of handling. Limits are still high for a FWD and the car safely understeers when pushed beyond what it can take. Should things go out of hand by the least of chances, the stability control should keep things at bay; though in personal experience I have found it to be more stupid and lethal than an assistance — later on that part. And those who manage to spin this car out of control do not deserve to be behind the wheel anyway.

The slight compromise in handling nevertheless does not improve the smoothness in any manner though. In fact, the new 6 has a harsher ride than the old one; and with 18-inch low profile rubbers, things become even worse. Every crack on the road can be felt right up through the seats and till the spine; lets not talk about going over potholes even by mistake. So this rough character may not make the 6 an ideal family car, which is where the Accords and Sonatas shine – like its design suggests, the 6 appear to be more for the college-going crowd, fun-loving crowd or amateur driving enthusiasts -– and if not for them, then for exceptions like me who love enthusiasm limited to a 4-door sedan that doubles as an uncomfortable family hauler while keeping me smiling when I whiz past those crazy Camry cabbies in style!

On the safety front, the 6 come equipped with 6 airbags – two in the front, each on front driver and front passenger sides and curtain airbags. There is the usual safety belt and active head restraints. There is ABS with EBD and Dynamic Stability Control so as to prevent possible collisions during emergency or stupid unnecessary maneuvers. The DSC in the 6 isn’t however tuned to perfection. While it seemed to work fine in test conditions, the car actually acted weird in most real-life situations. There was an instance where the car lost grip during a roundabout exit manoeuvre and it was all over the road in spite of intervention from stability control. In another incident, there was a bend which I took at a normal speed and for some weird reason, the DSC warning light kept blinking while there was no sign of actual intervention from the system and neither was it needed -– my claim supported by a faster Toyota Tercel which overtook me from the outer bend. Apart from an Audi A6, none of the other cars which I’ve come across had a military-strict and consistent stability program. At the end of the day, these electronics only ‘aid’ safety -– they don’t ensure it under every circumstance and do not suffice for stupidity.

The all new zoom-zoomer from Mazda is a funky thing. However, it does have shortcomings such as a harsh ride, limited interior space, relatively higher price tag and so on that hampers its popularity. Though it does have good features and gadgets, there is stiff competition from brands like Hyundai who offer much more for lesser amount of money. Accord, Altima and Camry shall sell solely by brand image. Even its own stable-mate, the Mazda 6 Ultra, poses a threat to this Japanese kid especially in terms of pricing. However, it still has enough improvements and better looks over the old one to get enough attention and praise from some driving enthusiasts and the loyal Mazda fanboy following. And the Camry-Altima-Accord trio cannot even think of keeping up with this macho kid in the bends and mountain roads.

Photos by Vivek Menon.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. you have used interior images of 2010 model , i guess ur is 2009 with bit different interrior

  2. between steering softness , u can git rid of it , i have done 11 services so far , u have to tell them to make it hard , i noticed after 3-4 service when i had some 20K odd when car come back from Galadari , the steering was feeling very soft like camary or altima , i asked them that i am feeling like this , they replied usually customer complains about hard steering so we make it soft and ur very unsual , and trust after that if i dont say them expliclty service engineer by default make it soft as much as possible 🙂 don’t think galadari guys will know ur pefrences ask them and see if they can make it hard and presicse like old one…

  3. Three-digit plates? 🙂

  4. prices of model currently on sale?
    is is in the same range as camry, accord etc or more?

  5. i have a 2006 model mazda 6…its steering is really hard but its very comfortable for me…lol many ppl who has driven my car had doubt if its a powersteering…i hate soft steering…by the way vivek ur plate no. is cool…how much did u pay for it?

  6. I really dont know what can make people buy really quality cars not based on “legends”. I myself end-up telling and showing those around me how cheap, reliable and performant is my Focus(in its class), and most of them keep paying huge bills to Toyota and Honda (who are recalling millions of cars)and be proud of it… And Mazda shares Ford chassie, so of course handling will be better than japanese.
    BTW, my next car might be the 2011 Sonata, if I like the test drive 🙂

  7. Ohh, and guys, the 3-digits number plate is made by Mr. Photoshop 😀 or Ms. Paint 🙂

  8. Vivz…Nice Review…Plate no. is photoshop, vivs doesn’t want to be noticed in road. 🙂

  9. lol..so u guys got the point abt number plate… 😀 😀 😀

  10. and Den, if u r used to takin corners at higher speeds, u probably wont like the Sonata over your Focus 😛

  11. hyundai and kia is improving a lot in handling in recent times…they are already a step above honda toyota n nissan in handling…but it would take some time to match ford n mazda…

  12. Niceee car i love itt..but cant beat my accord:P

  13. My judgement, Mazda 6 2009 is a fine example of Japanese reliability, I have done almost 55,000 Kms on not so great roads (Including construction sites which i visit often) and the only part I had to replace was the break pads.

  14. good one dude!! DA’s resident Ford / Mazda / Hyundai’s reviewer!! 😆

  15. Nice one buddy…and pretty decent work on that number plate…managed to make some belive it..hehehe

  16. @Orion: hehe.thnx 😀
    @Rhymes: for sure you dint read the review 🙄
    @sha: with regards to reliability, so far its been good..and i’ve replaced the brake pads twice already – did 57500 kms so far!..

  17. @evil: thnx… 😀

  18. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

    I did the plates.

  19. ^ too much work for one day.. now you can take the rest of day off…:D:D:D

  20. yup..Mash did the plates, not me :)..

  21. Mash reminding Vivz not to hog all the spot light 🙂 hehehehehe

  22. hehehehehe 😀 😀 😀

  23. WELL I GOT TO DIFFER A BIT WHEN IT COMES TO FUEL ECONOMY AND PRICE AS WELL CZ I OWN A MAZDA 6 R WICH IS TOP OF RANGE IN THE JAPANESE BUILT AND I USED TO GET AROUND 900KMS! DOING HIGHWAYS WITHIN 120KMS AND TAT PRETTY VERY VERY GOOD………AND THE WEIGHT RATIO IS ALSO BETTER AND THE INTERIOR CANT BE MATCHED BY ANY CAR. TRUE THAT IT LACKS SPACE AND IS NOT A FAMILY CAR BUT FOR ITS PRICE, I GUESS ITS GOOD AND RELIABLE APART FROM THE FACT MAZDA IS UNDER THE DEALERSHIP OF A NOT SO CONCERNED NAME!!!!!!!WHAT MORE DO YOU EXPECT FROM A 4CYLINDER 2.5 LTR????????????????

  24. ^^Well, 900 kms with a 2.5? hmmm..the best I’ve got so far is 640 kms on a tank – and that is after keeping the revs under 3k, keeping speeds NOT above 110kph, and by avoiding suddden accelerations and decelerations – even the optimistic trip computer shows me not more than 750 kms. Talking about interiors – do check out the new Ford Mondeo, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu and Hyundai Sonata 🙂 – and these cars are cheaper than the 6 while offering more options for price. I dont say

  25. I dont say its bad…but looking at the competition, it isn’t outstanding! and those squeaks coming out from random plasticky areas spoil it all. My 4-year old Ford Mondeo has better interiors which still dont squeak or rattle – thats quality 🙂 …

  26. ^ quite possible to get 900 km from 2.5 , its just u drive really economically bad , i proved i got 744 juice from 3.7 ltr , give ur car to me and i will show how to get 900 kms, even my engine is not mazda its ford duratec 🙂

  27. dude kaiz…first of all, the japanese 6 is not what u think it is..it is different from even the Ultra 2.5…while both ultra 2.5 and ultra 3.7 hav good low-end kick, the japanese 2.5 doesnt hav nythin below 2.5…if u need to move the car u need to rev atleast to 3..with tat in mind, 900 kph maybe possible if i keep the speeds to 80kph and avoid sudden accelerations n braking..but u think that is realistic enough for daily commuting?? what i told was what a common man would get out of his car while driving in mixed road conditions (including traffic), with a sane speed and sane acceleration..and in such a situation, one can never get those figures with the 6 – or else my 6 has something seriously wrong with it!

  28. ^ they share same engine…2.5 base , i guess mzr 2.5

  29. ^ yup..but tuned slightly different..try both 🙂 ..the 2.5 Ultra picks off slightly faster than the 2.5 Jap due to better low-end torque; things only change after 40 kph..i’ve driven all the 3 mazda 6 variants; the ultra 3.7, ultra 2.5, my own car whch is a top spec japanese 2.5 and the japanese base 2.5 which is the only car of all 4-cyl m6 variants capable to keep up with Altima 2.5 (tested!), clocking 100 kph in arnd 7.9 seconds..my top spec 2.5 is somehow noticeably slower than the base 2.5 i dont know why – probably weight differences, tyre differences and the heavier alloys used!

  30. unfortunately, i hav no video to prove diff between ultra 2.5 and my car..next time i get the ultra, i shall post it 🙂

  31. @MUDHASIR got the point, you can let go of the caps now

  32. some one here forgot to reset the trip computer 900KM LMAO!!!

  33. i’ve drivin this car, and believe me it was love at first “drive” and im plannin’ to buy it , but wasn’t sure about the after sales service and cost of spare parts. Could you please give me some info on this ?

  34. after sales service is fine; not bad unlike what the general public opinion suggests. I am not sure if you are talking about the Ultra or the Japanese variant; however, as far as spare parts cost for the Japanese variant is concerned, it is more or less on par with the Hondas and Nissans – so thats a bit on the costlier side. Service costs are higher for the Ultra and lower for the Japanese. You can get an idea of the service costs if you visit one of the Galadari service centres where they have put up the costs on display. You may talk to a representative there as well to get a rough idea about spare parts cost too. All i remember for now is, my front brake pads set, alongwith labour charge, costs me 670 dhs! I remm it so well coz the cost was significantly higher and the part was significantly less durable than my Ford! :P..Had to replace the front brake pad set twice in 57k kms while in the Mondeo, i had the 2nd set on only at 103k kms!

  35. ^ ur being robbed by Galadari …
    seriously..

    if you ask service guy to change they will ask 670.

    you know what i did ..
    i bought it from the spare part center , front pads for 500 and gave to service center to fix it in 40K service.. all my lost was they just wrote spare part from out side in car history even it was from their own shop… 🙂
    save 170 or so

  36. straight away if u debate with spare part guy he will discount 33% , but service center wont give u any discount because according to them they sell every thing as service , not indiviual components :)….

  37. ^ even with 500DH.. you too is being robbed…. its just a matter who is being (less) robbed…

  38. Dear Vivek,
    its a nice review and i also notice you saying the 2.5 base has better power than your car, maybe for the reason you have mentioned. there is a mid range car too, with 2.5 alloy wheels and options like auto a/c and cruise control. what is your take on that. i have been driving the m6 2007, 2.0 version and pretty happy with it esp. on long drives, does the 2010/11 2.5 M6 jap. spec have the same comfort and durability. and secondly is M6 ultra 2.5 or japnese 2.5 a better buy, as in reliability, comfort and after sale value. coz unfortunately we dont find much of the ultras on road compared to its jap. sibling. even the ultra is more spaicious the jap. version.

  39. Dear Shar,
    If you are happy with the 2007 2.0L m6, you will definitely not be dissappointed with the new 2.5L m6. And as far as resale is concerned, the japanese variant should have slightly more resale value than the ultra – but as such, i would say that if you are buying a Mazda, dont even bother about the resale value as it is pretty weak; however, I feel the Ultra 2.5 is more practical esp since it has much more space and is actually a tad smoother than the japanese car. But why dont you look for a more significant upgrade?? If your circumstances allow you, do check out something bigger; like the M6 Ultra V6, a crossover like the CX-7, Tucson etc. or 4wd’s like the Fortuner, Xterra etc.

  40. I’m sorry but Mazda 6 over a basic Accord even? I dont think so. Engine quality difference can be seen easy and also build quality. I dont know what happened to Mazda over the years but they dont make that many good cars anymore. Miata (Ok we get that here now FINALLY!) and RX-8 are the only two good things they do now…

  41. Assalamu alikum,
    hi. this is my first time commenting in drivearabia.com
    i have recently studying about mazda 6 2011, so i noticed your review. In my opinion, your review is really good. It covered all my doubts. I have two questions for you. Can you please tell me the color of your car and the price ????
    Thank you in advance.

  42. ^^^ Color is ebony and price was 96,500 when i bought it; but they have reduced the prices, and I am not really sure of that! But there shall not be a difference of more than 3k-4k!

  43. I think something is seriously wrong when a Mazda6 with 2.0L and cruise control is priced 82000 !
    The basic version is 76 odd

  44. are you sure its a 2.0L?? As far as I know, the basic 2.5L used to be only 76k!

  45. Hi, bought used mazda6 2007 2.3 ltr, one question if anyone can help, i m facing weard prob wid my fu***g car LOL it goes to right side, i have to hold the staring alwasy, cant leave even 3 seconds. done alignment how many time, check engine foundation, nothen wrong even put new tires and rim, this is so sad for me, any of you have same issue, help neende plz. i cant afford mazda service centre AED 950 for just check the car is too much LOL, [email protected]

  46. i love mazda 6 design its very beautifull .but i want say a trouble in mazda 6 2007 . and its a problem in turns when i go into turns my car have drift sliding from back of car and its dangereoues for us . but new mazda 6 is very very cool i really like it .its my dream car.

  47. I am planning to buy Mazda6 2.0l basic(AESD: 65000), after reading this im really confused, do i have to think about Hyundai Sonata??

  48. Hi Guys, I’m going to buy a second-hand mazda 6 2009 MZD 2.0 engine and 70000km driven.I’m very impressed with its desing and funky interior.but I need to know what should I check before I buy because car is 70k done.

  49. i have owned both generations of mx6 and they are brilliant cars without a shadow of doubt. my 2009 base model is still with me with clock reading at 82k … never had a single problem except brake discs and pad change.

    whats next? waiting for 2013 shape aka mazda kizashi.
    you cant have a car more reliable than this; constantly drove it through wadi, construction sites, khor kalba sands, reclaimed lands and never had a feeling for second that it will put in trouble or not respond.

    where accords and camrys feared going, the 6 was a lion-heart.

  50. heyy guys,i need favor from you actually i m planing to buy (mazda 6 sw 2009 silver) can you guide me with your experience …how is it and whats is the bad and good with this ….cheers

    • The Good: Reliable, nothing goes wrong mechanically. V.Good handling, and fairly fuel efficienct.

      The Bad: Ride is a bit harsh, although not sure how better or worse the SW would be. Brake pads don’t last very long, wearing out as early as 25k-30k kms even with careful driving. Parts are more on the expensive side if bought from dealers.

  51. Hi guys,
    Can any of you tell me a good garage for my 2010 mazda 6, suspension work, just do not tell me to go to galadari.

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