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2021 Mazda 6 SP GT Wagon Review

October 14, 2021
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2021 Mazda 6 SP GT Wagon Review

by Chris Bowen | Marcus Paul In The Morning - Super Radio Network

Bowen

Bowen's Report Card


2021 Mazda 6 SP GT Wagon Review

THE BOWEN SCORE

“This is an on point wagon that matches more expensive European offerings”.

The Mazda 6 sedan and wagon remain flagships in the brands line-up, despite being surrounded by multiple SUV options. Earlier this year a new GT SP grade was introduced, placing it above the previous GT Line. First and foremost is a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder petrol engine up front, one that adds grunt and fun. I’ve just hopped out of the wagon, which once again inflamed my general anti-SUV stance.

Performance

The turbo fuelled 2.5L four-cylinder generates a healthy 170kW at 5,000rpm and 420Nm at 2,000rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed transmission, calibrated specifically for added performance. 

The only thing that struck me was the fact there was only six cogs. More and more, I’m driving things with seven, eight, nine or even ten ratios. The more complicated boxes largely make paddle shifters redundant. I found the simple six gears much easier for my brain to compute, should the mood take me.

Which of course it always does. 

The Drive

Mazda seem to really nail a good driving position in its non-SUV range. Straight away I felt comfortable and secure. Better still, Mazda has balanced sportiness and comfort very well. The ride is neither overly firm nor excessively sedate, it’s basically the perfect blend of KAPOW without shaking your fillings out.

Of course, in an ideal world power should be sent to the rear; it’s not and Mazda make that point easy to move on from. Should you feel a little flighty, you’ll discover a rather dynamic offering.  You’d really have to be doing something rather perilous before provoking screeching understeer.

It’s predictable with a great turn-in feel.

The turbo engine really does make the 2.5L Skyactiv-G engine feel rather lacklustre. After driving the turbo unit there’s no way I’d go back to the natural breather. That’s like going from seat 1A on a plane to about row 15, on a 737. Although I understand that it would be a budget decision, so it’s an easy sledge for me to drop.

Sidenote, remember when we used to fly places?

To be frank, there’s plenty of scope to wear the 225/45 R19 92W rubber off the black 19-inch rims. However, don’t drive like that please.

It’s naughty.

Design

Is it just me or is there not one offensive looking Mazda on sale today? Aside from the wagons sleek and sophisticated presence, SP GT models add some more fruit to the mix. The sporty 19-inch alloy wheels are accompanied by black side mirror caps and new “Polymetal Grey Metallic” finish.

Inside, well I think the jury is out on the burgundy leather interior. Although keep in mind I haven’t door knocked the neighbourhood, I’m OK with it, but only just. The reddish hue continues via stitching around the instrument cluster and parts of the doors.

You also score a TURBO badge on the red tailgate, I love that.

Technology

Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is showcased via an eight-inch touchscreen. Mazda really like to crack down on any touch functionality while driving, which is an inherently good idea. It’s just a tad annoying especially for Apple people when you can’t physically touch your familiar icons unless at a stop. Instead, you’ll have to make do with a rotary dial and surrounding buttons, something that becomes second nature after a few days.

The 231-watt Bose sound system features 11 speakers. You can pump out DAB+, AM/FM radio and of course stream whatever you like via Bluetooth, USB-audio input or a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack.

A head up display is also standard on SP GT variants as is a 360-degree reversing camera. 

Safety

As you’d expect in 2021 the Mazda 6 range is about as safe as a bank vault. Much of this is technology driven with key passive and active features such as:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Two ISOFIX child restraint anchors with top tether points.
  • Driver Attention Alert (DAA) 
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) 
  • Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) 
  • High Beam Control (HBC) 
  • Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) 
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) 
  • Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) 
  • Parking sensors Front & rear
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) 
  • Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) Forward & reverse
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) 

Comfort

For your leisure there’s dual-zone climate control. Importantly there’s also rear vents, that always earns a solid tick from me. All windows go up and down via one touch and both front passengers can view themselves via the sunblind mirror with illumination.

Other good gear includes heated seats, four cup holders, four bottle holders, a light in the glovebox, and two USB ports up front and one for the second row.

Given it’s a wagon, cargo space is important. There’s 506L or 1,648L if you fold the rear seats down. The sedan can handle just 474L while the CX-5 SUV can still only manage 442L/1,342L.

That’s serious food for thought. 

Value For Money

Like Toyota, Mazda don’t offer serious bargains. The GT SP wagon is priced from $47,990 before on-roads. The sedan equivalent starts at $46,690. Fuel economy is rated at 7.0L/100km, we averaged 8.2L/100km, which isn’t an atrocity. Mazda offer a five-year/unlimited warranty. Servicing intervals are a mere 10,000km apart, a tad too close in my opinion.

What I Love

It’s a great handling wagon and not an SUV!

Bowen’s Report Card

Mazda make decent, well executed cars that make them feel kind of like the BMW of Japan. The GT SP wagon drives like a sedan yet offers decent cargo space, a five-star ANCAP rating and a willing, punchy engine. This is an on point wagon that matches more expensive European offerings.

It’s an 84 out of 100 from me.