Ian Lamming makes a martial art out of assessing the latest Mazda6 Tourer.
AT a certain point in your career you become the elder statesmen, the teacher and you achieve chi.
After so many years of wax on, wax off, wax lyrical, the esteemed status of Mr Miyagi is achieved and road testing becomes a spiritual art.
I can now do this blindfolded so keen have my senses become. So deep breathes and let us consider this particular Japanese conundrum.
Normally, the feel, the touch, the smell, even the through-the-seats-of-my-pants embrace of the cushions and bolsters is enough to tell me whether the vehicle is cheap and cheerful, top-endy, or somewhere in between.
But Mazdas throw me because they somehow befuddle my preternatural senses. The spec sheet and the price tag say ‘somewhere in between’ but everything else feels ‘top endy’; how do they do that?
This time it’s the Mazda6, in Tourer form. The nose gets the wonderful CX-5 treatment making it head-turningly attractive. It is recognisably brand-Mazda but the subtle tweaks, particularly around the lights and grille, really sharpen the looks.
It’s the interior which bamboozles with its sense of utter quality. Stitched leather abounds and the trim, switchgear and technology feels premium sector.
The levels of comfort are high while noise levels from the road, engine and wind are extremely low making it feel upmarket and serene inside. In true Karate Kid tradition Mazda has a word for this – Kodo – a philosophy of Japanese master craftsmanship that says that if each component is made to the highest standard possible, whether that is a screw, a grommet, a flange, then when those bits and pieces slot together, the overall product, by default, will be the best standard. Very wise those Japanese folk because it works.
The diesel motor is economical and powerful enough for overtakes. You can expect 50+mpg from the 2.2 litre oil burner, which is just fine. I would have preferred the automatic because I’m becoming lazier by the day and can’t be bothered with gearboxes and clutches nowadays; if you don’t mind, then you will be fine with the Mazda.
Handling is also refined beyond its sector. The ride boasts the perfect balance of comfort and control and the Mazda6 feels self-assured and composed at all speeds, over varying road surfaces and on the straights and through the curves.
Tourer is an estate car so there is extra space for loads and I always enjoy the look as it is somehow more country set – suppose that would be the wet dogs in the back then, well it would if I wasn’t allergic to them.
Some people say that I am indeed starting to look like Yoda and am blessed by his peerless wisdom. The Mazda6 tells me that there is no need to spend a fortune on quality when it can be achieved by choosing the right brand. May the force be with you Mazda.
Engine: 2.2D 150PS Sport Nav Tourer
0-62mph: 9.2 secs
Top speed: 130mph
Combined MPG: 64.2
Transmission: Six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 209