Cars

With the 2019 Mazda 6, the Beauty is in the Details...And the Diesel

We review the Mazda 6 2.2L Skyactiv-D 4DR.
IMAGE ERIC TIPAN
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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in the Mazda 6’s case, it's undeniable even for one-eyed Jacks.

The combo of the brand's Kodo design language shines through in any form and elements of the Mazda Vision Coupé (a stunning concept unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show) gives it a massive edge over the competition.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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I like how the chrome-bordered massive grille sports a de-emphasized logo to give the façade room to fully express the design with the branding appearing almost as an afterthought. The logo is at the center, albeit at the upper portion of the grille, but Mazda even uses its position as a cover-up for the front-facing camera that’s just below it.

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Cheetah-inspired shoulders are represented by the segment’s most unique front fenders and even with a trunk, Mazda still almost manages to make it look like a hatch with the fastback look and such a very short tail.

It’s in the executive sedan class but it’s the sportiest one yet.

Posh interiors

Like all sedans in the P2 million range—this model is priced at P2.250 million—it doesn’t scrimp on interior amenities and appointments but that’s not to say it doesn’t go over and above the limit.

Aside from the very liberal use of what Mazda calls deep chestnut Nappa leather, which is practically all over the cabin (from the steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, and center tunnel and console), the automaker also went all out with Alcantara on the horizontal trim right below the aircon vents and extending all the way to the door panels. They call it Ultra Suede, though.

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Combined with the brushed aluminum strips located on the dashboard and door panels (front and rear) and the visible stitching on the leather, it makes for a very posh interior that even exceeds the exterior’s refinement.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

The Mazda Connect system may look and even feel dated, especially since it hasn’t really had significant updates to the Commander (rotary dial) or the graphic user interface (GUI) since 2013, but that’s not so say it’s not an absolute delight to use.

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First, it’s so easy. You can opt for the touch feature on the 8-inch screen but the Commander is better because you can keep your eyes on the road more. Second, there isn’t an excess of icons hiding menus and submenus to locate what you need. Third, the GUI fonts and the plain design makes all the labels easy to read.

Did I mention it has an 11-speaker Bose sound system?

Business class behavior

As great as all these details are, the 6’s best feature is better felt than seen. I was preparing for a vigorous impression from the SkyActiv-D 2.2L engine seeing as it uses diesel fuel but I was pleasantly surprised.

Its torque has truck-level pull at 450 Nm but it does so with business class behavior.

The only difference you get between massaging or mashing the throttle is the pace of acceleration through the smooth SkyActiv 6-speed AT. It doesn’t crudely lunge forward or jolt and twitch like an anxious teenager. Put some pressure if you want to get there faster. Otherwise, it takes its time, which to some may feel weird because it does have 190 PS, but the way it moves is so, for lack of a better term, regal: so firm and stable befitting of its class.

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Combined fuel consumption is a fabulous 13.5 kilometers per liter.

Ride comfort is as expected. Large holes on the road are muted to a quiet thud and don’t even expect a description of tiny bumps because the car barely made a sound.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.

It handles very nicely along turns and curves even at high speed because of the low roof and floor level, which brings down the center of gravity.

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Despite the size, it feels light with electric power-assisted steering, which sadly dulls out road feedback, but it’s response to driver input is very sharp and precise.

Airbags are a-plenty; six to be exact—front and side (driver and passenger), and curtain, but what makes it smart and safe, beyond the usual sensors, etc., is a 360-degree-view camera, lane departure warning system and blind spot monitoring.

The last two features appear on the heads-up display (exclusive to this trim) aside from visual cues from the side-view mirrors so that you don’t even have to take your eyes off the road.

It is hard to find a fault where there is none, which is why if I had to rate this car, it would a 9/10.

The deduction is because of price (it’s one of the most expensive in its class) and besides, there’s no such thing as a perfect car.

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But if you’re a stickler for details and are dying for a diesel-powered unit, the 2019 Mazda 6 2.2L Skyactiv-D 4DR should definitely be on your radar.

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Eric Tipan
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