The 2014 Mazda 6. “The Future Has Arrived”
“You have arrived” is the voice, an expression that is now more synonymous with everyday drive either to your office or to your kid’s school. In order to be more relevant with Dubai’s mega roadwork construction the chilling and calm voice of same Jane can go make you go bonkers as you would be standing in the desert, and you have arrived!
Rip-roaring 90’s open more pigeonholes of rock music off shooting directly from late 60 to 70’s classic rock for me it was euphony than the sluggish era of the 80’s. Subjectively speaking it was quite contemporary with the advent of the computer age and was equally supported by Hollywood Blockbuster movies like Gattaca, A.I. & Minority Report. All this was already envisioned by a brilliant prog-rock band Radiohead in their album OK Computer (circa 1997) aptly explained in the wiki: “rampant consumerism, social alienation, emotional isolation, and political malaise; in this capacity, OK Computer is often interpreted as having prescient insight into the mood of 21st-century life.”
Back in 2004 when I was in London, I picked up keys of a rented Ford Fiesta, it came with an early generation (CD supported) navigation system. I was totally overwhelmed with tech albeit the fact the system continuously spins CD to determine the correct road, and I have to stop for few moments. So much was the technology available to a common man.
The Kodo Design 8.5
Rarely do we come across with a word that clearly represents what is actually meant and translates the very emotion. Hence Soul-Of-Motion or Kodo ideology in Japanese lifestyle infused in the latest Mazda product lineup. A prominent front grille, the sculpted front and rear overhangs on the fenders reminisce of the lion inspired haunches. Then the coupe-like lowered roofline creates a very svelte and sleek look. The HID equipped headlamps incorporate LEDs and a new halo ring light along with a bar of LEDs as Daytime Running lights. But you just can’t show-off them unless the car is in the gear, sad!
Our Mazda 6 SkyActiv arrived in “Soul Red Metallic” color. I can’t count the times where I saw people actually gave a second look before they walk past. It seems like they practically were registering what they are looking. Moving inside (be careful here as the sloping A-pillar will come in your way, duck your head properly) will further leave you in awe of Mazda’s design theme. Sit in the sculpted sports seats in perforated leather with red stitching scan your eyes across the dashboard, and you’ll be impressed with a beautifully shiny darkened than the body-color appearance panel applique. Though I found the seatbacks were little slimmer and I felt my shoulders were edging out of the seatbacks. However, I found the relation between steering and the seat along with the center tunnel as purposely snugly and well positioned. You do not need much time to locate and remember the required buttons as everything in its right place. Being a high line model the car was equipped with 5.8inch infotainment LCD screen that provides access to Dual Zone Aircon and radio. I was a bit put-off with old age graphic and euro tom tom GPS map system. (This turn out to be a real Achilles heel for me. As I could never find a localized address on the map. I would strongly suggest looking for a regional GCC version).
The fit and the finish around the cabin are very good. However, and unfortunately, I felt it was contradicted by rather banal white-grayish instrument display all around. It lacked the warm feel and the sportiness you appreciate in a daytime. I felt the gear stick should have some illumination to avoid dud in the night feel.
The Athletic Soul 9/10
Here SkyActiv is the word that Mazda 6 incorporated engineering wise. Technology wise SkyActiv’s vision is explained as: “Delivering driving pleasure and outstanding eco-friendly and safety performance for every customer.” Hence it’s a sum of vital components, like engine, transmission and the chassis all in the pursuit of ultra-efficient performance without compromising fuel economy and the same time eco-friendly in nature. And the result is Zoom-Zoom. Push the Start/Stop button to bring the SkyActive engine alive. Its 2. 5l I-4 184 bhp @ 5700 Rpm and 185 lb-ft @ 3250 Rpm deliver smooth power, coupled with SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed Sport automatic transmission with manual-shift mode with the gear-stick or the flappy pedals behind the steering wheel. There is no denial once you tap on the accelerator the car moves forward with aplomb. From pulling off the traffic lights or just overtaking at the highways’ speed, I never felt the engine is struggling. In fact, there’s always little more power left to play. Our tester rides on bold design 19-inch bold-design alloy wheels with 225 / 45-R19 rubber on them.
Twist the lovely electronic steering wheel the car changes the lanes effortlessly. On our favorite switchback roads with elevation changing, the synchronization between the engine and the chassis is cohesive. I sometimes wondered whether it was just front 2-wheel drive sedan or is it equipped AWD system? The brake feel was bit linear, but at the same time, they were quite effective. The suspension setup was tuned towards the stiffer side for the more pronounced sporty feel, yet everything felt as well sorted.
Added functions like Stop-n-go at the stoplight with a little nudge either on the steering wheel or removing the foot from the brake pedal keeps the car ready to move effortlessly by saving fuel. Furthermore, Mazda’s new regenerative braking system is rather unique. i-ELOOP (short for “Intelligent Energy Loop”) is the world’s first passenger car system to use a capacitor to store electricity recovered during deceleration to power the vehicle’s electrical systems, thereby improving fuel economy. Combined with i-stop, i-ELOOP can improve fuel economy by up to 10% according to Mazda measurements along with the slippery .27 coefficient of drag, simply impressive.
The Deserving Value 9/10
Radiohead falls in the genre of “Progressive-Rock” however, the band itself had an eccentric nature that makes them original. Album after album Radiohead had a knack for changing its style yet clinging to its very quirky nature. There lies a strong fan connection and well supported by top sales success. Back in ‘70s Mazda ignited the fire with the Rotary-Wankel engine and continued with inspiring philosophies of technologies that challenged the contemporaries with excellent RX-7 and RX-8 models alongside with superb 2 seat roadster: MX-5 Miata that keeps a special place in aficionado’s heart.
Loaded with future tech full of perhaps 26 alpha acronyms like MRCC (Mazda Radar Cruise Control) FOW (Forward Obstruction Warning), LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System) and HBC (High Beam Control). Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support also monitors preceding vehicles at speeds of 15–145km/h, warning the driver when the new Mazda6 is too close and braking automatically if it detects that an accident is imminent. Reversing camera with Back-up monitor system combines integrated rear parking sensors, an audio warning signal and front and rear warning zones. 11 speaker Bose sound system. New mail function for Bluetooth-connected smartphones enables display and readout of SMS, MMS and email via the 5.8-inch touchscreen. It’s difficult to keep the track of tech goodies.
At a price point starting from AED 83000 for a base model to the top-of-the-line at AED 110000, with Mazda 6 the “Future has arrived” for a common man. The intent was clear to dial the one notch above the common man’s car. It’s not dull, yes with full of engaging emotions. For me even though it’s quite late yet never too late to miss out one last drive before the humble Galadari guys come and collect the car. I am enjoying the brilliant Paranoid Android from Radiohead’s album OK Computer.