2017 Mazda6 review ireland

Mazda6 Review

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The 2017 Mazda6

After dropping back the Mazda CX-5, I next picked up a Mazda6 for review. It was interesting to take these two cars back to back because you could consider the Mazda6 saloon now an old-fashioned format. SUVs are very much of the moment, and the CX-5 was certainly very impressive, so how would the Mazda6 follow?

The Mazda6 is one of the best-looking cars in its segment, in particular in the Soul Red signature colour, which shows off the cars flowing lines and elegance to great effect. The Mazda6 has the grandness of a large saloon, and the space to match, with generous accommodation in the front and back. The cabin is robustly made with plenty of soft touch materials that give the Mazda6 an unmistakably premium feel.

For 2017, Mazda has refined the Mazda6 slightly. There is not much to shout about in terms of updates to the design inside and out, but under the skin, Mazda has added something called G-Vectoring Control, more sound insulation and worked on the diesel engine to make it more refined.

In Ireland, the Mazda6 is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol with 145hp and a 2.2-litre diesel (150hp or 175hp). Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.

My test car had the 2.2-litre diesel with 175hp matched to an automatic transmission and it’s close to perfection in terms of power, refinement and the slickness of the automatic gearbox. Though in this combination, the Mazda6 is not cheap – my Platinum trim car has a list price of €38,695 - it’s truly premium levels of refinement in the cabin of the Mazda6.

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The interior of the 2017 Mazda6

Sitting lower than in an SUV, a saloon like the Mazda6 immediately engages the driver. The Mazda6 is certainly one of the most accomplished large saloons in the handling department. Small movements on the steering wheel control the Mazda6 with ease and the responses are lightning quick. G-Vectoring Control monitors steering and throttle position when you enter a corner under power and for a moment reduces the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, thereby transferring a fraction more weight onto the front axle which allows the front wheels to turn more precisely. The car grips willingly in corners and body roll is well contained making it a fantastic sporty drive.

On the motorway, the power and flexibility of the 2.2 diesel Mazda6 and the noise isolation in the cabin make it a serene and relaxing experience. The suspension is supple and works well over changeable Irish road conditions.

In terms of pricing, the Mazda 6 range kicks off at €29,295 for a 2.0 petrol and €29,995 for a 2.0 diesel in Executive trim. Standard equipment includes leather steering wheel, cruise control, air con, 7” inch colour screen and front fog lamps.

Executive SE models start from €31,295 and include parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, rear privacy glass, climate control and Smart City Brake Support.

2017 Mazda6 review ireland
The Mazda6 is a super refined and engaging large saloon

Platinum models start from €35,695 and include heated, electrically adjustable, front seats, heated steering wheel, LED headlights and rear lights, Bose stereo, reversing camera and keyless entry.

As a refined long distance cruiser the Mazda6 is faultless, but off the big roads the Mazda6 will engage the driver and flits around corners with style. The improvements in refinement bring the Mazda6 to truly premium levels of ease and comfort, and with the 2.2 diesel under the bonnet, there is power in spades without the diesel clatter. Saloons like the Mazda6 might be an endangered species but the Mazda6 is a joy to drive.

Model tested: Mazda6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Platinum Auto
Price: €38,695 (Range starts at €29,295)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
175hp
Torque: 420Nm
0-100km/h:  
8.4 seconds
Top speed: 216km/h
Claimed Economy: 
4.8l/100km
CO2 emissions:  
127g/km
Motor tax:
€270 per year

Caroline Kidd


2017 Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 First Drive Review

The Mazda CX-5 SUV first appeared in 2012 and quickly established itself as one of the core models of Mazda’s range, accounting for 25% of the company’s global annual sales. Now in 2017, Mazda is launching a new generation of CX-5 that sees significant changes under the skin and in styling, interior design and technology. I travelled to Barcelona, Spain to drive the new CX-5.

Styling

The new Mazda CX-5 has been significantly redesigned for a sharper and sleeker appearance. The front-end now has a more confident stance borne from a large grille and slim headlamps. The roof line has been lowered and the C-pillar tapers beautifully to the rear, which has also been redesigned for a more modern and dynamic appearance.  The new Mazda CX-5 comes with 17” or 19” alloys depending on specification and there is a choice of nine body colours including Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey Metallic, both new for 2017.

Interior

The interior of the new Mazda CX-5 is comfortable, spacious and very stylish. The horizontal design is elegant and the materials used are of excellent quality. The two tone interiors look very premium. There are plenty of soft touch materials and newly developed decorative panels in the dashboard. Infotainment is provided via a new 7” centre display on the top of the dash that is controlled via a rotary controller on the centre console. This screen is designed to suppress reflections and present a clearer image. The front and rear seats have also been revised to provide better comfort. New equipment includes a power tailgate, heated steering wheel and a head-up display.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The interior of the new Mazda CX-5

Practicality

The Mazda CX-5 will seat five in comfort. The new car is 10mm longer than the car it replaces and 35mm lower. The wheelbase remains the same and the interior still feels spacious for this class of vehicle. Boot space has been boosted to 506 litres.

Engines

In Ireland, the new CX-5 will be available with the 2.0-litre petrol with 165hp and the 2.2-litre diesel with 150 or 175hp. The petrol model is front wheel drive only and comes with a six speed manual gearbox. The 2.2-litre diesel is available in front and all wheel drive form, and with a manual or automatic gearbox. The 2.2-litre 150hp diesel FWD model is the best for economy returning up to 56mpg with a manual gearbox. Motor tax for this model is €280 per year. At the launch, I drove the 2.0-litre petrol and the 2.2-litre 175hp diesel. The petrol engine is smooth and quiet, though its 210Nm of torque is no match for the torquier diesels. The 2.2-litre 175hp diesel is a strong and flexible operator, and very refined.

On the road

Key to Mazda’s engineering philosophy is ‘Jinba-Ittai’, which is a Japanese word describing the synergy between horse and rider. The body rigidity has been stiffened by 15%  and the steering, suspension and brakes have been revised.  Mazda has also introduced G-Vectoring Control to the CX-5 for the first time, as seen on the Mazda 3 and 6, which adds more stability in cornering. The new Mazda CX-5 is an agile and engaging drive, with plenty of grip and well-weighted steering. Refinement has been notably improved and the cabin is now a very serene place to travel in.

Equipment

There are three trim levels for new Mazda CX-5 in Ireland – Executive, Executive SE and Platinum. The Executive model comes with LED headlamps, 7” colour screen display, Smart City Brake Support, 17” alloys, keyless entry, cruise control, electric windows, air con and electronic parking brake. The Executive SE model adds dual zone climate control, lumbar support, digital radio, parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, LED rear lights and front fog lights. Top of the range Platinum models add rear view camera, heated steering wheel and front seats, leather upholstery, Bose stereo, heads-up display, 19” alloys and an electric tailgate.

2017 Mazda CX-5
The new Mazda CX-5 sees improvements in refinement, styling and tech

Pricing

The new Mazda CX-5 range starts at €28,995 including delivery charges for the 2.0-litre 150hp 2WD model. Executive SE models start from €30,495 and Platinum models from €34,295. Diesels start from €31,495. All wheel drive models start from €35,995.

Rivals

Competition for the new Mazda CX-5 includes the Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008, Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

Verdict

Mazda has treated this new generation of the CX-5 as more of a refining exercise than one of dramatic change or new direction. But it’s worked and they’ve taken a good SUV and made it more desirable. Though the compact SUV segment is huge, the Mazda CX-5 stands out for its engaging driving dynamics, premium-feeling interior and stand-out exterior styling.

The new Mazda CX-5 SUV will arrive in Ireland in early June 2017.

Caroline Kidd


Mazda museum Augsberg, Germany

Mazda Museum Opens In Germany

The first Mazda museum in Europe – and the only one outside Japan – opens this weekend in Augsburg, Germany.

Frey’s Mazda Classic Car Museum, a project from local Mazda dealer Auto Frey with the support of Mazda Germany, charts the carmaker's almost 100 year history.

The new Mazda museum will house 45 vehicles – vintage Mazdas officially sold in Europe, as well as models only available elsewhere, including a number of rarities from the Frey family’s extensive private collection.

The facility, located in a refurbished Augsburg tram depot dating from 1897, is also equipped with an expansive event area, restaurant facilities and a gift shop.

“Uniquely impressive, the first Mazda museum outside Japan represents a dream come true for the Frey family to share with the public its one-of-a-kind collection of vintage Mazdas from around the world,” commented Mazda Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Akira Marumoto.

Mazda museum Augsberg, Germany
The museum houses 45 classic Mazda cars

Some of the models on display include a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, 1969 Mazda Luce RX87 and 1992 Mazda RX-7, the top-selling rotary powered model in history.

Other highlights include a 1960 Mazda R360, the company’s first mass-produced passenger car, a 1962 Mazda K360 three-wheeled light truck, a 1966 Mazda Familia 1000 coupé, a 1976 Mazda 616, the first model officially offered in Germany starting in 1973, and the Mazda AZ-1, a mid-engined lightweight sports car from 1992.

The selection will change continually, too, with additional gems from the Frey’s collection of 120-plus vehicles destined for rotation into the exhibit.

Operators also hope the venue will become a hub for vintage Mazda club meetings and classic car events in general.

For more information, see: www.mazda-classic-frey.de/en.


mazda3 review ireland

Mazda3 GT 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-D Review

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3

The current Mazda3 has been on sale in Ireland since 2014 but has new pep in its step with the addition of a 1.5-litre diesel to the range.

Mazda3 was first launched with a 1.5-litre (100PS) petrol engine and a 2.2-litre (150PS) diesel engine, but the new engine (already seen in CX-3 and Mazda2) is now the most efficient in the range. It will also likely be more pleasing to Irish buyers who tend to feel more comfortable with a smaller capacity engine.

It’s efficient for sure. Mazda say the engine will return up to 74.3mpg with emissions of just 99g CO2, and the car proved frugal during my test drive. But thankfully the Mazda3 is no bore, and the 105PS engine has enough zip to exploit the Mazda’s excellent handling.  This car feels light and agile on the road, aided by a sweet shifting 6 speed manual gearbox and well-judged steering that means that corners can be taken on in one fluid motion that is extremely satisfying to the driver. While there is road noise at high speeds and the whisper of diesel gurgle when hopping on the accelerator, the Mazda3 never feels anything less than a smooth and sophisticated car.

The interior is mature but stylish and easy navigable, and the Mazda ‘MZD Connect’ infotainment system with touchscreen and rotary controller operates like something lifted from a more expensive car.

mazda3 review ireland
The Mazda3 has a stylish interior that is extremely well-finished

The Mazda3 will seat five and rear space is competitive for the class. The boot is 364 litres, which is a little off the very best in the class. And while there is a great bottle shaped space in all four doors, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t conventional door pockets!

Yet door pockets or no door pockets, I couldn’t help but be hooked by the Mazda3. It’s a stylish presence in this segment and without the ubiquity of say the Golf, Megane, Astra, Focus, it feels more exclusive. The entry price into the range is a bit higher than some key rivals with prices for petrol models starting at €22,995, and diesels at €24,695, though standard specification is good including 16” alloy wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors, air con, keyless start, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth, 7” colour touchscreen and multimedia system and hill hold assist.

Executive SE (from €26,195) adds the likes of front fog lights, auto lights and wipers, bi xenon headlights, LED rear lights, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass, dual zone climate control and cruise control. The GT model on test (from €27,395) had an updated interior with silver dashboard decoration panel, 18” alloys, head-up display, reversing camera, heated front seats and keyless entry.

mazda3 ireland review
The Mazda3 is a car that resonates with head and heart

The addition of the new 1.5-litre diesel to the range means that the Mazda3 can square up nicely to rivals in terms of engine size and despite being a really efficient unit, the Mazda3 is no bore.

However the Mazda3 is a car that really appeals for its grown-up good looks and stylish interior. Hatchback buyers are spoilt for choice but this one really does resonate with the head and the heart.

Model Tested: Mazda3 1.5 SKYACTIV-D GT
Price: 
€30,290 (Range starts €22,995)
Engine: 
1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
105PS
0-100km/h:
11 seconds
Economy:
74.3mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
99g/km
Motor Tax: 
€180 per year

Caroline Kidd


mazda 2 irish review

Mazda2 GT 1.5-litre 90PS Petrol Review

mazda 2 irish review
The new Mazda2

Car manufacturers talk a lot about car design as a ‘language’ and they like creating new ones. A new design language is a change in direction in terms of design for a manufacturer’s range of cars and this new look usually gets a premiere with an avant-garde concept that does indeed look gorgeous, sporty and eye-catching.

The promise is always that what you see on a revolving stand in Geneva, Paris, New York, Tokyo or Frankfurt will influence production models.

But by the time the designers get around to restyling the brand’s smallest models, the exciting new design language that took your breath away a few months earlier will be harder to find than an ancient language like Yola.

Somehow the designer’s vision never seems to translate so well when confined within the parameters of what it takes to make a modern, affordable, efficient small car with mass market appeal.

Ah but not so for the new Mazda2. Mazda’s KODO design philosophy has translated really well within the compact frame of the Mazda2  - it’s a bit of a looker, with enough presence on the road to prey on larger cars and eat its peers for breakfast should they find a Mazda2 in their rear view mirror. The inspiration for KODO design is the pent-up energy of an animal about to pounce, so if the Mazda2 looks predatory to you, that’s a success.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Elegant, compact and sporty...and just a little bit predatory!

My test car (pictured) was finished in Soul Red, which is now a bit of a Mazda signature colour. It carries a small premium over other metallics, but it really shows off the Mazda2’s sculpted curves and creases.

Inside there is a distinctly upmarket, mature and refined flavour to the Mazda2, and it’s not difficult to draw parallels between this and Audi interiors. Granted my test car was in top spec GT trim and the plush quotient was upped a bit by a posh two-tone, cream and black interior . But the combination of the clean, elegant lines of the dash, stylish circular vents,  slick infotainment screen and sophisticated rotary dial commander, gives the Mazda2 serious style. Some European competitors could take some pointers from this.

Mazda2: Cabin is well-finished and very stylish
Mazda2: Cabin is well-finished and very stylish

Though compact on the outside, the Mazda2 is competitive in the small car class in terms of space. It’s comfortable up front, and in the rear, head and leg room is adequate for this class. The boot is 280 litres, which is a bit off say the 330 litres in a Skoda Fabia - but it’s close when compared to the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Opel Corsa. There is a quite a high lip.

There are four trim levels for the Mazda2 in Ireland – SE, Executive, Executive SE and GT - and a choice of a 1.5-litre diesel (105bhp) or a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with two power outputs, 75 or 90bhp. The 90bhp version is exclusively available on GT trim. While many rivals have turned to small turbocharged petrol units in the quest for more power and economy, such an engine is absent from the Mazda2 line-up.

A problem? Well certainly the Mazda2 is small and light so the 90bhp is adequate power and you will hit 100km/h from a standstill in 9.4 seconds. Emissions and economy are on par too - this model has an annual motor tax bill of €190 and will return up to 63mpg.

The power delivery is slightly different however. In the Mazda the power has to build, and the engine can feel a bit flat in higher gears. It’s not that it’s underpowered  - it’s just that you have to search for the power through the gearbox to overtake and you never quite get the same sort of immediacy of throttle response and strong burst of power when you change gear as you would with the help of a turbo.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Petrol and diesel power options

The Mazda2 balances easy progress, good handling with smooth comfort most of the time, though the manhole covers, potholes and other random bumps and ruts of Irish roads will make themselves known in the cabin.

There is a mature but fun feel to this car – mature in that it feels solid and stable on the road and cruises comfortably without too much intrusion from road and wind noise. It’s fun because of its natural, precise steering and composure through bends. The gearbox has a magnificent sporty action to it through a short throw. Find a series of fast flowing corners and the Mazda2 will change direction and glide around them with confidence and ease - and you will enjoy doing it (if the engine was a bit punchier for exiting those bends we’d be close to small car motoring nirvana!).

An entry level SE model with the 75bhp, 1.5-litre petrol comes in at €15,995 with front electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, tyre pressure monitor, hill hold assist, steering wheel mounted audio controls and keyless start. Executive trim with the same engine has a list price of €16,995 and adds 15” alloy wheels, electric windows all round, Bluetooth, air con, cruise control and front fog lights.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: Excellent handling and steering for a small car

Executive SE trim comes in at €19,495 for the 90bhp petrol engine and the only automatic option in the line-up. This trim also opens up the option of a 105bhp diesel with a manual gearbox at €22,195. The highlights in terms of equipment are a lane departure warning system, smart city brake and the 7” inch screen for infotainment with a very nifty rotary dial commander and useful shortcut buttons located on the centre console. Top spec GT comes in at €19,495 or €20,595 with the leather and LED pack. This is for the buyer wanting something a little bit more special and the GT certainly delivers with a gorgeous interior that’s well kitted out.

The Mazda2 blends mature elegance with a lighter, fun side. Practicality wouldn’t be a stand-out feature and the engine line-up is not as extensive as some rivals. But the Mazda2 feels like a quality offering in this segment – not only does it have a smart, well-finished interior but it’s also a well-engineered small car that’s good to drive.

Mazda2 Irish review
Mazda2: A quality offering in the small car segment

Model tested: Mazda 2 1.5-litre SkyActiv-G 90bhp GT
Price: 
€21,240 (Range starts at €15,995)
Engine: 
1.5-litre petrol
Power: 
90bhp
0-100km/h:  
9.4 seconds
Economy: 
63mpg (4.5l/100km)
CO2 emissions:  
105g/km
Tax band: 
A3 (€190 per year)

Caroline Kidd


Audi TT Roadster convertibles

Hot, Hot, Hot! 5 Most Wanted Convertibles

Summer makes me think about driving a convertible, roof down and cheesy tunes playing from the stereo. Right now, these are my five most wanted convertibles, namely because they are all fast, fun and fabulous!Read more


Mazda MX-5

Japanese Car Design: Land of the Rising Stars

Caroline Kidd on Japanese car design

Lost for words

I was driving a Honda Civic a while back and when I would ask friends and family what they thought of it, there would be silence and a lot of squinting and pacing around the car. While they tried to find the right words to describe the Civic, I would help them out and say, “It’s very Japanese” – hoping in some way to aid their confusion.

That seemed to make them happy. They would shrug their shoulders and nod in agreement, “Yes that must be it” - but all the while thinking “I’m not sure if I like that” - still too polite and confused by the Honda’s unusual styling to think of a better way to describe it.Read more