Another Mazda6 driver flashed his lights at me today. Is there some Masonic bond going on with 6 drivers that I don’t know about it? Took me totally by surprise I can tell you!
I get fellow Land Rover drivers waving to me when I’m out in the Series III – that’s people in ‘proper’ Land Rover Defenders, not mums on the school run in a Discovery or Range Rover Sport.
I’d like to think that there was a special bond between Mazda6 drivers, if only because the saloon lacks any real character of its own. I’m going to Google Mazda 6 Owners’ Club in a moment and see what I’m missing.
It’s hard not to like the 6, it does everything it should. If only it had a little bit extra to send the pulse racing, apart from fuel economy and uber reliability…
Today I’ve had what NASA might call a ‘technical hitch’ with the Mazda6. Nothing serious, just an annoying issue with the Bluetooth telephone system which comes down to the computer simply saying, ‘no’.
Having paired up my iPhone to the Mazda information unit, my next incoming phone call failed to register on the 6’s information screen. Well, actually it did but the screen locked and refused to accept the call.
Hmm… So what would you do? Well, I tried pressing a lot of buttons, turned the phone off and eventually admitted defeat, pulling over to investigate. Turning the engine off and on again, the system rebooted itself and the problem disappeared.
I’m not sure it’s a problem that will occur again but as Car Couture tries to give you a warts and all feel for every car we drive, it does merit a mention.
We took the Mazda6 to the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean today – a sort of outdoor collection of random objects made out of wood and stone. Twenty years after I first walked the route, it was something of a disappointment.
A grey, miserable Gloucestershire day was brightened only by the journey in our inconspicuous Japanese saloon. The 6 may lack a killer punch in terms of styling or gizmos but it does everything expected of it.
If it was a vacuum cleaner it would definitely be a Henry. Nothing flashy but guaranteed to get the job done with the minimum of fuss. BMW would be Dyson, of course.
We still have a full half tank of fuel left after some 375 miles, which considering the way I have been driving the Mazda, is pretty remarkable.
There’s something missing from my Mazda6. It’s taken me a while to realise but as sport plays a large part in my life, I was rather disappointed the saloon isn’t kitted out with a DAB radio. That means terrible reception for Radio 5 on AM and no Radio 5 Live Extra at all!
I mention this because let’s face it, the 6 is going to be a weapon of choice for many a company car driver. Surely a DAB radio would be a ‘must have’ for that type of buyer?
The entertainment screen in the Mazda isn’t big but it’s adequate. What is less impressive are the size of the buttons on the steering column to operate it by remote control. Even the touchscreen buttons require some dexterity.
At least the sound quality is good and you can wire up your phone or iPod via an AUX input or a USB cable. Scrolling through the screen options to change artists is a slow process and distracting for the driver. Could do better Mazda…
I’m just about to drive to Butlins at Minehead. Why, I hear you scream? Well, I’m playing darts with Adrian Lewis, a former double world champion who is the subject of a feature for the FT.
I mention this because after a day in the Mazda6, I already know I will see plenty of saloons shaped exactly same as mine during the 200-mile round trip.
Don’t get me wrong, from our short time together, it’s clear the Mazda6 is a very fine car. It will do exactly what you ask of it, cleans up nicely after a week hacking up and down the motorways of Britain, and the ‘mouth open’ front grille is attractive.
Then there’s the exceptional economy, a whisper quiet engine and super-low emissions to shame a BMW.
What’s not to like? Unfortunately, the Mazda6 seems to have been built to blend in with the crowd. It’s from the M&S range of fashionable cars – which means mass appeal but very little to talk about at your neighbour’s dinner party.
So, no Alfa Guilietta then. But does it have any remarkable redeeming features? Find out tomorrow