Owner Review

2008 Mazda 6 Classic Sports Review

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I purchased this 2007 model Mazda 6 Classic Sports as a used car from Dwyers Mazda, Wollongong NSW. The Classic Sports replaced the Luxury Sports model in mid-2007, before an new-generation model arrived in 2008, and offered the same top-of-the-range features including 17 inch alloys, full body kit, rear spoiler, leather interior, power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory, sunroof and a seven-speaker 200W BOSE audio system with subwoofer. The Classic Sports added extra chrome door handles and Dynamic Stability Control, and featured additional curtain airbags.

The interior is generally of high quality – soft touch plastics are used for the top of the dash and door trim. The radio fascia and door handle surfaces consisted of a tasteful brushed-titanium look plastic which felt well-presented. Disappointingly, the map case on the centre-top of the dash was a hard, cheap-feeling plastic.

Also disappointing for a 2007 vehicle was the lack of auxiliary and USB inputs, and satellite navigation (offered on overseas models). However, the stock head unit allowed for a cheap plug-in modification which enabled auxiliary input, but this involved removing the whole stereo and glove box.

The 200W BOSE stereo itself did not live up to expectations, despite being better than the lower-spec Mazda 6 with an ordinary stereo. Mid-range bass was overpowering and caused an irritating rattle in the front speakers. The low-range bass produced by the subwoofer was good, but required an equaliser on the device connected via aux to perform well.

Driving the car home to Canberra from the dealer involved travelling on low quality surfaces on the Illawarra Highway, which highlighted the infamous Mazda NVH issue. While road noise was slightly intrusive in the cabin, it was partially resolved by turning up the volume of the audio system. Also on these low quality roads, the suspension felt firm and the ride was a little bumpy; the car is supposed to be ‘sporty’ but the ride is unnecessarily harsh for everyday driving.

The Mazda 6’s brilliant handling stood out on the twisty mountainous Macquarie Pass, where the steering was firm but provided plenty of satisfying feedback. The stock Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tyres gripped well, and there was very little understeer observed on tight corners.

The 2.3L inline-4 engine was surprisingly torquey and willing to rev for its relatively small capacity, and the ‘sports automatic’ sequential-shift feature of the auto gearbox allowed seamless downshifting when more torque was demanded exiting corners uphill.

Road noise settled down on the better surfaces of the Federal Highway, but is nowhere near the class benchmark. Highway fuel economy was good for an 8-year-old midsize car, averaging 6.2L/100km on the minimum-required 95 RON fuel (Although E10 is compatible, the car is more inefficient and feels gutless). To maintain a constant 110km/h on the highway on cruise control, the engine was constantly sitting on 2500rpm – a sixth gear would be desirable to improve fuel efficiency. On city streets, the Mazda 6 used around 9L/100km, but the car was less efficient on trips with more stop-start traffic (a rarity for Canberra though).

The boot holds an impressive 505L, on par with the Holden Commodore VF, even with a full-size alloy spare wheel and subwoofer (stored ingeniously inside the wheel). The rear seats fold down with a simple lever, significantly increasing the cargo capacity. As a liftback, the rear ‘hatch’ opens to the roof, allowing easy access to the boot for bulky items.

Overall, the Mazda 6 Classic Sports is a competent and ‘sporty’ midsized family vehicle. On the used car market, it appeals to younger drivers and first-time car buyers looking for something more spacious than a Corolla, more reliable than a Golf, and safer than a light or micro car.