My parents purchased a 2013 Mazda6 Sport wagon (in 2.5L petrol guise) in June 2013. This, correspondingly, was the vehicle I learnt to drive in, and I proceed to drive it extensively on my P-plates.
Before I advance, I must salute Mazda for making the car look so damn good. Vehicular styling, understandably, is a very subjective topic, but - in my youthful eyes - the Mazda (especially our Blue Reflex-coloured wagon) is a beautifully styled car. I still appreciate the look of the car in the reflections of shop windows when I drive by.
This is my families' first Mazda vehicle (traded in two Hyundai's during purchase) and it's been an absolute pleasure to own. We purchased the car from a SA Mazda dealer for around $33K drive away. Whilst it was bought in base model guise, it is extraordinarily well equipped with dual zone AC, sat-nav, reverse camera and auto lights/wipers amongst other items of kit. Big ticks to Mazda for equipping the car so well among a sea of (at the time) mundane and fleet-oriented competitors. Further kudos to the interior design as well, with a reasonable looking - if a little bland - interior complimented with easy-to-master ergonomics (ie. the air conditioning controls are bright, big and very usable). All tactile surfaces feel suitably premium, as per Mazda's recent form.
Kudos to Mazda also for the implementation of technology such as i-stop and i-eloop. The former is often criticised for being intrusive in daily driving and lacklustre in its efforts towards efficiency, yet I believe with a bit of time and adaption to the new age tech, it soon becomes seamlessly integrated into driving habits. The latter is a less-recognised technology which in my mind is brilliant: conserving energy whilst you brake in order to assist with the ever persistent effort to save fuel. Speaking of fuel, consumption has been pretty reasonable: I, a young P-plater, average around 8 litres per 100 kilometres throughout primarily city conditions.
Now, onto the driving. I don't profess to be an expert in driving whatsoever, so I apologise if this next paragraph seems amateurish and like I haven't a clue what I'm talking about. The 6 feels balanced at all times, with it feeling spirited when tackling a corner or two. The performance from the 2.5L petrol engine is good, with the car feeling great off the line during large bouts of acceleration and the brakes are excellent (as evidenced from a frightening lock-up emergency brake from 100km/h to 0 a few months back, in addition to many near misses during the days of the L-Plates). The automatic gear box feels perfectly reasonable, complimented by paddle-shifers on the steering wheel which my father adores. Hm, but what about Mazda's supposed Achilles Heal - NVH? Well, I'm happy to report that whilst road noise isn't prefect - far from it - it is entirely reasonable and can be drowned out by the very decent yet basic audio system.
But, as with everything, all good things must be balanced by the bad. The car does have its shortcomings. The multimedia aspects (the TomTom based sat-nav and the audio-screen) are among the more disappointing aspects of the car. The sat-nav is fiddly and temperamental, with the small size of the touchscreen not helping things. The seats are also quite uncomfortable after long journeys. And, whilst Mazda's service department is perfectly reasonable, the car does have some niggling reliability concerns, including a suspiciously faulty battery - complimented by numerous warning lights - which had to be replaced - not under warranty - just THREE days after a Mazda service informed us it was "perfectly fine".
So, that's my (hopefully not to boring) review of the 2013 Mazda6. If you're in the market, I'm sure a used example would serve you well, or turn to the face lifted version, which likely eradicates all the flaws of the model I drive. A above-average mid sized car, this is.