The demise of the Mazda 6 has been hiding in plain sight for a while now, especially after recently being pulled from the brand’s Japanese line-up – but for the time being it’s soldiering on in local showrooms.
The Mazda 6 is currently one of the oldest new cars on sale in Australia with it dating back to 2012.
Since then the venerable mid-size sedan and wagon has received a number of minor updates, with the most recent including the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay, the brand’s Cruising and Traffic Support semi-autonomous driver assist feature on select variants, as well as the special 20th Anniversary edition.
On test here is the mid-spec 2024 Mazda 6 G35 GT SP in the sedan body style. This is technically the most affordable variant that receives the more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.
Does this variant form as the sweet spot of the Mazda 6 range? Read along to find out.
Mazda 6 pricing:
- 2024 Mazda 6 G25 Sport sedan: $36,140
- 2024 Mazda 6 G25 Sport wagon: $37,440
- 2024 Mazda 6 G25 Touring sedan: $40,810
- 2024 Mazda 6 G25 Touring wagon: $42,110
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 GT SP sedan: $49,040
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 GT SP wagon: $50,340
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 Atenza sedan: $52,440
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 Atenza wagon: $53,740
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 20th Anniversary sedan: $54,235
- 2024 Mazda 6 G35 20th Anniversary wagon: $55,535
Prices are before on-road costs
To see how the Mazda 6 compares with its rivals, line it up side-by-side with any car you want using our comparison tool.
Walking up to the Mazda 6 GT SP in its all-black form as tested looks incognito and quietly luxurious. Like the majority of black-painted cars however it only looked clean when I picked it up and straight after I washed it.
Opening the door and hopping inside you’ll be presented with some delicious-looking leather seats that are finished in a luscious burgundy colour. Mazda is one of the few mainstream brands to continue to offer different and interesting seat colours in Australia.
The driver’s seat has 10 ways of electric adjustment, as well as two-position memory. The seat itself is comfortable enough and you sit down nice and low in the cabin. There’s also enough adjustment to make you feel supported for longer trips.
The front passenger seat on the other hand interestingly has six ways of electric adjustment. It’s increasingly rare to have front passenger seats with any form of electric adjustment as brands look to cut costs.
Both front seats are heated which is very appreciated on cool Melbourne mornings, though ventilation isn’t. You’ll need to step up to the G35 Atenza or G35 20th Anniversary to receive this.
Ahead of the driver is a leather-wrapped steering wheel that feels buttery soft. The rim of the steering wheel is pretty thin that makes it feel nice hold for longer periods of time.
Although the steering wheel feels luxurious, the buttons on it are an older style that are clicky when pressing the up and down buttons, but spongey when pushing them in. I much prefer Mazda’s newer steering wheel buttons that feel more tactile and accurate when pushing.
If you’re feeling a little sporty the Mazda 6 GT SP comes standard with paddle shifters that are located behind the steering wheel. They’re intuitive to use and allow you to feel more connected with the car.
Behind the steering wheel is where the age of the Mazda 6 starts to shine though. There are a set of clear analogue gauges for the speedometer and the revs that are starting to look dated among its newer rivals.
On the right-hand side of the instrument cluster there’s a small screen that displays the fuel gauge as well as a number of informative pages which can be cycled through. It’s a little frustrating you can’t have the remaining fuel range and average economy up at the same time.
Moving across, while the instrument cluster can be excused for its age because it’s easy to read, the infotainment system looks and feels properly old. Unlike the Mazda 2 and MX-5 which also have the older MZD Connect system, it doesn’t fit the bill as well in the premium-pushing Mazda 6.
In classic Mazda fashion, the Mazda 6’s 8.0-inch infotainment system is technically a touchscreen though it can only be used when you’re stationary and have the handbrake turned on. All other times you can only navigate the system by using a rotary dial.
The screen itself looks a little low-resolution and overly saturated. Despite this there seemed to be enough processing power, which means it turned on quickly upon startup and new pages loaded snappily.
A new feature added with the most recent update is wireless Apple CarPlay, though Android Auto has remained wired only. With my iPhone 12 Pro Max I didn’t experience any drop outs of Apple CarPlay whatsoever.
It is a little frustrating however using the rotary dial to navigate Apple CarPlay as you need to twirl it a lot to cycle between pages and down lists. Something even more painful is trying to input a navigation destination with the rotary dial as you have to scroll through the entire alphabet to type.
A wireless charger comes as standard and it surprisingly charged my phone. A lot of cars never properly charge my phone as the coils in the wireless charger don’t properly align with my phone and just cause it to overheat.
Looking around the cabin the Mazda 6 GT SP has plenty of soft-touch finishes on high touchpoint areas like on the armrests and the dashboard. Once you start looking down lower it isn’t hard to find harder plastics however.
There’s a tonne of glossy piano black on the centre tunnel which gets very grimy and gross after just a week of regular driving. It also gets scratched really quickly and easily when you’re cleaning it.
Another minor gripe I found once spending a bit longer with the Mazda 6 is its centre armrest is positioned a little too far back. When you’re using it your elbow can sometimes slip off and land on the hard roller cover that covers the cup holders.
The Mazda 6 GT SP comes as standard with an 11-speaker Bose premium sound system that’s genuinely awesome. Charli XCX sounded pretty good when I was pumping her through the speakers to and from the office.
Moving to the second row the space on offer is great. The sedan version of the Mazda 6 has an incrementally longer wheelbase than the wagon which mainly seems to increase second-row legroom.
There isn’t a noticeable step down in terms of interior finishes and quality in the second row. There are still plenty of soft touches and the outboard seats are comfortable for adults on longer trips.
It’s also incredibly cool to have the entire rear bench seat covered in the burgundy leather. Even the plastic ISOFIX anchor covers are finished in the same colour.
In terms of second-row amenities, the Mazda 6 GT SP comes with centre console-mounted rear air vents, as well as a fold-down armrest which houses cupholders, buttons for the heated outboard rear seats, and a felt-lined storage section with two USB-A ports in it.
Something that is a bit confusing is there’s no passthrough into the boot unlike other sedans. There are also no buttons on the rear seats themselves to fold them down. Instead you need to go around to the boot and pull on the corresponding hooks.
Speaking of the boot, the Mazda 6’s boot in sedan form is huge! Mazda quotes an official boot capacity figure of 474 litres, which is 32 litres less than its wagon counterpart.
Like the majority of sedans, the Mazda 6’s boot has a narrow opening but it is incredibly deep. This means you might struggle putting larger items like big boxes in the boot, but long items like golf clubs will be completely fine.
Under the boot floor is a space-saver spare wheel which is good to have although it’s not quite as handy as a proper full-size spare wheel. I can see why Mazda has gone down this route though in order to maximise boot capacity.
|Mazda 6 G35
|2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol
|Fuel economy (claim)
|7.6 litres per 100km
|Fuel economy (observed)
|7.6 litres per 100km (950km highway skew)
|Fuel tank size
Switching on the Mazda 6 is as easy as pushing a button. The entire range thankfully comes with proximity entry and push-button start.
Once the engine turns on you’re presented with a classic Mazda rev flare and then a slightly harsh idle until the engine warms up. After this point the G35 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine has a nice purr.
Setting off the Mazda 6 GT SP provides you with effortless power. With 173kW and 420Nm you’re certainly not lacking any power or torque. The latter comes on tap at a low 2000rpm which helps you get up and away at traffic lights.
Speaking of traffic lights, you will easily keep up or pull away from traffic once the light goes green. Be careful with how much accelerator you apply however, as the Mazda 6 is only front-wheel drive and it can be prone to squawking the front tyres.
Like a number of Mazda vehicles, the Mazda 6’s six-speed automatic transmission is incredibly slick and provides quick and seamless gear changes. It also thankfully doesn’t rev out gears too much in everyday driving scenarios.
Cruising around town in the Mazda 6 G35 GT SP is really easy, though you do need to be mindful with how heavy your right foot is. Even though you have a wealth of power and torque available you’ll pay for that with fuel economy hovering around or above 10 litres per 100km.
The Mazda 6’s steering errs on the heavier side which is generally fine, but it can be a bit of a task during low-speed scenarios like doing a three-point turn or manoeuvring in a tight car park.
It’s worth noting the sedan version of the Mazda 6 technically has a slightly larger turning circle than its wagon counterpart (11.2 metres v 11 metres), due in part to its slightly longer wheelbase.
As standard the Mazda 6 G35 GT SP comes with front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera. The image quality of this camera isn’t the best, though it’s better than having nothing at all.
If you want a surround-view camera in the Mazda 6 you need to step up to the G35 Atenza.
Like the steering, the suspension is a little on the firm side. This is most noticeable when you’re going over speed bumps and the rear slaps. Every time this happened I couldn’t help but cringe.
Building up speed in the Mazda 6 G35 GT SP comes really easily. It feels like you only need to breathe on the accelerator and you’ll start going faster.
You actually need to be really careful when driving because if you’re not paying proper attention, you’ll be speeding.
On the flip side, the amount of power and torque on offer is handy whenever you need to overtake. Pickup is almost instantaneous, albeit with the occasional moment of turbo lag.
Once you’re out on the open road the Mazda 6 G35 GT SP finds a nice groove and becomes a comfortable highway cruiser. The car is also surprisingly efficient on the highway with the average fuel economy dipping between 6-7 litres per 100km.
At high speeds the ride on the low-profile tyres with 19-inch alloy wheels however can get a little brittle at points. This is most evident if you go over harsh bumps as they translate to the cabin.
On the safety front, the adaptive cruise control system generally works fine. It doesn’t brake too heavily when a car pulls ahead of you.
On some undulating roads however the cruise control can annoyingly creep a few km/h above the set speed and then dip under the set speed. An example of this is you’ll pull ahead of cars going downhill, but then they’ll come past you again going uphill.
As standard there’s a driver monitoring system that likes to tell you to take a break really early (around an hour) into journeys. This somewhat undermines what the system is meant to do as you’ll most likely not pay any attention to it.
The last thing I’ll mention in this section is the Mazda 6 G35 GT SP comes with an adaptive front-lighting system which is essentially Mazda-speak for steering-guided headlights.
This headlight technology is incredibly helpful when you’re driving along windy tree-lined roads at nighttime as the headlights will illuminate around a corner depending on how the steering input.
It’s worth noting this car does come with automatic high-beam, though if you want proper adaptive LED headlights you need to step up to the Atenza.
Mazda 6 G25 Sport highlights:
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Heated, power-adjustable mirrors
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Automatic LED headlights
- Automatic high-beam
- Cloth upholstery
- Keyless start
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- DAB+ digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- 6-speaker sound system
- Head-up display
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment
- Paddle shifters
- Dual-zone climate control
- Electric parking brake with auto hold
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- 2 x 12V power outlets
- 3 x USB outlets
Mazda 6 G25 Touring adds:
- Auto-folding exterior mirrors
- LED daytime running lights
- Keyless entry
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- 11-speaker Bose sound system
- Leather upholstery
- Power front seats seats
Mazda 6 G35 GT SP adds:
- Adaptive Front Lighting (steering-guided headlights)
- Black 19-inch alloy wheels
- Heated front seats
- Heated rear outboard seats
- Burgundy leather upholstery
The Mazda 6 wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on 2018 testing, achieving 95 per cent for adult occupant protection, 91 per cent for child occupant protection, 66 per cent for vulnerable road users and 73 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Autonomous emergency braking (forward, reverse)
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Driver attention alert
- Intelligent Speed Assistance
- Lane keep assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Rear parking sensors
- Traffic sign recognition
- Tyre pressure monitoring
G25 Touring and up get front parking sensors, while G35 GT SP and up get Cruising and Traffic Support and G35 Atenza and up get a surround-view camera.
The Mazda 6 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Logbook servicing is now required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first. It was previously every 12 months or 10,000km.
The first five services are capped at $341, $515, $402, $515 and $341 in G25 models and $354, $528, $439, $830 and $354 in G35 models.
The current-generation Mazda 6 is proof that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure the car has technically been around since 2012, but it still looks and feels premium-pushing both inside and out.
Though I’d argue it has aged like fine wine, there are definitely areas of the Mazda 6 – particularly the infotainment – that show its age more than others.
If you’re one of the dwindling few Australian new car buyers that are looking at buying a sedan over an SUV or crossover, the Mazda 6 certainly isn’t a car worth overlooking.
The G35 GT SP on test here firms as the pick of the range as it’s well-equipped and is also most affordable variant that comes with the zesty 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.
I’m also such a big fan of the burgundy leather upholstery.
If you don’t mind about passing on the turbocharged engine and would much rather stick the more-efficient 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine, you’d be better placed to consider the G25 Touring.
You’ll also get smaller 17-inch alloy wheels with chubbier tyres that iron out more of the harsh bumps.
Lastly, if you want the full suite of available safety features, including a surround-view camera, you’ll need to step up to the Atenza.
For $3400 extra over the G35 GT SP you’ll also receive adaptive LED headlights, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, and a heated steering wheel, plus more.
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