Test Drive: 2012 Mazda6 GT I4 car test drives reviews mazda
2012 Mazda6 GT-I4. Click image to enlarge

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Mazda Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

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2012 Mazda6

The Mazda6 is likely entering its final months as Mazda’s flagship sedan. Mazda has offered us a glimpse of the future 6 in the Takeri concept, and if the leap from Minagi concept to CX-5 is anything to go by, it’ll be a dead ringer, but with more conventional lights, mirrors, interior, and perhaps more modest wheels. What is most impressive about the current 2012 Mazda6 is that even in its twilight, it is a very competitive mid-size sedan, offering a unique character in an affordable, dynamic package.

On loan from Mazda Canada was a Mazda6 GT-I4 with automatic transmission. Mazda’s four-cylinder is rated at 170 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque, and an underwhelming five speeds in the autobox, although it offered no cause for complaint when driving. Despite almost pedestrian numbers, the 6’s engine was up to the task of moving this 1,610-kg sedan, and although it generated undue noise when accelerating briskly, it was tolerable if not inspiring. It was very quiet at highway speeds, except for some drone from the winter tires, and the engine was a relaxed 2,400 rpm at 120 km/h and 2,000 at 100 km/h.

Test Drive: 2012 Mazda6 GT I4 car test drives reviews mazda
Test Drive: 2012 Mazda6 GT I4 car test drives reviews mazda
2012 Mazda6 GT-I4. Click image to enlarge

Fuel consumption is estimated at 9.4 L/100 km in city driving and 6.5 for highway driving by Transport Canada (10.7/7.6 by US EPA), but I managed a pretty modest 9.1 L/100 km in 640 km of mixed driving. Expect the next generation Mazda6 to offer better mileage from its gas and diesel engines.

However, I must confess that the low fuel consumption numbers I got were largely because the modest power kept my acceleration in check — I simply had little desire to thrash this engine. So I saved my juvenile behaviour to tackling corners at aggressive speeds, a task the Mazda6 excels at, with good balance and light, sharp steering. The electric power steering didn’t translate into any sort of sublime road feel, but the chassis communicated Mazda’s philosophy of driving joy — grippier all-season tires would have hit the spot, but only because the unseasonably warm winter had us thinking it was spring in February.

It was a mild car for a mild winter, although I also found some excitement in looking at the Mazda6 from various angles and appreciating the details of this sedan. The front hood is contoured to suggest racy fenders and hints at its RX-8 ex-stable mate. The teardrop shaped headlights around the HID projectors are trimmed in a piece of layered chrome and matte plastic that channels the best of the Nagare design theme since dropped for the bolder Kodo styling seen on the CX-5. The profile of the Mazda6 is also sleek and understated, with 18-inch alloy wheels and taillights that work well with the sharply curved textures of the body.

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