Long-term report: Living the life of luxury in our Mazda 6 Tourer
When you see an options list of any car, a first thought for most real-world car buyers is usually ‘Do I really need that?’.
Is it worth spending £600 on leather seats, £1,000 for a panoramic roof or £700 for a larger touchscreen?
But it’s a different story when you don’t really have an options list – rather all the kit you could ever dream of is fitted to the car from the off. That’s very much the case for our Mazda 6 Tourer that I’ve been thrown the keys to for the last few weeks.
The problem is, having been introduced to the luxury that you find from our range-topping GT Sport Nav+ trim, I’m struggling to deal with living without such features that I’d once considered pointless.
Most of the cars I tend to drive are usually quite run-of-the-mill models – there’s nothing wrong with that – but anything remotely plush still feels a bit alien to me.
So you can imagine my delight at jumping into the Mazda and finding niceties such as ventilated (and heated) front seats, a head-up display and an around-view camera. You can’t help but question if it’s all a bit over the top and again asking the ‘Will I ever use that?’ question.
But to answer my own rhetoric, yes is the definite answer. And you certainly miss it once it’s taken away.
We were graced with an odd spell of warm weather when I had the 6 Tourer, which caused the car’s stunning ‘Light Stone Nappa leather’ to get rather warm – meaning the ventilated seats could bring things back down to a cooler temperature. Heated and air-conditioned seats are a tremendous feature for Britain’s conflicting weather, and one I miss very much now I’m back in my own car.
There is also the head-up display – something I’ve always considered to be a gimmick. “It’s hardly arduous to have to glance at the speedo, is it?” was always my logic.
But put a clever projector that displays all key information onto the windscreen for you, and you realise just how useful it can be. And the one fitted to the Mazda seems particularly clever, as it not only shows the speed, but also the directions from the satellite navigate and – importantly – incorporates the many safety aids fitted as standard to this Mazda.
These include lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring – the latter highlighting which side any hazards are to the car and projects it onto the windscreen. Not only does it feel like a more modern way of driving, but it also has its safety benefits as your eyes don’t have to be stray from the road to look at the speedo or touchscreen.
And I also shouldn’t forget the wash of cameras fitted to VA18 CRZ. A reversing camera is hardly a luxury any more, given that some mid-spec superminis come with them – but it’s the front camera and 360-degree monitor which really highlights just how plush this range-topping 6 is.
Some might find it a bit overkill to have a car fitted with so many cameras and question your driving ability, but just a few days with the Tourer showcases how useful they are – particularly as this Mazda is quite a chunky estate. And because I have to parallel park most days, that front camera is particularly useful – far more so than just sensors on their own. The only gripe is that the cameras could be clearer in terms of clarity.
Jumping back into my own 2012 Seat Ibiza feels like stepping back into a different time period, and finds me craving the Mazda’s galactic levels of tech.
Our 6 costs £32,695 with £1,000 of options – £800 being spent on the magical Soul Red Crystal paintwork [I could do another report just on this colour] and £200 to have the leather in this ‘Light Stone’ colour. Both options are must-haves in my book. Compare to more ‘premium’ rivals from Germany and the Mazda starts to look impressive value for money. A Mercedes C-Class Estate starts at £33,900, while to get one with the same kit levels of this Mazda would leave you looking at something well over £40,000.
A few weeks with the Mazda 6 has left me blown away by the Mazda’s stylish looks, stunning interior and superb levels of equipment. The biggest disappointment is returning to my trusty motor and yearning that for the ventilated seat button. First world problems, eh?