Long-term report: Our Mazda 6 heads in for a service…

Speaking from a car buyer’s perspective, the initial purchase of a new motor isn’t something I find the dealer experience to be the most crucial aspect of — rather, it’s the following servicing, MOTs and other gubbins that comes with running a car.

That’s no to discredit the importance of dealers making a new customer feel welcome and delivering an exceptional service — after all, a snotty exchange could leave me taking my cash elsewhere. In today’s world though, buyers can do their research online, find the perfect car and spend less than an hour at a showroom finalising the details before driving off.

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As good as technology is though, you can’t quite download a service history just yet and that means owners still need to find the right place to have work on their cars carried out. For dealers, delivering a smooth experience to ensure these customers consistently choose to have this work done at their place is arguably more critical than getting them into a car in the first place.

It’s something that came across my mind as we geared up to take VA18 CRZ, our long-term Mazda 6, in for its first service. Now, long-time readers may remember we held custody of an MX-5 RF way back in 2017 for a similar length of time to our 6 and, as a result of being an office favourite, soon found its way to needing a service.

For that, we headed to Snows Mazda in Portsmouth. Admittedly, it was the closest to our Gosport HQ, but that’s not to say a bad experience may have left us looking elsewhere in future.

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Fortunately, things were plain-sailing. No issues were had with the car, and there were none with the dealership either. Back there we’d be heading with the 6, then.

I’m happy to report our experience was very much the same. Booking in the car had admittedly taken a few tries of getting through the phone lines, but once contact was established, things were smooth from there.

We had managed to get a slot about a week later — a reasonable time frame we think — and were offered a courtesy car in the process too for no extra cost. On the day, it was a very simple case of rocking up at the dealership, dropping the keys off, paying a £15 insurance waiver for the Mazda2 courtesy car I’d be driving that day and heading off to work with very little delay to my morning.

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The plan had been to pick up the car around 5:30pm that day. Things seemed to have been scuppered though, with the combination of a waterpipe burst on nearby Hayling Island and an accident on the A27 causing total traffic chaos that day.

I had begun to get a little anxious about arriving in time for Snow’s 6pm closure — and the fear of annoying some of their staff on a Friday afternoon. I needn’t have worried, though, having arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

If I’d had the brains to connect my phone to the car’s Bluetooth beforehand, I could’ve done away with the anxiety all together. En route, a salesman had tried to contact me to offer the 2 for the evening at no extra charge as a result of the chaotic traffic — an offer I would’ve been keen to take up. A nice touch indeed.

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As for the 6? It flew through its service with flying colours. Zero issues to report on a new car isn’t huge news in itself, but it’s still a relief to see a sheet full of green boxes.

I’d be more than happy to revisit Snows in future as a result of the impressive service. For me, that’s the reaction every dealer across the country should be striving for in this digital age of car sales.

  • Model: Mazda 6 Tourer 2.5 GT Sport Nav+ Auto
  • Price: £32,695
  • Engine: 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol
  • Power: 191bhp
  • Torque: 258Nm
  • Max speed: 139mph
  • 0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
  • MPG (Combined): 42.2
  • Emissions: 153 g/km
  • Mileage (To date): 11,735 miles
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