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Mazda - 2017 6 Wagon
Mazda - 2017 6 Wagon

Mazda - 2017 6 Wagon

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Mazda 6 Wagon Mazda is looking to do no less with the 2017 Mazda 6 than deliver a flagship offering a foundation for the perfect driver-car relationship. It is a rather simple c... More »
Mazda 6 Wagon

Mazda is looking to do no less with the 2017 Mazda 6 than deliver a flagship offering a foundation for the perfect driver-car relationship.

It is a rather simple concept: The driverprovides input via controls like the steering wheel, pedals and gearshift. The vehicle, meanwhile, does what it's told and supplies feedback.

Mazda is continually striving to perfect the concept, because effective communication between man and machine not only makes driving safer, but also more satisfying, more rewarding and more fun. Mazda calls this relationship Jinba Ittai, and to continue enhancing the "oneness" of driving its flagship, the carmaker looked at things from the customer perspective.

The 2017 Mazda 6 is therefore the first model in Europe (along with the 2017 Mazda 3) to get the carmaker's world-unique G-Vectoring Control, which regulates engine output to improve both responsiveness and stability, particularly in curves. It's the first system in the brand-new SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS line-up, a product of Mazda's human-centric vehicle development approach that enables integrated Jinba Ittai-enhancing control over SKYACTIV engines, transmissions and platforms.

Mazda's newest flagship is also more refined than ever thanks among other things to innovations in diesel knock-suppression technology and turbocharger boost control now available for the Mazda 6's SKYACTIV-D 2.2. Safety, too, is being elevated with the addition of a new forward sensing camera. It expands the range and competence spectrum of several of the vehicle's i-ACTIVSENSE active safety systems, such as automatic braking, also adding pedestrian and traffic sign recognition functionality.

For occupants' well-being, the interior packages offer a level of sophistication, quality and comfort is indeed fitting for an upmarket flagship, and every bit up to the award-winning looks.

The carmaker has clearly achieved what it was aiming for with the 2017 Mazda 6, namely a degree of attractiveness and a personality that outclasses its class with a human-oriented approach to premium that is uniquely Mazda.

Jinba Ittai, which means "rider and horse as one body", is an expression that traces back to the Yabusame ritual, where a mounted archer shoots an arrow at a target while controlling the horse with his knees. Rider and horse need to perform in harmony if there is to be any chance of hitting the mark.

Smarter, Safer, SKYACTIVE

Mazda takes a human-centered approach to balancing the conflicting characteristics of agile handling and a refined ride, since they directly affect the Jinba-Ittai nature of all its products. Introducing SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS.

Mazda is out to make cars that adapt to the driver, not the other way round. The purpose is to continually enhance the Jinba-Ittai sensation, or the linear connection - and communication - between the driver and the vehicle. Enter SKYACTIV Technology: In combination with SKYACTIV powertrains, the SKYACTIV-Chassis and SKYACTIV-Body were designed to deliver the best possible combination of handling, comfort, stability, efficiency and safety.

Now Mazda has gone a step further with its human-centered philosophy. To gain a systematic understanding of what exactly gives people a satisfying and exhilarating experience behind the wheel, the company began testing and assessing how they respond. It determined, for example, that a relaxed posture makes a person more responsive and less prone to fatigue.

This is the foundation of the next big thing on the SKYACTIV road map: SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS is a new generation of vehicle control technology that, by delive-ring integrated control over the SKYACTIV engines, transmissions and platforms, should further differentiate Mazda from other brands.

THE SKYACTIV ADVANTAGE

Debuting in Europe as standard equipment on the 2017 Mazda 6 and 2017 Mazda 3, the first system in the new SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS line-up is G-Vectoring Control (GVC). GVC is a product of Mazda's pursuit of smooth transitions between the g-forces produced when accelerating, braking and turning. It's the only system of its kind that adjusts engine torque in response to steering wheel action to achieve smoother and more efficient vehicle behaviour, providing unified control over lateral and longitudinal forces to optimise the load on each wheel.

It works like this: As soon as the driver turns when, say, entering a curve, GVC uses engine torque to generate deceleration g-force. This shifts the load to the front wheels, increasing front tire grip to boost responsiveness. When the driver subsequently maintains a constant steering angle through the curve, GVC restores acceleration engine torque, which transfers the load back to the rear wheels. This supports vehicle stability.

Because the load transferring draws out added grip from the respective wheels, it furnishes a dynamic balance of stability and responsiveness, which in turn makes the 2017 Mazda 6's behaviour correspond more precisely to the driver's intentions. And GVC does its job regardless of the driver's skill level in a range of driving situations: At low or high speeds, on straightaways or winding roads, on rain, snow or ice, and even during emergency manoeuvres.

HARNESSING G-FORCES

The benefits are numerous. By optimising the vertical load on the tires to the given conditions, it keeps the vehicle on its intended path while significantly reducing the need for steering correction. The communication between driver and car is simply more efficient, which instils confidence and reduces driver fatigue. And safety, since a relaxed driver is also more alert. It also enhances comfort, since the smoother, "natural" transition of g-forces supresses occupants' head and body movement.

Developers looked closely at human perceptions to come up with a system that reacts so quickly as to be indiscernible. GVC therefore not only enables better control of the car than is possible for a person on their own, it's also extremely subtle about it. The aforementioned deceleration force normally amounts to a g-force on the 2017 Mazda 6 that is scarcely distinguishable to occupants.

How is this possible? For one, by the fact that SKYACTIV engines allow such precise torque control and the SKYACTIV-Chassis and SKYACTIV-Body such ideal vehicle be-haviour. This also means GVC is compatible with any SKYACTIV model. And because it's a software control system with no additional hardware, it doesn't add any weight to speak of, which is a good match for the Mazda's obsession with cutting every possible gram.

EXTENSION OF THE DRIVER

GVC thus goes hand in hand with the Mazda 6 philosophy as well as existing technology like i-ACTIV AWD, the carmaker's intelligent all-wheel drive system offered for diesel-powered Mazda 6 wagons. Predictive rather than reactive, it smoothly sends power to the wheels that need it when they need it. i-ACTIV AWD actually foresees road conditions based on more than 200 readings per seconds from 27 signals covering various factors such as engine, transmission and windshield wiper behaviour as well as steering, yaw and temperature. Like GVC, it works under any road conditions, even if they're changing rapidly, while reducing energy loss and fuel wastage from wheel spinning or too much rear-drive operation. So it not only makes driving safer, but also more efficient and, of course, more fun.

The 2017 Mazda 6's SKYACTIV-Chassis plays an elemental role here. It features a front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension whose shock absorber structure and optimised bushing shapes to deliver a flatter, smoother ride, balancing steering comfort and fun responsiveness as well as braking agility and stability.

Lightweight yet exceptionally stiff, the SKYACTIV-Body, meanwhile, supports the reconciliation of these contradictory factors. Despite having one of the lowest kerb weight in its class (starting at 1,300kg), the Mazda 6 also delivers top-class passive safety protection that helped it earn five stars from Euro NCAP and other traffic safety authorities around the world. Aerodynamics are outstanding too, with cd values of 0.26 for the sedan and 0.28 for the wagon.

POWERTRAINS

Buckets of adoration and positive reviews attest to what Mazda has achieved with its flagship, which is in no small part praise for its SKYACTIV powertrains. Now the 2017 Mazda 6 gets some brand new technology for a more cultivated experience to go with what is already a pleasure behind the wheel.

The Mazda 6 comes with a choice of two SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesels (150PS & 175PS) and three petrol engines: the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 with 145PS or 165PS, and the 192PS SKYACTIV-G 2.5. Featuring extreme compression ratios of 14:1 for all but one - much lower than the competition's diesels and exceptionally high for petrol engines - they not only get the job done and do it efficiently, but they also engage the driver while they're at it thanks to lightweight innovation and efficient packaging.

Both SKYACTIV-D 2.2 versions feature a sequential twin turbocharger, delivering outstanding toque without turbo lag, as well as the fuel-economy advantages of optimum combustion timing, specially shaped pistons, multi-hole piezo injectors and more. These unconventional diesels are now more responsive and quieter than ever, too, with three new systems for the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 making their debut on the 2017 Mazda 6.

HITTING ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

The first, High-Precision DE Boost Control, enhances boost pressure control and enables finer fuel injection adjustments to sharpen the response to the accelerator, particularly under light load urban conditions or when merging onto a busy motorway. It thus achieves accurate and swift torque generation at the slightest touch of the accelerator pedal for smooth, linear acceleration with minimal shock and vibration - more like a naturally aspirated petrol engine. The car accelerates as intended, refining the Jinba-Ittai communication and feedback between the driver and car. It's a well-oiled relationship.

The next is the Natural Sound Smoother. Recently introduced on the SKYACTIV-D 1.5 in the Mazda 3, it has now been adapted for Mazda's larger diesel. The technology uses a damper placed in the hollow part of each piston pin to stifle diesel knock in the 3.5kHz range. This is the engine noise most conspicuous in the cabin and typically experienced when starting from a standstill or accelerating gradually.

CALMER AND SMOOTHER

Natural Sound Frequency Control, meanwhile, complements the Natural Sound Smoother by supressing the other three critical frequency bands (1.3kHz, 1.7kHz and 2.5kHz) where diesel powerplant components typically vibrate loudest. It does so by deviating the engine timing ever so slightly (in 100 microsecond units), thereby causing the pressure waves produced before, during and after combustion to cancel each other out. This reduces combustion-induced vibration and the resulting cabin resonance.

The SKYACTIV-G petrol engines are likewise a product of Mazda's non-stop efforts to continue advancing the Jinba-Ittai driving sensation. Like the SKYACTIV-D, this means smoothly delivering the ideal linear response to driver input, behaving precisely as intended and providing the corresponding feedback.

The engines are mated to six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatics or SKYACTIV-MT manual transmissions. i-stop, idle stop system providing some of the fastest restarts around, is standard equipment, while i-ELOOP, Mazda's unique brake energy regeneration system, is available for all powerplants except the 145PS versionof the SKYACTIV-G 2.0. Diesel-powered Mazda 6 wagons are also offered with Mazda's intelligent i-ACTIV AWD system, which features a front-slip detection warning system.

i-ELOOP: REUSE, RECYCLE, RECHARGE

Short for "Intelligent Energy Loop", Mazda's fuel-saving i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system was the world's first such passenger car technology to utilise a capacitor to store electricity recovered during braking.

Mazda focused on the recurring deceleration and acceleration cycle of everyday driving conditions. Determining that a typical deceleration phase lasts only about 10 seconds, the company adopted an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) to quickly capture and temporarily store the recovered electricity rather than a dedicated lead-acid starter battery or lithium-ion unit.

i-ELOOP improves fuel economy by up to 10% under everyday urban driving condi-tions. The system is standard on all diesel-powered 2017 Mazda 6s and available for most petrol models.

i-STOP: OFF AGAIN, ON AGAIN

i-stop is Mazda's innovative, intelligent idle-stop system. Standard equipment on the all new Mazdas including the 2017 Mazda 6, it uses combustion energy for the restart. In addition to saving fuel, this enables some of the fastest restarts in the industry: 0.35 seconds for SKYACTIV-G petrol engines and only 0.40 seconds on SKYACTIV-D diesels.

i-stop uses a refined control module to switch off the engine in the ignition/expansion stroke (petrol) or compression stroke (diesel), the optimum cycles for restarting. In fact, i-stop actually waits for the moment the cylinders are in the ideal restart position. And it only takes a spilt second.

SAFETY

Based on the premise that peace of mind is a central element of Jinba-Ittai driving, Mazda Proactive Safety encompasses a holistic approach to protecting those within and beyond the vehicle.

The Mazda Proactive Safety concept starts with providing a wealth of support to the driver. The medium is i-ACTIVSENSE, which is Mazda's radar and camera-based range of advanced active and pre-crash safety technology. The idea: Help drivers help themselves by recognising and informing the one behind the wheel of potential dan-ger, only intervening when an accident is unavoidable.

Three i-ACTIVSENSE advancements debut on the 2017 Mazda 6, highlighted by a brand-new forward sensing camera extending the functionality of various systems.

The first is Advanced Smart City Brake Support (Advanced SCBS). Replacing the system's near-infrared laser, the forward sensing not only widens the forward detection speed range from 4-30km/h to 4-80km/h, but can also identify pedestrians. Advanced SBCS automatically applies brakes should it spot an obstacle or person in front of the car. It also works in reverse using ultrasonic sensors at speeds of 2-8km/h.

Smart Brake Support (SBS) also widens its speed range for automatic braking, in this case from 15-145km/h to 15-160km/h, thanks to the forward sensing camera, which supplements the existing 77GHz microwave radar. SBS monitors preceding vehicles, first sounding an audible warning should it detect a hazardously closing gap and pre-filling the brakes, applying them should the driver fail to respond.

Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) also utilises the new camera to identify speed limit and "no entry" signs, immediately notifying the driver via the Active Driving Display. It warns drivers with visual and audible alerts should they exceed the limit.

MANY EYES, WIDE OPEN

The 2017 Mazda 6's comprehensive range of active and pre-crash safety systems includes Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). Its 24GHz radar keeps track of vehicles approaching from behind (as close as 2m) and in adjacent lanes (up to 8m to the side and 50m behind) at 30km/h and up, visually and audibly altering drivers should they signal a lane change. BSM includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which uses BSM's sensors and signals when the car is reversing.

Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) monitors the road markings via the forward sensing camera at 60km/h and up, warning the driver of unintentional lane changes (e.g. without using the turn signal) by vibrating the steering wheel. LAS even provides steering torque assistance to return the vehicle to the centre of its lane. Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH), which debuted on the 2015 Mazda 6, combines glare-free LED high beams and wide-range low beams with an auto-levelling function. Each headlamp has four LED blocks that can be shut off individually to avoid impairing other motorists' vision. The low beams greatly broaden coverage and with it visibility at places like intersections.

Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) uses the aforementioned microwave radar to monitor preceding motorists and maintain a safe trailing distance (pre-determined by the driver) by adjusting throttle and brake pressure. MRCC thus takes a great deal of pressure off, especially on longer trips. It works at 30-200km/h, day or night and rain or shine. Driver Attention Alert (DAA), meanwhile, keeps an eye on the driver and recommends a break every two hours or sooner should it recognise any noteworthy changes in behaviour.

Finally, the 2017 Mazda 6 also features Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), which auto-matically flashes the four-way hazard lights during heavy braking, and Hill Launch Assist (HLA), which prevents rolling during hill starts. ABS with EBD (electronic brake distribution), EBA (brake assist), DSC (dynamic stability control) and TCS (traction control system) are all standard equipment.

SOFTENING THE IMPACT

Mazda Proactive Safety extends of course to passive safety and providing the best possible protection in case the worst happens.

Here the SKYACTIV-Body plays a central role. Its body structures absorb impact energy from all sides and channel it around and away from the cabin along multi-load paths.

Inside, too, numerous features shield occupants from harm, including reinforced seatbacks and anti-whiplash front seats. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard. The front seatbelts combine pretensioners and load limiters, while the rear seatbelt retractors have revised shapes, material and resistance levels to enhance comfort. The latter is a brand new feature on the 2017 Mazda 6.

As for pedestrians, the bonnet hinges yield downward to help prevent head injuries during an accident. Mazda also uses a special material on the bonnet and front suspension towers that gives during an impact, but still resists deformation if leaned upon it. With five Euro NCAP stars, the 2017 Mazda 6 remains one of the safest cars in its class.

CONNECTIVITY, FUNCTIONALITY & EQUIPMENT

Competing in one of Europe's most fiercely contested segments, the 2017 Mazda 6 captures the essence of the brand: fun, safe, efficient and a top value. In the cabin, that means everything is exactly where it should be for as relaxing and enjoyable a journey as possible.

Picking up where it left off with the 2015 Mazda 6, Mazda set out to further enhance the cabin environment, taking direct aim at road and wind noise (as well as diesel engine knock). Measures on the 2017 Mazda 6 include moulding the weather stripping around the door edges and improving the sealing between the rear door trim and inner panels as well as at other strategic positions in the doors. Additional sound-absorbing materials have been added in the headliner, centre console, door trim and elsewhere. All grades come with thicker front door glass, and top-grade models even get noise-resistant glass. It all adds up to interior sound levels comparable to traditional premium class models, even on rough surfaces.

The heads-up interior introduced on the 2015 model intensified the Jinba Ittai connection with the car with a uniquely ergonomic layout of all driving-related controls. All occupants benefit from a human-machine interface (HMI) tweaked for outstanding usability, enabling the driver to focus on the road and passengers to relax and enjoy the ride.

Several key cabin components have been fine-tuned on the 2017 Mazda 6 to further ease operation. The steering wheel now features a more user-friendly control button set-up on the horizontal spoke, whose shape was optimised in the name of comfort and better grip. Mazda has also added steering wheel heaters, which automatically switch off after 30 minutes.

JINBA ITTAI ON THE INSIDE

The advanced on-board systems do provide a lot of information. To make it all simpler to digest, the carmaker replaced the monochrome Active Driving Display, as Mazda calls its head-up display, with a full-colour system. As usual, it shows information prioritised according to importance and urgency. Therefore, an acute active safety warning - now in red or amber - immediately displaces vehicle speed and navigation system directions. The multi-information gauge on the right side of the instrument cluster gets a similar treatment in the name of better display quality, easing comprehensibility with full-colour TFT LCD technology offering more realistic graphics, icons and animation.

The climate control system, meanwhile, adds sensors to enable more precise temperature regulation. It also switches to recirculated air when the engine is cold for faster warm-ups, especially in winter, thus saving fuel.

INTUITIVE COMFORT

In true Jinba-Ittai fashion, Mazda is striving to design a cockpit in which the controls feel to the driver like an extension of his or her limbs. The driver's seat offers abundant adjustability to allow drivers of virtually any size to find the ideal position. It saves multiple settings, and now even remembers the corresponding angle, brightness and content setting for the Active Driving Display.

The overview of road and surroundings is exceptional, while the rotary commander on the centre console enables straightforward blind operation of infotainment functions via the 7-inch TFT touchscreen display. From here occupants can safely access MZD Connect, Mazda's in-car smartphone connectivity system.

Rounding out the flagship comfort are a wealth of details including heated seats front and back. As one of the largest models in the segment, legroom, knee room and shoul-der room are unsurprisingly at or near the top of its class.

DESIGN

After its launch, the current generation Mazda 6 was one of the three finalists for World Car Design of the Year in the company of cars costing multiples of itself. It's still one of the most attractive - and dignified - C/D-segment models around.

Mazda left the exterior of its flagship as it was following the last upgrade in 2015. Inside, however, several enhancements aim to make the driving experience that much better, keeping on course the upmarket progression of the Mazda 6.

The concept is based on the clever heads-up cabin concept, which partitions the interior into a snug driver-oriented space and open, airy passenger area yet connects them with a consistent cabin style. Now the carmakerhas raised the level of refined interior elegance on the 2017 model from what was already a nicely cohesive cabin environment.

New, for example, is the metallic finish used on the instrument panel, door switch panels and shifter panel, as is the chrome deco on the glovebox and rear seat centre armrest. Overhead LED downlights, meanwhile, have been added to illuminate the floor console area. The steering wheel adds some new shapes, button patterns and even heaters to improve comfort and ease operation. Otherwise, the pockets on the front seatback were modified to maintain a high-quality appearance and prevent visible wear.

DIGNIFIED YET UNORTHODOX

What hasn't changed is the instantly recognisable level harmonious elegance, with a minimum of hard plastics. In short, the 2017 Mazda 6 cabin is clearly in line with the model's premium aspirations.

Likewise the exterior's expression of motion, emotion, speed and stability. Wagon or sedan, the Mazda 6's KODO - Soul of Motion design fuses a sophisticated intelligence in a dynamically muscular form.

Flowing back from the prominent visage over the front wheels to the door mirrors - now with automatic power retractable function and enlarged signal lights - the sleek, distinctive shapes underline the sense of dynamism and light, effortless motion. Sedan or wagon, Mazda's unorthodox combination of dignity and purpose set its flagship apart from the competition.

COLOURS TO CELEBRATE SHAPES

Mazda is offering a new premium body colour with the 2017 Mazda 6. Machine Grey accentuates the dynamic KODO surface structure, enhancing its subtleties. Like the popular Soul Red, it uses Mazda's "Takuminuri" painting technology to create a uniform pattern of aluminium flakes in the ultra-thin reflective layer of body paint. The technique produces a metallic texture that looks professionally hand painted despite being mass-produced in a three-coat finish of clear, reflective and colour layers. The 2017 Mazda 6 will also be offered in Soul Red and seven other colours: Sonic Silver, Titanium Flash, Blue Reflex, Deep Crystal Blue, Jet Black, Snowflake White Pearl and Arctic White.
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