The Japanese, in particular Toyota, tend to dominate the affordable, mid-size sedan market here in the UAE, although American cars are becoming increasingly competitive in this sector.
As it stands the Toyota Camry probably rules the roost from a sales point of view with Honda and Mazda offering good alternatives.
To be honest, I have never considered buying a Mazda, apart from a fleeting interest in the now iconic MX5 sports car, so I was curious to try out the latest Mazda6 which is now in its third generation.
Firstly, this is a very impressive car to look at with a modern sleek design which immediately gives it the look of a far more expensive vehicle, particularly in the gorgeous Soul Red Metallic colour with 19inch aluminium wheels and sporty twin exhausts.
The front of the car has what Mazda call the new family face, a signature wing grille and headlights which resemble eyes with LEDs adding to the appeal.
The side profile is athletic and the back of the car looks slightly aggressive, again giving it a classy feel.
Mazda make a big deal of something called Skyactiv technology which apparently makes the car more efficient from the engine to the chassis.
This is all well and good but the word Skyactiv is confusing and gives the impression that the car is linked to some mother-ship computer somewhere up in the stars, which of course it isn’t.
Still, that’s automotive marketing for you.
But having got over that confusion there can be no mistake that this is a car that punches well above its weight.
Apart from the pleasing exterior design the interior is also a very pleasant place to be with a lot of soft-touch materials (plastic but not that hard cheap stuff), polished aluminium, comfortable leather seats, and a well designed instrument cluster and infotainment system, although the 5.8 inch touchscreen is a tad small.
There is also an impressive 11-speaker Bose sound system.
Our test car was powered by a 2.5 litre, four cylinder engine, which provides ample if not overly impressive acceleration via a sixspeed automatic gearbox.
There are also paddle shifts offering a manual option which enables you to get a more responsive performance.
The handling is excellent thanks to the suspension and chassis system, which is part of that oddly named Skyactiv technology.
The Mazda6 has the sort of driver assist technology you would again expect to find in a more expensive car, including adaptive cruise control, rear parking camera, smart brake support which intervenes if it detects that an accident is imminent, lane departure warning, adaptive front lights, and hill launch assist.
There is plenty of room in the back for passengers and more than adequate boot space, making it the perfect family car.
All in all I was hugely impressed with the Mazda6.
It a great looking car that drives well, is economical to run and with prices starting at just Dh75,000 for the 2.0 litre S model offers amazing value.
It really is a class above what you might expect.
Why Buy It
Mazda6 Skyactiv 2.5 – Specifications
Manufacturer : Mazda
Production : 2002 to present
Class : Mid-size sedan
Body style : Four-seater
Layout : Front-wheel drive
Engine : 2.5 litre
Output : 185bhp
Torque : 251nm
Transmission : Six-speed automatic with paddle shifts
0-100km : 9 secs approx
Kerb weight : 1560kg
Top speed : 220kmh
Price : From Dh75,000
Rating out of ten: 8
Here is the official video of the Mazda6 Skyactiv 2.5
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