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It’s the diesel and the details that count

2019 Mazda 6 2.2L Skyactiv-D Sedan

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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but in the Mazda6 sedan’s case, it is undeniable even for one-eyed Jacks. The combo of the Kodo design language of Mazda is undeniable in any form and elements of the Mazda Vision Coupé (a stunning concept unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show) gives it a massive edge over the competition.

I like how the chrome-bordered massive grille sports a de-emphasized logo to give the façade room to fully express the design with the branding appearing just as an afterthought. The logo is at the center, albeit in the upper portion of the grille, but Mazda even uses its position as a cover-up for the front-facing camera that’s just below it.

Cheetah-inspired shoulders are represented by the segment’s most unique front fenders. Even with a trunk, Mazda still almost manages to make it look like a sport hatch with the fastback look and such a very short tail. It’s in the executive sedan class but it is the sportiest one yet.

Like all sedans in the Php 2 million range (this model is priced at Php 2.250 million), it doesn’t scrimp on interior amenities and appointments, but that’s not to say it doesn’t go over and above the limit.

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Aside from the very liberal use of what Mazda calls deep chestnut Nappa leather, which is practically all over the cabin (from the steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, and center tunnel and console), the automaker also went all out with Alcantara, which they call Ultra Suede, on the horizontal trim right below the aircon vents and extending all the way to the door panels.

Combined with the brushed aluminum strips located on the dashboard and door panels (front and rear) and the visible stitching on the leather, it makes for a very posh interior that even exceeds the exterior’s refinement.

The Mazda Connect system may look and even feel dated, especially since it hasn’t really had significant updates to the Commander (rotary dial) or the graphic user interface (GUI) since 2013, but that’s not so say it is not an absolute delight to use.

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First, it’s so easy. You can opt for the touch feature on the eight-inch screen but the Commander is better because you can keep your eyes on the road more. Second, there isn’t an excess of icons hiding menus and submenus to locate what you need. Third, the GUI fonts and the plain design makes all the labels easy to read. Did I mention it has an 11-speaker Bose sound system?

As great as all these details are, its best feature is better felt than seen. I was preparing for a vigorous impression from the SkyActiv-D 2.2L engine seeing as it uses diesel fuel but I was pleasantly surprised. Its torque has truck-level pull at 450 Nm but it does so with business class behavior.

The only difference you get between massaging or mashing the throttle is the pace of acceleration through the smooth SkyActiv six-speed AT. It doesn’t crudely lunge forward or jolt and twitch like an anxious teenager. Put some pressure if you want to get there faster. Otherwise, it takes its time, which to some may feel weird because it does have 190 PS, but the way it moves is so, for lack of a better term, regal – so firm and stable befitting of its class. Combined fuel consumption is a fabulous 13.5 kilometers per liter.

Ride comfort is as expected. Large holes on the road are muted to a quiet thud and don’t even expect a description of tiny bumps because it barely made a sound.

It handles very nicely along turns and curves even at high speed because of the low roof and floor level, which brings down the center of gravity.

Despite the size, it feels light with electric power-assisted steering, which sadly dulls out road feedback, but its response to driver input is very sharp and precise.

Airbags are a-plenty. Six to be exact: front and side (driver and passenger), and curtain, but what makes it smart and safe — beyond the usual sensors, etc. — is a 360-degree-view camera, lane departure warning system and blind spot monitoring.

The last two features appear on the heads-up display (exclusive to this trim) aside from visual cues from the side-view mirrors so that you don’t even have to take your eyes off the road.

It is hard to find a fault where there is none, which is why if I had to rate this car, it would be a 9/10. The deduction is because of price (it’s one of the most expensive in its class) and besides, there’s no such thing as a perfect car. But if you’re a stickler for details and are dying for a diesel-powered unit, the 2019 Mazda 6 2.2L Skyactiv-D 4DR should definitely be on your radar.

Text and photos by Eric Tipan

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