Our cars: Mazda 6 - May
Week ending May 31
Total mileage 6650
Driven this week 300 miles
I've been driving our Mazda 6 this week to see what it's like on my 50-mile commute.
The diesel engine is incredibly refined, and now the car's got more than 6000 miles under its belt, the average fuel economy is up to around 50mpg.
However, the fuel economy leads me on to an annoyance with the electronic readouts.
If you switch through the display modes in the instrument binnacle, you can choose an 'instant' mpg readout. The readout will climb to a maximum of 99.9mpg when you're barely touching the throttle, but within a second of putting your foot down will dive into the high teens. If your journey involves quite a bit of stop-start traffic, the number will jump around frequently, which seems far less useful than the trip average display in – for example – our recently departed BMW 320d.
Seeing the instant impact your throttle use has on mpg is useful in certain circumstances, but for most drivers I think an average readout is far more useful, allowing you to check fuel economy on the current trip and adjust your driving style accordingly.
By Ed Callow
Week ending May 24
Total mileage 6350
Driven this week 245 miles
You may remember the Mazda 6 has an energy-saving system called i-ELOOP. I'm already a fan. Not least because it's got me fascinated, watching the graphic bars displayed on the dash going up and down, showing me how much energy is being captured and stored.
Basically a unique capacitor is the clever bit. Energy from braking is stored, then released back into the car's electrical system which then powers things such as headlights, climate control and the audio system. So i-ELOOP ends up improving engine performance and fuel efficiency, benefitting economy by up to 10%.
It all seems to be working well too as the economy has improved recently - it's now averaging 50mpg, up from 46mpg.
I still think it's a terrific engine full-stop. In fact, it's hard to think of a more refined and free-revving diesel.
Week ending May 17
Total mileage 6105
Driven this week 105 miles
Hauling my daughter's buggy into and out of the back of a car can result in a careful juggling act where I try not to tip the rest of the boot's contents on the floor.
However, during a bizarre conversation in the office last week a non-parent said: 'Surely putting the buggy in front to back rather than sideways would mean you could put it in and out regardless of what else was in there.'
As I own a medium-sized hatchback with a small to average-sized boot, the possibility had never even occurred to me, but borrowing the Mazda 6 for the weekend gave me the opportunity to try.
The cavernous boot on the Mazda happily swallowed a buggy, a tricycle and three bags of rubbish for the tip. Each time we stopped we didn’t have to take everything out, rearrange it and put it back. So, yes, putting the buggy in lengthways is much easier, but it takes a car as big as the Mazda 6 to do it.
By Sarah Hossack
Week ending May 10
Total mileage 6000
Driven this week 450 miles
As I drove home last night, I saw two other Mazda 6s on the motorway – one in white and the other in red. Seeing them made me realise what a good-looking car it is, and as a designer myself, looks are important.
I love the way the swoop starts in the headlights at the front, goes over the front wheelarches and into the doors below the mirrors.
The proportions of the 6 are excellent and make a lot of its European rivals look boring in comparison. The car's chief designer has certainly achieved a very elegant and strong-looking car that perfectly illustrates the Kodo (Soul of Motion) design philosophy.
Let's have more like this please, Mazda.
Week ending: May 3
Driven this week 300 miles
Earlier this week, I had the chance to drive an automatic version of my car, including a higher-powered version of the same engine, so it's comparison time.
The automatic 'box was very smooth and changed up nicely through the ratios, while the power delivery on the more potent engine was sharp and quick.
The interior came with black leather seats; compared with the regular items in my manual, they offered slightly more support and the option of heating. The auto also had a rear parking camera, so I found it easier to park with this system than the 'beeper' set-up in our car.
However, I did prefer my car's ride – it has smaller tyres and offers greater comfort and less road noise. It just goes to show how important it is to nail down the ideal specification of car for your own preferences – particularly since there are so many different trims and options these days.