Mazda has always been a company that churned out good products, but has perennially been underestimated by the market. But the Japanese company is resurgent this year, releasing two all-new models targeted at relatively mainstream markets: the Mazda 3 and the Mazda CX-5. The 2.0-liter Mazda 3 is worth the three-year delay of its arrival, but its P1,300,000 asking price will make you pause; especially now that the new Ford Focus has arrived sporting a P1,200,000 sticker price and offering more toys. I haven’t driven the CX-5, but based on how many I’m seeing on the road, it seems like Mazda finally has a successful product in its roster again. But you don’t have to look at its new models to find a reason to buy a Mazda, you can look at a model that’s been with them since 2008—the Mazda 6. I got behind the wheel of the Japanese company’s midsize sedan recently and I wondered why this car is so overlooked in its segment. First off, despite being released four years ago, and with a replacement already revealed, the car still looks damn good. Viewed head-on, the 6 presents a striking front profile that catches one’s eye. A single feature line connects the large front wheel arches to the “leaf” inspired taillights. By easing up on the aggression in the middle portion of the sedan, the Mazda 6 straddles that perfect design balance between looking proper and being a little daring. The cabin is a facsimile of the Mazda 3’s interior, only done in a more upscale manner. This similarity actually betrays the Mazda 3’s age. The dashboard and controls look sleek and masculine in their glossy black and silver colors. It’s the kind of cockpit you don’t mind sitting in for long journeys. Adding to the road trip appeal is a premium audio system made by Bose. Some of you might recall the MX-5 had a similar Bose audio system, so this tie-up isn’t new to the Mazda 6. The audio sounds sublime, albeit a little boomy and loud, typical of the deluxe Bose brand. Because Mazdas are known for their ‘Zoom-zoom’ marketing tagline, one expects a certain amount of excitement when behind the wheel. In this regard, the Mazda 6 doesn’t disappoint. Well, the wheel itself disappoints because it’s a bit too thin for my taste. I want my tillers thick and meaty. At least it's wrapped in leather and festooned with buttons. But the drive is energetic. Step on the throttle a bit and the Mazda 6 surges suddenly surges forward. You really have to watch out for it. Once you get the hang of the Mazda’s eager nature, zooming around the city is effortlessly fast. And because of the large body, comfort isn’t sacrificed for speed. Although I don't expect fuel economy to be outstanding. Because of all these features and its performance, the Mazda 6 sidesteps that stigma of being behind the wheel of a midsize sedan—that of looking like you’re driving your dad’s car (My apologies to all the fathers reading). It looks good on the outside, drives fast, and is a pleasure to ride on the inside—and that Bose sound system isn’t bad at all. The Mazda 6 is an amazing but underrated car. With the proper marketing push, who knows much better it could have fared on the market? We can’t really blame the Ford office here for not giving it enough attention. Globally, Ford has nearly divested itself of its other brands (Aston Martin, Volvo, Jaguar), with a clear intention to focus on its own Blue Oval cars. It’s natural that Ford Group Philippines would reflect that philosophy here. Maybe with the Malaysian Berjaya group coming in to handle Mazda in our country, the coming Mazda 6 will have a better chance of selling. In the meantime, take a second look at the current Mazda 6 if you’re in the market for something different and exciting. It might surprise you.
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