7 July 2023 · Mazda Australia News

Mazda 6 Of The best

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Bryson Yeoman knows his cars, and we do mean “cars”, as SUVs are not his preference.

The 55-year-old, from Ringwood in Victoria, has been an automotive engine reconditioner for nearly 40 years and has had some of Australia’s most notable cars parked in his driveway in that time, including a Holden Torana SL/R 5000.

He is not one to follow the growing SUV market trend in the last couple of decades. He prefers vehicles that allow him to explore his driving passion and his current vehicle of choice is a Mazda6 G35 Atenza wagon.

Yeoman is now on his fourth Mazda, having previously owned a pair of Mazda3s before switching to a Mazda6 GT wagon, which he then swapped to upgrade to his current wheels.

As a man that has spent his entire adult life working on engines, he knows when he’s found a good one.

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“I was just really impressed with the Mazda experience, their engineering and the cars they build,” Yeoman says.

“I got a Mazda6 GT wagon and then we upgraded that to the Atenza wagon, which we’ve got now. The 2.5-litre turbo, the best way I can describe it to people is it’s like driving an HSV 5.0-litre V8, the ones that produced 185kW. It’s got that sort of power and torque, but you’ve got fuel economy as well in the Mazda6, which you didn’t get from the HSV V8.

“These days, force-fed four-cylinders do what eight-cylinders used to do."

Yeoman's Mazda6 G35 is powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 173kW of power and 420Nm torque as standard. Which comparable in performance – yet more economical – to the iconic V8s of old.

While he admits he could always do with more power, which isn’t surprising for a man who spends his life trying to make engines perform better, the G35 powertrain does everything Yeoman wants from an engine.

“It’s a pleasure to drive because you can use the torque,” he says. “It’s so effortless to drive, that’s what I enjoy about it. You don’t have to work at it at all, it's broad range of torque, makes it a beautiful car to drive. Very quiet, refined and returns good fuel economy.

“It’s the first time I’ve matched fuel-economy figures [with the manufacturer’s official claim] ... I was amazed because usually those figures are very often only achievable in ideal conditions.”

Mazda claims the G35 Mazda6 will return 7.6 l/100km of driving on the combined cycle and, while the average driver might not keep a particularly close eye on those claimed consumption figures, Yeoman absolutely does, and he’s consistently impressed with the results he achieves.

Not surprisingly, given his line of work, when Mazda introduced a enhancements to the 2.5-litre engine’s performance and drivability a few years ago, Yeoman immediately noticed the difference.

Mazda improved the responsiveness of the engine and the gear shifts for a more linear power delivery, resulting in a more enjoyable drive. That kind of attention to detail is something Yeoman appreciates, which is why he lets his local Mazda dealer handle all the servicing, even though he could do it himself. Which is a bit like a chef letting someone else cook for them.

“I get my car serviced at my local Mazda dealer, people who know me laugh at that, but I do,” he admits. “Because even in our last car we got that performance upgrade before it was announced. That’s how much you can notice the difference. It was good before, but in the new car it’s just… beautiful. Faster on the upshifts and more grunt down low… they’ve just refined it further. The car is far more polished.”

Another reason Yeoman is happy to let his local Mazda dealer look after his car is because of the way they’ve treated him over the years, as he says, “Mazda does a lot behind the scenes” to ensure he remains a happy owner.

Johannes Chuah, 43, Perth

To say Johannes Chuah is a Mazda6 fan is an outrageous, almost offensive understatement. He’s currently driving his third Mazda6, an Atenza wagon, which followed on from his second-generation GH liftback model and his original, first-generation MPS sedan.

Incredibly, he almost missed out on discovering the joy of driving the Mazda6. “I’ve always liked sedans,” he says. “The Mazda wasn’t my first preference, I wanted a Subaru Liberty B-Spec, but I cross-checked it against the Mazda6 MPS, because it was new at the time, and it ticked all the boxes. So I bought that instead, I drove it for 10 years and just fell in love with it.”

He hasn’t looked back since and remains a staunch sedan and wagon fan, despite the global shift towards SUVs.

“Through my work I drove every type of SUV there is. I had a CX-9 as a work car and I loved the engine, but I just wished it handled like a sedan,” he said.

Fortunately for Johannes, Mazda installed the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Mazda6, which is why he decided to upgrade to his current 6. And it’s also one of the many and varied reasons why he’ll keep buying the Mazda6.

“As long as they keep making them, I’ll keep buying them,” he says.

Jude Soyza, 49, Melbourne

Jude Soyza wasn’t looking for a Mazda6, but when he found one, he was immediately won over by the style, practicality and handling of his 2009 Mazda6 Luxury Sport hatch.

“I’ve been swapping between Mazda and Ford for my daily drivers for the last 20 years,” he explains. “About four years ago I went looking for something different for my daily. I wasn’t looking for a Mazda6, but I was looking at the hatch, something that looks like a sedan but has a hatch-style liftback.

“I looked at an Audi, but that was out of my price range so I looked at the Mazda6 and really liked it. It’s such a good looking car, I love the front end of it.”

Jude praises the reliability and performance of the engine and, like so many Mazda6 owners, appreciates the handling benefits the lower, lighter body offers compared to an SUV. Not that the Mazda6, particularly with the liftback rear design, isn’t practical.

“The hatchback is great, it’s so big you can fit a washing machine in it - I know that because I have,” he says.

Soyza is so impressed with his Mazda6 that when the time comes for a new car, this one won’t be sold.

“My son, who’s 24, I think he wants it,” he explains. “So if I move on, I think it will be staying in the family.”

With the added choice and array of small to large SUVs in the domestic market traditional sedan and wagon customers are spoiled for choice in Australia. Yeoman remains an advocate for both sedans and station wagons though.

As someone who appreciates both performance and the dynamic involvement that the likes Mazda6 sedan or wagon offers he naturally prefers vehicles that enjoy a lower centre of gravity. Essentially, the taller a vehicle is, the higher off the ground its centre of gravity, or roll centre. Generally speaking vehicles that sit lower to the ground – like a Mazda MX-5  – feel more planted and  better dynamically than their taller, often heavier counterparts.

Larger cars, traditionally exhibit  more body roll than sedans, or roadsters, due to this higher weight and height.

“My Mazda wagon is just a pleasure to drive, whereas I feel SUVs are generally just not as dynamic. The wagons and sedans are what I grew up with, and I just like to drive them,” Yeoman explains.

“People have lost the art of how enjoyable a car it is to drive, because in Melbourne there are just speed cameras everywhere at the moment, so you’re just driving for a different reason, often commuting in traffic or  just transport.

“But when we go on a road trip I just love to drive, and the Mazda does that really well while offering me both frugal fuel economy and good power.”

So while Mazda keeps building engines like the one in his Mazda6 G35, Yeoman will be behind the wheel of plenty more Mazdas to come.