Fleet News

Mazda6 2.3 Sport - 11,045 miles

Mazda

Review

AS the years roll by, the build quality of cars improves and it becomes more difficult for us poor old motoring hacks to present a balanced road test.

After all, the idea is to focus on the vehicle's good points, add in a few of its bad points and then tot up the total at the end, so to speak.

The quality of modern cars is now so good that, unless we suffer an actual breakdown (which is extremely rare), we are left to nit pick about minor annoyances.

The years roll by, the build quality of cars improves and it becomes more difficult for us poor old motoring hacks to present a balanced road test. After all, the idea is to focus on the vehicle's good points, add in a few of its bad points and then tot up the total at the end, so to speak.

The quality of modern cars is now so good that, unless we suffer an actual breakdown (which is extremely rare), we are left to nit pick about minor annoyances.

And then comes the Mazda6 – a car that has been showered with garlands since its launch. I've been driving our long-termer for two weeks now and I'm blowed if I can think of a single bad thing to say about it. It looks good, drives like a dream and has a cracking price too – what more could a fleet driver want?

Our 2.3 Sport version arrived last month to replace a 1.8 TS and while that car was lauded by all who drove it, this new faster variant is a whole different kettle of fish. The new car sports (pardon the pun) a rear spoiler that, while not appearing to serve any particular purpose, gives it a mean look.

Under the wheelarches go 17-inch alloys complete with low profile tyres and the dazzling blue paintwork makes the Mazda look as slick and stylish as anything you are likely to find for £17,995 on-the-road.

Inside, the sporting theme continues. Everything is either black or silver and the seats curve nicely round at the edges to stop the occupants rolling out on fast bends.

The list of standard goodies is impressive, especially bearing in mind that price. It comes with ABS and EBD, dynamic stability control, traction control, xenon headlights, six airbags and climate control, along with all the other stuff we take for granted nowadays, such as plip locking and electric windows.

But for me, as a great music lover, the icing on the cake must surely be the wonderful Bose sound system. Drivers with a penchant for speed could take a tip from me for driving heaven – purchase a copy of 'Surfing With The Alien' by Joe Satriani, crank up the volume to the max and find a great road.

The official combined fuel economy figure is 31 miles per gallon, but drivers with the aforementioned Satriani addition may find themselves struggling to achieve anywhere near that.

I have to admit rather shamefacedly that my personal tally is a measly 28.5 mpg. But the fact is any driver will want to explore the delights of this car to the full. It growls like a lion when you blip the throttle, flies like the wind when you floor it (0-62mph in nine seconds) and hugs like a grizzly bear when you hit a bend. Trevor Gelken

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £88 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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