The updated Mazda 6’s external enhancements revealed in LA recently are just the tip of the iceberg compared to what’s been changed in the cabin and under the body.
Not only is there a new interior with more luxurious appointments, but the chassis has been upgraded with stiffer sheet metal in the rear wheel wells, plus extra bracing and thicker trailing link mounts for the rear suspension. Mazda have also rigidly mounted the steering rack to the chassis to improve feel for the driver.
This all follows the changes applied to the existing Mazda 6 top trim levels in 2016, which provided extra sound insulation and the steering stabilisation system called ‘G-Vectoring Control’. These elements trickled down from the acclaimed second-generation CX-9 – which was not actually available in Japan, only overseas – and subsequently appeared in the new CX-5.
These upgrades are all aimed at improving refinement, ride comfort and perceived quality, without compromising the dynamics that modern Mazda cars have become known for.
Refinement and comfort have been two factors in common criticisms of Mazda passenger models since the weight-saving focus, ‘Gram Strategy’, was introduced in 2002 with the first Mazda 6.
Speaking with media at the LA show, Mazda US boss Masahiro Moro explained that positioning Mazda as a more premium brand is vital to improving the Japanese multinational’s success in the USA, where it is still a relatively minor player compared to the likes of Toyota and Honda.
Moro-san clarified that Mazda isn’t looking to target premium brands like Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus, but rather aiming to be seen as a cut above mainstream players.
The Mazda US boss also explained that the brand most often cross-shopped with Mazda models in the US is Honda, which forged a strong reputation for being the premium mainstream brand during the 1980s and 1990s.
Honda can list the Civic, CR-V and Accord among the top ten best-selling cars in the USA. Competitor Toyota has the Camry, Corolla and RAV4 also sharing the top six positions beneath the perennially popular Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and RAM Trucks – all perpetual sales heroes. Mazda, on the other hand, has barely a two per cent market share in the US.
The updated Mazda 6 is due in UK showrooms towards the second half of 2018.
Content Marketing Executive at Motors.co.uk
December 15, 2017