Mazda believes it can overcome the trend for fleet sales and hatchbacks to dominate the family-car class when the new 6, revealed at the Moscow show, comes to the UK next year.
The car on display is an elegant four-door saloon, the second to be built around the Japanese company’s fuel-saving SKYACTIV technology and Kodo (which translates as ‘soul of motion’) design philosophy.
The Mazda6 has always had a stronger retail market presence than most rivals: fleet sales have traditionally run at around 60 per cent compared to the 79 per cent for the sector as a whole in the UK.
But it is the decision to focus on a saloon, and an estate to be revealed at the Paris show in a month’s time, which might raise eyebrows among the competition. While the rival Volkswagen Passat has not been available as a hatchback for decades, it has been one of the few exceptions which proves the rule in this class.
However, Mazda is convinced that the new 6’s design and its more upmarket interior, which elevates it closer to the compact premium cars which have been making inroads at the expense of traditional saloons, will make it particularly appealing.
Its SKYACTIV technology, which encompasses everything from new architecture and powertrains to reduced weight, will also present a compelling business case to company user-choosers, the company insists.
The new 6 will be powered by the 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines recently introduced on the CX-5 crossover, the first SKYACTIV model, with CO2 emissions from 105g/km. All engines will meet 2014 emissions regulations and have stop-start.
The new 6 is the first car with Mazda’s new i-ELOOP energy recovery system. This is said to improve fuel economy by up to 10 per cent. It replaces a conventional battery with a more expensive but more efficient capacitor which can store enough energy to run the car’s electrical systems for as much as three minutes, and all within seconds.
The new 6 is considerably bigger than the model it replaces, putting it closer to a BMW 5 Series in length, but it weighs slightly less.