Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First Drive; Es Wheels

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First Drive; Es Wheels

Article excerpt

Byline: SUE BAKER

Mazda 6

MAZDA is at a crossroads. The 82-yearold Japanese car company has the world's best-selling sports car ever in the MX-5 (a feat now recognised by The Guinness Book of Records) but in recent years has been known for little else, despite having five other models in its range.

This is the car with which Mazda aims to rejuvenate its image and put itself back on the map of mainstream motoring. It effectively replaces the old Mazda 626, but, in recognition of the quantum leap the new car makes over its predecessor, it is renamed as the Mazda 6.

With a [pound]13,495 starting price for the basic 1.8-litre S version, the Mazda 6 is a keenly priced competitor for the likes of Ford's Mondeo, the latest Vauxhall Vectra, Volkswagen Passat and Nissan Primera. Against such tough competition, the Mazda acquits itself well.

Handsome, with a clean, curved wedge styling that gives it a strong visual presence, the 6's interior is functional and nicely co-ordinated, with high-quality fittings and most of the controls integrated in a T-shaped seamless panel down the centre of the dash. …

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