Feline Fantasy

I've always loved wagons. I can't remember where the fascination started, but I do know that when asked why I fancy them, I always answer that they have a swagger I can't put my finger on.

While many people in Asia and North America perceive wagons to be a soccer mom's car, it's the complete opposite in Europe. Over there, many of their local brands capitalize on performance oriented wagons, and that's where cars like the sublime BMW M5 Touring or the mighty Audi RS6 Avant share mythical tales of blasting through the de-restricted Autobahn at 320 km/h. That doesn't sound very much like your mom's car now, does it?

Apart from the sheer speed and pace of some superwagons, there's the design as well. Some cars don't look as good in sedan form as they do in wagon form. Take for the instance the Audi A6. It is by no means an ugly car, but once you've seen the wagon, you can't unsee it - and I mean it in the best possible way. The Asians are slowly getting the drift. Look at Subaru with the Levorg. It is strictly a wagon only and it is one of the best looking cars on our roads.

"It just gives you a sense that today, you aren't a peasant like everybody else."

A great wagon for me, apart from its practicality, has to look prettier than its sedan counterpart. This is why I'm iffy about the Touring models of BMW. They're good looking wagons, however, my eyes think that they're always better in sedan form. This is exactly how I feel about the Mazda 6.

The sedan is so perfectly gorgeous, it almost looks like it was penned by Aston Martin. The sweeping lines from the front fascia all the way to its slender rear are done so perfectly, that it would be sacrilegious to even touch it, and I was right - until I saw it in the flesh. Mama Mia!

Engineer a feeling.

It is every bit as stunning as the sedan, and then some. Sprinkle a dash more character and three drops of flair, then what you get is a very individualistic automobile. It just gives you a sense that today you aren't a peasant like everybody else. It is a genuine head-turner and the beauty trickles down to the interior as well. There are swathes of black and brown leather that emulate a gentleman's club, the seats are as brilliant as ever, and irrelevantly for me, the boot space is up by some amount of liters. Go check their website for more details, because frankly, I was too busy ogling at the car. Just know that things will fit in the boot.

The infotainment dial now has a high resolution colored display and the head-up display now gets a crisp white font. Thank goodness they got rid of that awful, light green display that looked like it came straight out of a SEGA Genesis game. These small things significantly add to the experience in the way little bits of fish roe complete a Maki . It's a wonderful place to be in and you can share it with four more adults. If you have annoying and messy kids, just throw them in the boot. There's more than enough space to head out for a weekend getaway and it's got a banging Bose stereo system. What else could you possibly need?

Be gorgeous inside, too.

The wagon drives just as well as the sedan. If anything, the extended rear may have only perfected the balance of the car. It glides over bumps and hugs each corner with almost German levels of precision - and that's really what I love about Mazda. They never forget to keep the driver at the heart of the driving experience. The handling bit has been improved through what Mazda like to call G-Vectoring Control. It's a system that alters throttle inputs and sends power to the tire that needs it the most. This effectively reduces steering corrections and keeps the car as flat and as balanced at possible. 

It's quite interesting how they've managed to focus on vehicle dynamics while capitalizing on efficiency. They've developed SkyActiv technology for fuel efficiency, and they did so without being lazy. By lazy, I mean they didn't throw in the Valium of all transmissions - you know, the CVT. As a matter of fact, SkyActiv Drive offers the efficiency of a CVT, if there is such a thing, but with the responsiveness of a dual-clutch transmission - without the jerkiness. Dynamically, this car is the best in its class. The competition isn't even remotely close. The paddle shifters aren't there for aesthetics. They actually really work and they're quick too. 

"I will sell anything and everything just to buy one."

My one and only qualm with the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon is that the powertrain can be a bit underwhelming at times. It doesn't have the zoom-zoom quality I'm looking for. It isn't slow, but the chassis is so well-sorted that adding some horsepower wouldn't hurt. The real answer to this issue is the SkyActiv-D powertrain. It is perfection.

If they could throw it in their wagons that are to come to the Philippines, I will sell anything and everything just to buy one. Really, it is the powertrain to have, and obviously, this is the wagon to have. It is dynamic as it is pleasing to the eye. It just needs the diesel power plant, and believe me, that engine has all the "zoom-zoom" you'll ever need. 

Grace and energy.

2017 Mazda 6 2.5 Sport Wagon SkyActiv-G

Engine: 2,488 cc, DOHC 16V, Inline-4, Naturally Aspirated
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 184 bhp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 251 Nm @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Automatic SkyActiv Drive with Paddle Shifters, FWD
0-100 km/h: 8.4 seconds
Top Speed: 220 km/h
Fuel Economy: 8.1 km/L Overall
Price: PHP1,845,000
+: Gorgeous, smooth, comfortable, and techy
-: Needs the diesel engine
Verdict: A stunning car in every aspect that falls short in its powertrain
Rating: 9.5/10

Ex-Automotive Executive

Instagram: @enzoteodoro