The Mazda MX6 was launched in the Australian market in 1991. It was hailed as the successor to the popular 626 series and, under the bonnet at least, the first generation was identical to its predecessor. Later generations were enhanced both in performance and in looks, and although the early �90s were not generally renowned for their dynamic car styling, many continue to regard the MX6 fondly for its sympathetic styling and sleek lines.
The MX6 ended up significantly larger than its predecessor, sitting longer, wider and lower. Despite its greater size, it remained a lightweight and sporty coupe and benefitted from the addition of a rear spoiler both to enhance the aesthetics and to keep it stuck firmly to the road at speed.
The MX6 was manufactured and assembled by Mazda in Japan for export to Australia, Asia, and Europe. It comes with plenty of kit, especially in its later incarnation, and has earned itself a reputation for its strong build quality and reliability.
Just one trim was available initially, complete with a 2.5-litre DOHC V6 engine, producing 121 kW at 5600 revs and 213 Nm of torque at 4800 revs. Other features on the early model included four-wheel steering, a sunroof, , and a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox. Later models included a 2-wheel steering option with various added extras.
The 4-wheel steering was one of the biggest selling points of the MX6 in its time, delivering an intelligent system that optimised the front/rear steering ratio according to several factors including road speed and the activity of the front wheels. The net result is more neutral handling at high speed, with superior cornering stability, better straight-line stability, and comfortable lane-changing manoeuvres. At low speeds the 4-wheel steering delivers improved responsiveness, a smaller turning circle, and excellent manoeuvrability in tight spaces.
The system works by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels when operating at low speeds, providing greater precision for parking and tight manoeuvres. At higher speeds both wheels work in tandem, providing better cornering, tighter lane changing, and enhanced stability on the straight. The turning angle is just five degrees, so barely discernible, but was held by Mazda to be the optimum for best results. A fail-safe safety feature is also inbuilt, locking the rear wheels straight in the event of any fault, leaving the car to function as a standard front-wheel steering model.
Four-wheel disc brakes and an ABS system mean that braking is strong and secure whatever the speed or road conditions. Driver airbags were introduced from 1994 onward, although they do not feature on earlier models. Safety overall is a strong feature of the MX6, and it has built itself an excellent record over the two decades it has been on the road.
The MX6 has long been a favourite for its ergonomic interior layout and comfortable driving position. It remains a good-looking car and is still sought after on the used car market. It looks and feels just the way a sporty coupe should and offers the trim, equipment, and options you would expect of a car of this type. Alloy wheels, front fog lamps, rear spoiler, central locking, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, and cruise control all help to make this a car to be driven and enjoyed.
The controls and dash are intuitive and easy to use and the interior is good looking with a quality feel. Second-generation upgrades in 1994 delivered new wheels and enhancements to the interior trim and steering wheel. The 4-wheel steering model also gained a sunroof and CD player, digital climate control, and optional leather upholstery, which became standard from 1996 until production was discontinued the following year.
The MX6�s main competition comes from the Hyundai coupe, which tends to retail a little lower, along with the Honda Prelude and Toyota Celica.
The Mazda MX6 has held its value well for its age. While this means it isn�t the least expensive car on the road, it does have a reputation for being one of the more reliable. Little seems to go wrong with the MX6, and when it does it is rarely serious or hugely costly. Fuel economy also stands up well against the competition.