Mazda MX-6 (1992 - 1998)
MODELS COVERED: (2 dr coupe 2.5 petrol [2.5i V6])
MX-6 is not a car to stir passionate debate amongst car enthusiasts. It does nothing poorly, quite a lot well and had a relatively low-key existence. It never received the adulation lavished on the MX-5, or the engineering novelties of the MX-3 V6. In a crowded corner of the marketplace, the MX-6 suffered at the hands of more attention-seeking competitors such as the Vauxhall
Probe and latterly the Fiat
Despite this, the MX-6 has some seductive qualities. The engine suits the cars nature perfectly, allowing languid cruising and then should the feeling take you, a firm accelerative punch. Its not the most characterful V6 around, but then the MX-6 isnt the most charismatic car. Its understated, elegant and capable and is starting to look like an interesting used buy.
To get an idea of the MX-6s appeal, remember that the Ford
Probe shared much of its mechanicals, both being assembled at Flat Rock, Michigan. In many ways, the Probes successor, the Ford Cougar is a more modern interpretation of the MX-6 philosophy; mature and relaxed without trying too hard. The MX-6 always had a spacious, if blandly styled, interior that boasted good rear legroom, but the swoopy roof profile meant it was tight for taller occupants. Access into the back is good due to a sliding passenger seat
, but annoyingly, once slid, that seat has to be readjusted for rake, something that will drive the front seat passenger mad.
also possessed a boot far larger than any coupe had the right to. Four golf bags could squeeze into the cavernous void, but a high loading sill meant youd need to lift. The fascia is boldly swooping although finished in cheap plastics a problem common to all early nineties Mazdas. Cost has been taken out of the most important parts of the car, namely the bits you touch.
The seats arent overly supportive and the steering wheel and gearknob feel insubstantial to the hand. The pedals also feel slightly lightweight. This is a shame, as the MX-6 is a genuinely pleasant car to drive. For a few pounds more, it could have created a far more favourable impression.
The MX-6 sold steadily during the first four years of its life with sales tailing off later on. Therefore, the late cars with leather interiors are relatively rare, as buyers were seduced by newer coupes such as the Fiat
Coupe or Alfa Romeo
GTV. One advantage of buying an MX-6 is that their exterior appearance changed very little during their lifetime. Buy a 1992 car, put a private plate on it and few would know what year it was.
Bidding for an early car such as this opens at around £1,200 for a 1992 J-plate edition. A 1995 M-registered car will retail for around £1,900, or £3,300 for a 1997 P-plated model. The final models were on 1997 R-plates and should be worth no more than £3,550. Automatic models are worth £200-£300 more, however.
Insurance is Group 16 for all MX-6s.
The MX-6 is largely reliable, but there are a few minor niggles worth looking into. The air-conditioning system is not the most durable and has been known to leak into the passenger footwell. Check the carpet for signs of mould or damp and blast the air-con up to full on a test drive. It should blow icy-cool in less than thirty seconds.
Also check the electrics. The windows and sunroof are prone to some rather strange clunking sounds and uneven opening rates. Also check the front tyres for uneven wear rates. Paint quality is also sometimes not the greatest.
Close inspection may reveal an orange peel effect. Unfortunately this is common to most cars, although the reds can suffer from fading; eventually going quite flat. Mechanically the MX-6 has no known faults, but its worth getting a full service history just to make sure. Its a relatively complex V6 engine youre buying here, not a straightforward proposition should something go pop.
As with all Mazda sports models, check the condition of the exhaust. The replacement isnt cheap.
(approx. based on 2.5i V6) The MX-6 shouldnt cost the earth to buy and run if well looked after. Parts prices arent cheap, although they arent too different from some of the Mazdas more alluring rivals.
A clutch assembly will cost around £160, while a new radiator is a reasonable £100. An alternator weighs in at around £260, while a starter motor retails for about £200. Should one go bang, those sleek headlamps are over £210 a pop, whilst a blowing exhaust will present you with a choice. £5 for a repair bandage or £700 for a new system? Make sure the person youre buying from had the funds to opt for the latter.
The MX-6 is difficult to fault in this respect. Only those who are after a fire-breathing, tail-out racer will be disappointed with the way the Mazda can despatch a series of bends. The 2.5-litre engine feels gutsy and responsive with a good balance of low-down torque and high-end power.
In many respects it feels like an even larger unit. The 165bhp it produces are available via a broad power band, and the five-speed manual gearbox is a peach. The four-speed automatic is not bad either, but really allows you to explore just one aspect of the MX-6s personality. The fully-independent strut-type suspension is compliant and handles bumps and ridges well.
The ride is firm, but not pure-sports firm, and quite comfortable on for the usual pock-marked British B roads. Fuel consumption is reasonably good, with an average return of just over 28mpg.
If you want a mature and accomplished coupe thats reliable and practical, you cant buy better than a Mazda MX-6. It has a blend of qualities that wont appeal to the go-faster brigade, but which ensured that it sold in steady numbers. The post-1994 models are the best bet, as the interiors look a bit brighter, but in truth any well looked-after MX-6 is good news. As a market proposition, the mechanically similar Ford Probe V6 offers many of the Mazdas qualities for far less money, though many dislike the image.
Those who do opt for the MX-6 wont regret their choice.