In 2001, Mazda replaced the ageing but practical Mazda 626 (Capella) with the more refined, luxurious and faster Mazda 6 also called Atenza in Japan. Toyota did the same by introducing the Premio, also called Avensis in Europe. Mazda 6 offered petrol engines with 1.8, 2.0, 2.3 and 3.0 litre V6 capacity, while Premio offered the fuel efficient 1.5, 1.8 and 2.0 litre engines. The 2.0 litre engines were very popular with both models.
Mazda 6’s LFVE MZR and Premio’s 1AZ FSE 2.0 litre petrol engines have very efficient technology: electronic fuel injection, 16 valve Variable valve timing and Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC). The nimble Toyota Premio is faster and more fuel efficient than the Mazda 6. Premio uses its superior engine output of 110 Kilo Watts/148 horse power@5700rpm to deliver faster acceleration from 0-100 KPH in 9.4 seconds.
Mazda 6 on the other hand meets the challenge with a slightly less engine output of 104 Kilo Watts/141 horse power@6,000rpm. No wonder it takes 11.4 seconds to accelerate from 0-100 KPH. Toyota Premio combines its precision Direct four (D4) fuel delivery technology and superior power output at lower engine revolution curves to deliver better fuel economy of 15.15 KM/ Litre. On the other hand, Mazda 6’s less efficient (14.5KM/Litre) multi point fuel injection (MPI) engine delivers power at fuel costly higher rev curves.
The Mazda 6 and Premio are equally a joy to drive because of their good road manners and excellent body control. Both rivals have in built front independent suspension with Mcpherson struts and coils while the rear axles are kitted with control blade multi links, coil springs and dampers.
Mazda 6’s wider, longer and lower profile gives it a firmer grip of the tarmac during high speed manoeuvres with less coefficient of drag or wind resistance. On the other hand, Premio has a firm and responsive steering while Mazda 6 feels light and unsettled during extreme steering. Both cars can traverse our suburban roads with their reasonable ground clearance of 150mm.
Comfort, style and safety
The Mazda 6’s stylish and sleek shape is a winner from the start. Its long and elegant curves blend well with its beautiful lights. The Premio plays second fiddle, when parked next to the Mazda 6. Mazda will be any driver’s pick when they sit inside and enjoy the supportive and extremely comfortable seats. Compared to Premio, Mazda 6 is roomier.
Although Premio offers bur walnut wood impression, its interior still feels plasticky and not the real deal. Both cars offer CD music, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors. Premio’s boot space is slightly bigger but passenger space is a little cramped up. Mazda raises the safety stakes with additional frontal, rear and side impact protection in the body structure. This earns it the four star NCAP crash rating.
Both Mazda 6 and Premio have passive driver aids to enhance safety such as Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake force distribution (EBD), Traction control. Front dual airbags, side airbags (for the Mazda) and child seat harness and rear door child lock facility are also available.
Reliability and resale value
Premio rides on the popularity of Toyota brand on the Ugandan market because of easier access to quality new and used spare parts. Mazda is a reputable brand that is gradually building its market with a few dealers for new or used spare parts.
The engine technology in both cars requires diligent routine maintenance with high grade lubricants and genuine parts. Premio will have a better resale value because of the strong brand and parts situation. However, its interior centre console, window switches and side mirror glasses are a target for petty thieves and house burglars.
Mazda 6 has better handling, design, styling, comfort and safety record. Premio has slightly better engine performance and fuel economy, good safety features, better availability of parts and resale value. The two honchos are equally attractive buys with different appeals.