How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

Reader test: Mazda6

2009-08-04 09:14

Salatiso Mdeni

I would love to know what is it about first loves that makes them so hard to forget.

Ask any man, no matter the age, about the first time he saw her and he’ll tell you the time, place and date.  

I’m no different, the first time I fell in love was in 2003 when I saw a petite brunette with all the right curves and an attitude to match. Sadly, though, the Mazda RX 8 was a little out of my league but I vowed to marry in the family.

Three years later the Mazda 6 Sporty Lux caught my eye. The sporty design and somewhat boy-racer type boot spoiler wooed me. Aesthetically, the car was a leap from the previous 626 it replaced, which was bland and forgettable.

For its size, the car is quite sporty and even on the inside the exterior dimensions can be felt.

The boot is probably one of the biggest in its class while the rear legroom adequate. The engine is a 2.3-litre mated with a four-speed auto' gearbox with a manual option.

Well specced, but...

With 122 kW and torque figures I can’t remember (I was 24 years so power took precedence) the car was competent on long distance trips especially considering that cruising could be automated from 30km/h.

The Mazda is well specced with automatic air conditioner, six CD shuttle, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls and leather-wrapped seats with the front being electrically adjustable.

Safety doesn’t take a backseat either because there are loads of airbags, full ABS and stability control.

It’s a pity however because, while capable, the car doesn’t inspire confidence for spirited driving since the seats lack support and while the ride quality is not too bad, there is a bit of body roll on sharp corners, especially if taken with gusto.

For its price the car is quite competitive but you really do get what you pay for because it’s apparent that built quality is not "bespoke".

Not again, thanks

It was quite annoying to note the absence of auto locking doors and heated mirrors. The gearbox is not efficient and is a performance deterrent because changes even in manual mode are not responsive and the four-speed makes for terrible consumption - around Johannesburg I averaged between 420 and 520 km on a full tank.

The worst thing about Mazda is the customer service; enough to deter me from any future FMC brand purchases.

The service and turnaround time for resolution is zero to non-existent if something goes wrong.

The smallest of my problems was when a CD player just stopped working and after notifying a dealer (my car still had a warranty) I waited more than three months in vain.

For a first car, the Mazda6 was not bad but after almost two years I would not recommend it.

Sadly car ownership is not only about only the machine but also knowing that should something go wrong you’ll be treated like a valued customer.

Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.