Same Same But So Different - Two Full Sized Sedans

14 Sep 2016

We tested the Mazda 6 and the Subaru Legacy a while back, both were extraordinarily good in terms of size and the comfort that they brought. The full-sized sedan is the go-to car for those who have always wanted something with more space and presence, without breaking the bank by not going full on for premium makes.

There are the common brands that you see on our roads, the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. We decided instead to look at two lesser seen sedans, which bring value, and are actually able to put a smile on your face.

Mazda’s original 6 was a hit with the Singapore market when it was launched back in 2002. The third generation car is all grown-up. Dimensions-wise, the car has gone bigger. Interior space has improved overall and build quality has gone up a few notches too.

Subaru has also seen it’s car grow over the years. The previous model was extremely popular with petrol heads who did not want to be seen in the “boy racer” WRX, but a more grown up “man racer”, more cultured car which offered space and comfort for the family.

The Mazda 6, in it’s first generation also had the grown-up “boy to man racer” thing going on. But that and apart from being full sized sedans, the parallels end. Both cars have taken different directions in their approach for the same market share.

The Legacy sits on a long 2,750mm wheelbase, while the 6 sits on a longer 2830mm wheelbase. The bigger Mazda is overall a longer car too at 4,865mm, 70mm longer than the Legacy. The added wheelbase would also aid in ride comfort.

Exterior-wise, the Mazda has taken on a more sporty design, based on their Kodo Design Philosophy, with more streamlined looks and fluid lines. The Legacy on the other hand has opted for a more upright and slightly chunky executive-looking design up front. While the Mazda seems to want to attract the middle-aged, driver, Subaru on the other hand, looks to a more mature market.

The interior passenger space wise, both cars are near identical in accommodation. The Mazda though, is the car with the longer wheelbase. Legroom for front passengers is a generous 1,072mm, a small 18mm less than the Legacy. The rear passengers get 961mm, 7mm less than the Legacy. Width-wise, both cars are the same.

Boot-wise, the Legacy scores better with 6 litres more of room. Both makes have done the wise thing of keeping the boot opening at the lip of the rear bumper, allowing for easy access. Both cars would happily take in the set of golf clubs and the odd stroller, though their boots are not the largest in class.

While both cars come with naturally aspirated 2.5 litre four-cylinder engines, the Mazda 6 uses an in-line format, pushing 189bhp at 5,700rpm. Maximum torque of 256Nm can be reached at 3,250rpm. Mated to a 6 speed automatic, the 6 reaches 100km/h in 8.2 seconds, and delivers a combined consumption at 15.4km/L. The Legacy however delivers the goods using their trademark horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine, mated to a CVT transmission. Power is a lower 175bhp at 5,800rpm, and torque is 235Nm at 4,000rpm. Century sprint timing for the “Scooby” is 9.6 seconds, over a second more than Mazda’s more sporty 6. Fuel consumption is also a lower combined 13km/L.

Power delivery for both the cars are quite different, where the Mazda has a “real” 6-speed SkyActiv automatic, delivering power to the front wheels. Subaru on the other hand uses their CVT with 6 virtual speeds to do the power transfer from their engine to all four wheels, with a torque split of 40% to the front and 60% to the rear wheels. The CVT transmission has been programmed to offer simulated stepped gearing, to mimic how a conventional transmission would behave, which theoretically keeps the Legacy within its optimum power band. The downside is that it does change an otherwise potentially smooth ride the car could provide. Reason for this, consumers tend to have the need to feel the gears change, hence the virtual stepping.

While the all-wheel drive does provide some extent of added stability, especially on wet roads and around the bends. The boxer engine too does add to the overall stability of the car. The benefits are not without the pitfalls of higher fuel consumption and slight power loss. The front-drive Mazda performs almost as well around the corners, but benefits from the additional power and torque, when leaving the bends. Both car suspensions come across as firm, but never to the side of feeling uncomfortable.

As of 2016, Subaru has also updated their car with the Subaru Rear View Detection for safer lane changes and warns of cars potentially crossing its path when reversing. Mazda features similar Blind Spot Monitoring, which does the same job.

Design wise, both cars do look good overall, but the Mazda does win us over with its sleek frontal design and beautiful silhouette it casts.

While both cars have their advantages, and the Legacy’s boxer engine does provide a degree of fun to the drive (and there are those who will definitely appreciate how the Legacy handles), we would pick out the Mazda 6 as the better of the two, based on the more efficient way it delivers its power in the real world. The real world being that we would want to stretch our dollar a little more, and with better fuel consumption figures, you will be able to get more mileage per tank. While All Wheel Drive gives the advantage of additional control over wet conditions, the bulk of the time, you’d be rolling along fine on our roads, and even around twisty corners, the front-drive Mazda would not have trouble hugging the bends.

Learn more about what we had to say about the Legacy here, and the Mazda 6 here.

For convenience, learn more about how much per month each of these great cars will cost you here.

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Engine Capacity 2488cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 13.1:1
Bore x Stroke (89.00 x 100)mm
Power 192bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 256Nm @ 3250rpm
Power to Weight 126.9 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 221 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 15.4 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4865 x 1840 x 1450) mm
Wheelbase 2830 mm
Turning Circle 10.2 metres
Kerb Weight 1513 kg
Boot Capacity 438 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 62 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs


Engine Capacity 2498cc
Engine Type Flat 4
Power 175bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 235Nm @ 4000rpm


Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Drive Type F4
Steering Electric


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4795 x 1840 x 1500) mm
Wheelbase 2750 mm


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs