Mazda 6 - Another Good Mazda from one of the Very Few Car Companies

The Mazda 6 is the Mazda's handsome, commodious, sharp-driving. And that’s the problem. Biggish saloons/estates without German badges just aren’t in demand now they’ve been squeezed out by crossovers, more affordable SUVs and the pesky Germans themselves undercutting the masses. Ford used to sell over 100,000 Mondeos in Britain alone annually. Nowadays the whole segment struggles to match that, but Mazda make its unsung hero.

This Mazda6, which starts at £23,195, has been on sale since 2012, and the car you see here wears the latest 2018 facelift, which includes the UK debut of the cylinder deactivation-equipped SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre 191bhp petrol engine. It’s a bold move from Mazda to keep on with the naturally aspirated fight, especially with a hefty 2.5-litre, but we applaud its tenacity.

The new 191bhp 2.5-litre is only available with an automatic gearbox, but the entry-level 143bhp 2.0-litre  petrol and 148bhp or 181bhp 2.2-litre diesel get a manual as standard. All are available in Saloon or Tourer body styles. The top-tier pairing is nice enough, but the lazy automatic gearbox and comparatively unrefined engine means we’d recommend another model in the line-up.

There are four trims, from SE-L Nav+ and LUX Nav+, into Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+, depending on what engine you choose. All specs get the 8in colour touchscreen infotainment, Bluetooth connectivity, lane-keep assist, privacy glass, parking sensors, heated wing mirrors, heated seats… we could go on. The list is impressive and pushes Mazda much closer to the premium brands that traditionally steal the limelight in this sector.

We’d probably recommend going for the manual 2.2-litre diesel, especially in the load-lugging Tourer. Going diesel doesn’t affect performance much – its 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds is only 0.4 seconds slower than the big petrol.

Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+ trims get 19in alloys as standard. These look good, sure, but do make a noticeable difference to road noise, which is intrusive in the cabin. Overall ride comfort is smooth, though – it absorbs bumps well and cruises along motorways with ease, especially if you make the most of the Mazda Radar Cruise Control, which works particularly well.

Other comfort features include heated seats (and cooling with the top trim) and a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, electric seats and privacy class.

Tech on all trims includes an 8in touchscreen with sat nav, Bluetooth and DAB (but no Apple CarPlay), reversing sensors, blind spot monitoring, heated wing mirrors, rain-sensing front wipers and lane-keep assist. Opting for the GT Sport Nav+ brings a head-up display on the windscreen, which is very handy, featuring speed limits, nav directions and information about the cruise control or speed limiter.

Fuel consumption might be a worry with these heftier petrol engines, but Mazda has done well to keep efficiency in check – the top spec 191bhp petrol will still deliver 41.5mpg combined, while our preferred manual diesel can manage 58.6mpg. 

CO2 emissions creep up a bit, though. 126g/km from the 2.2-litre diesel plays 156g/km from the petrol, making a noticeable difference to your company car tax bill. There’s a three-year (or 60,000 mile) warranty, with extended cover available to purchase, but Mazdas are reliable enough that you ought not to worry.

Storage is good throughout, with the Tourer featuring roof rails as standard for roof boxes or surfboard fun. With seats up, the spacious boot can swallow 522 litres of stuff (40 more than the saloon), but upping to 1,664 litres with the rear seats folded. There are plenty of smart cubbies in the front, but still no obvious space to prop your phone up.

It’s worth upgrading to the Sport Nav+ trim for the keyless entry and Bose surround sound – even if you do have to contend with the 19in wheels – but the GT Sport Nav+ is a great option if the 360deg camera and head-up display are to your liking.

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