Happy to take on the challenges of motorways or winding country lanes, the Mazda6 offers a host of class-leading features and specifications. Available in a choice of engine sizes, it certainly stands out in a crowded car park.
The goodLots of car for outlay
The badCompeting in a very competitive class
Mazda6 Saloon 184PS GT Sport Nav+
In an age where the executive car seems to be in decline with more and more buyers opting for higher-sided SUVs it’s reassuring to know there are still some excellent saloons out there and one of the best is the Mazda6.
With prices starting from a very competitive £23,195 and rising to £33,585 the Mazda6 is available in four-door saloon and five-door tourer guise, or as it’s more commonly known, the estate. Customers can also choose from a range of economical yet punchy diesel or petrol engines, along with manual or auto transmissions.
In fact, there are 25 models across four generously equipped trim levels called SE-L Nav+, SE-L LUX Nav+, Sport Nav+ and the new range-topping GT Sport Nav+.
The latest Mazda6 boasts a fresh new look with a redesigned grille featuring deeper mesh to help create a more muscular appearance. There are revised bumpers and new LED headlamps, along with a remodelled boot and more body-coloured areas.
Another feature new to the 2018 Mazda6 is the introduction of Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint which looks stunning and perfectly accentuates the car’s sporty profile and sleek streamlining.
Mazda has introduced a new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre petrol engine which debuts the company’s cylinder deactivation set-up. And the SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel engine benefits from a power increase, rising from 175PS to 184PS.
We tested the diesel-driven model in the new GT Sport Nav+ spec sporting the striking Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint, which is an £800 optional extra.
Our car, priced at £30,885, featured a six-speed manual gearbox (an auto version is available), and it could sprint from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and maxed out at 141mph. According to official figures, it delivers combined fuel economy of 60.1mpg with carbon emissions of 124g/km.
There have been numerous improvements within the car too with the introduction of more premium and elegant materials. For example, our car featured Nappa leather upholstery and Japanese Sen Wood trim inserts which gave it a truly premium feel
Creature comforts are plentiful and there have been a number of infotainment upgrades, including a larger eight-inch centre display screen positioned on top of the dashboard, along with a head-up display that projects information such as current speed and navigation directions direct onto the windscreen. The Mazda6 also features the company’s MZD-connect set-up which allows easy smartphone connection and a rotary controller dial that is used to access the many on-board systems.
Our GT Sport Nav+ model boasted a new seven-inch TFT display with colour dials in place of the more conventional gauges seen on the rest of the line-up.
In addition, there is a pitch perfect BOSE sound system, a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, and plenty more besides. But, on the downside there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
When it comes to performance and driving dynamics, the Mazda6 cannot fail to impress. The diesel engine is beautifully refined and offers all the power you could wish for. The acceleration through the manual gearbox was nicely timed and the car is very accomplished eating up the motorway miles which is exactly why this is such a popular fleet car.
But the Mazda6 is not just limited to clocking up the business miles – it’s great fun on the country lanes too where the road holding is ultra-grippy. The latest model features new fine-tuned suspension and a number of components have been upgraded so the latest Mazda6 delivers improved ride comfort while still maintaining the driver engagement that makes it such a fabulous car to drive.
And despite riding high on 19-inch wheels, our car coped well with poor road surfaces where the revised steering and suspension systems helped to iron out most unexpected bumps and dips along the way.
As far as comfort goes, the Mazda6 scores highly with thicker and more padded seats offering additional support. There is ample space for a couple of adults in the back of the car and the boot has a capacity of 480 litres. The Mazda6 Tourer can swallow between 506 litres and 1,648 litres with the rear seats dropped flat if you plan on transporting larger loads.
With a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, the Mazda6 is packed with systems to protect occupants and passengers alike, as well as help prevent accidents occurring in the first place. In fact, the latest Mazda6 has the widest range of advanced safety technologies seen on a Mazda to date with all models fitted with i-ACTIVESENSE technology including Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Advanced Smart City Brake Support and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. These are just a few of the long list of safety specifications found on the car.
All in all, the latest Mazda6 is the ultimate proof that there is life outside the onslaught of SUVs. It’s elegant, beautifully styled, great to drive and guaranteed to turn heads with that dazzling red paintwork.
Mazda6 2.2 Tourer 150PS Sport Nav
Creating a vehicle that boasts estate car practicality but doesn’t resemble an ugly and bulky, load-lugging machine can be quite a challenge, but Mazda has succeeded with its latest tourer model.
Despite offering a very versatile boot capacity of 522 litres, which is increased to a whopping 1,648 with the rears seats dropped flat, the five-door Mazda6 Tourer drives like a dynamic family hatchback and is remarkably economical along the way.
The car looks elegant from any approach with the likes of 19-inch alloys, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, silver roof rails, twin tailpipes, tinted windows and a striking grille adding to its appeal.
Step inside and the premium build quality is instantly noticeable thanks to chic leather upholstery, neat chrome trim and a soft-touch dashboard. There is a generous amount of on-board technology as standard, including a pitch perfect BOSE sound system complete with 11 speakers, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a reversing camera, powered and heated front seats, sat nav, dual-zone air conditioning and a head-up display.
The upmarket interior is beautifully designed and laid out with all controls and readouts perfectly positioned for ease of use, and a simple-to-operate rotary dial between the front seats is used to access the car’s infotainment and settings systems via the colour screen.
The cabin is extremely spacious with ample room for five adults and there are plenty of practical storage compartments throughout, such as a deep glovebox, convenient central bin, cup holders, trays and a drop-down sunglasses holder.
The range-topping Sport Nav test car was driven by a very frugal but powerful 2.2-litre 150PS diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The car can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and maxes out at 130mph. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.
Despite being perfect for an active family, the Mazda6 Tourer will tick all the boxes on a business driver’s wish-list. That’s because it eats up the motorway miles and seems to glide effortlessly in the process.
The acceleration through the gears is both smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap to make light work of overtaking at short notice. The efficient suspension irons out the many uneven road surfaces and the highly-effective insulation successfully blots out any outside noise.
In congested city centres the great all-round visibility is a plus-factor, as are the parking sensors and reversing camera. Then out on the faster country lanes and motorways the car is happy to crank up the power. The road-holding is assured and the steering nice and precise which means tight bends can be attacked with confidence.
The all-round driving experience is difficult to find fault with and despite clocking up more than 200 miles, the fuel gauge barely seemed to budge.
And when you factor in the notable list of top-notch safety specifications plus the asking price of £27,295, it’s easy to see why the Mazda6 Tourer is turning so many heads these days.
Mazda 6 (2015) – first drive
With the premium market firmly in its sights the Mazda6 has certainly raised the bar with its newly face-lifted Saloon and Estate line-up.
Prices start from £19,795 and with five trim levels to choose from – S, SE, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav – the freshly revamped Mazda6 has a new-look front end with a neatly designed upper grille along with light clusters that make the vehicle more distinctive especially at night time.
However the vast majority of this mid-life transformation can be discovered within the car itself thanks to a bold new instrument panel and enhanced equipment levels.
The centre console is more compact and the 7-inch colour screen is simple to navigate thanks to an updated multimedia commander dial.
The interior oozes premium quality and sophistication with upgraded materials especially on the range-topping Sport Nav edition.
However all models benefit from advanced sound proofing, a revised suspension system and an all-round revision to the on-board technology.
Other elements featured on the new Mazda6 include the likes of adaptive LED headlights, driver attention alert, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert that detects cars, pedestrians and cyclists and is a huge benefit when reversing out of a parking bay such as the local supermarket where visibility is often hindered by other vehicles.
The 28-strong line-up is available with a choice of nine diesel and seven petrol Saloon powertrains, plus nine diesel and three petrol Tourer versions with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
We put two models through their paces on lengthy road routes that incorporated congested town centres, fast-moving dual carriageways and winding country lanes and the results were pretty impressive.
First up was the 2.2-litre diesel 150PS Sport Nav Tourer priced at £27,735 with £540 optional extras. This model can reach from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds, has a top speed of 130mph and according to official figures can achieve a combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.
The first thing to mention is how smart the car looks – those subtle design tweaks have increased its sharp styling and it looks athletic and dynamic from any approach.
The interior is pure class and the leather seats offer premium comfort with a host of techno treats at your fingertips. The revised controller dial is easy to operate which makes navigating the many systems simple. And the addition of a head-up display offers useful information such as speed and sat nav directions without taking your eyes off the road ahead.
All occupants benefit from excellent levels of comfort and there is ample room for three adults in the back. The boot can accommodate 522 litres of luggage. However a lever quickly releases the split-folding rear seats when extra load space is needed.
With a slick six-speed manual transmission, acceleration through the gears was both smooth and responsive with plenty of power on tap when needed. The ride was exceptionally good and the road-holding was flawless meaning tight bends could be attacked with confidence.
There was still quite a lot of road surface noise, especially at higher speeds, but that said; the car was fitted with 19-inch wheels which clearly contributed to the volume factor.
Noise levels aside, it was difficult to find anything to criticise about the new Mazda6 which has premium quality at an acceptable price written all over it.
The second test car was the 2.0-litre petrol 145PS SE-L Nav Saloon model, priced at £22,155 including £660 for Soul Red metallic paint.
This model can reach 62mph from a standing start in 9.5 seconds and tops out at 129mph. It can deliver 51.4mpg on a combined run with emissions of 129g/km.
Although this car was not as richly equipped as the first model and the likes of leather electrically-adjustable heated seats and the head-up display were missing, it was still very well kitted out and offered outstanding value for money.
And after just a few minutes of driving it was very apparent just how quiet the car was even when being pushed at motorway speeds. Closer inspection revealed 17-inch wheels which are the ideal size if you really want to benefit from the car’s improved sound insulating technology.
Once again the six-speed manual gearbox was smooth and there was a constant supply of power which makes overtaking an absolute doddle.
And despite being a saloon design, the boot is still generously sized so luggage limitations shouldn’t be an issue.
Mazda expects 80 per cent of buyers to choose diesel variants and about 20 per cent will opt for the Tourer design.
So, all in all, the new Mazda6 looks great, handles exceptionally well, is packed with technology and there is a model to suit all tastes and budgets. It seems like the perfect all-rounder.
Mazda6 (third generation)
Mazda has really upped the ante with the launch of its third generation Mazda6 and can confidently take on the big guns at BMW and Audi.
It is the second model to feature Mazda’s pioneering SKYACTIV technology and with a choice of powertrains and trim levels, along with a very reasonable price-tag, the car has incredible all-round appeal.
Buyers can choose from two petrol and two diesel engines mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and the company prides itself on the fact that even the entry level SE model is feature-rich with very few hidden costs.
With a starting price of £19,595 rising to £28,045 the car looks amazing from any angle and the introduction of a brand new paint colour – Soul Red Metallic – really accentuates the car’s sleek styling and elegant lines.
It boasts an almost aggressive, bold front end with sweeping bonnet, flared wheel arches and sporty alloys and the unique LED rear lights add another touch of class to this highly appealing vehicle.
After taking into account customer feedback Mazda decided to ditch the hatchback so the new Mazda6 is available in either saloon or estate versions.
Following on from the success of the CX-5 the Mazda6 is the second model to feature SKYACTIV technology which is all about making cars ultra-efficient but maintaining the driving appeal. Much of this is achieved through a lightweight, although strong construction. The end result is a car that offers excellent fuel efficiency and class-leading carbon emission statistics
Most buyers are likely to opt for the 2.2-litre 150PS model so we put both the manual and automatic versions through their paces and they didn’t disappoint.
First up was the automatic in SE-L Nav trim costing £24,915. This model boasts combined fuel efficiency of 58.9mpg, carbon emissions of 127g/km, a 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds and top speed of 127mph.
It handled beautifully and comfort levels were exceptionally good. There is ample space for four adults to travel in comfort and the generously-sized boot can accommodate all luggage requirements.
The interior has a classy feel to it and all dials, readouts and controls are perfectly positioned for ease of use.
This car delivered an excellent all-round driving experience.
Then it was the turn of the manual model in range-topping Sport Nav priced at £26,255.
It boasts a combined mpg of 67.3, a CO2 rating of 108g/km, can reach from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and tops out at 131mph.
In my opinion this car was the pick of the two and not just because of its higher trim levels such as heated leather seats.
My findings are based on the performance alone and the manual gearbox was more responsive and that little bit edgier and dynamic.
That aside though, all those business drivers who clock up the motorway miles will obviously see the benefits of an automatic transmission.
Both models were a real pleasure to drive and felt nice and sturdy without being cumbersome.
They cornered well and cabin noise was very low.
The Mazda6 is rich with safety specifications including many features that help prevent accidents. These include Smart City Brake Support (which can often lower insurance premiums), a Lane Departure Warning System and radar-based Rear Vehicle Monitoring.
All in all, the new Mazda6 is a brilliant all-rounder. It looks amazing, handles beautifully, is economical to run and has an asking price that will leave you on speaking terms with your bank manager.
Mazda6 2.0 5-door TS2 Manual
The problem with car buyers these days is they want it all.
They want their pride and joy to look great, offer brilliant performance stats, to be economical to run, have loads of on-board features as standard and even demand a reasonable price-tag.
Dealers really do have to offer the world these days, but thankfully Mazda has come up with a car that delivers on all counts – the Mazda6.
Priced at £22.6k, this family car looks fabulous from any angle thanks to sleek lines, 17-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, dual chrome tailpipes and plenty more besides.
And the build quality within the Mazda6 is just as impressive with a host of creature comforts to help make every journey a pleasant one.
All dials and controls are perfectly positioned for ease of use.
Features include dual-zone climate control, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, a great audio system compatible with modern music devices, dusk-sensing headlights, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity and lots more.
The cloth seats are very supportive and offer high levels of comfort and all occupants – both front and rear – are treated to plenty of space.
Although the interior is a little simplistic, one should bear in mind that all those fancy bells and whistles on premium cars do come with a steep price tag attached.
Storage within the Mazda6 is plentiful with a deceptively large boot than can be extended further thanks to 60:40 split-folding rear seats and elsewhere there are plenty of smaller compartments, including a deep central bin between the front seats.
The car performed really well both in and around town and out on the faster open roads with the 2.0-litre petrol driven engine producing ample power as it accelerated through the six-speed manual transmission.
It can reach from 0 to 62mph in 10.3 seconds and tops out at 134mph.
Road-holding was flawless and cabin noise was really quiet at all times.
The Mazda6 is a long car and although easy to manoeuvre it does require a large parking slot.
The only really annoying factor after a week-long test drive was the rear spoiler which obscured visibility quite considerably, but that aside, what a car.
Mazda has packed a very comprehensive range of safety features into the car and it would be very fair to say that with the Mazda6 you are guaranteed a whole lot of bang for your bucks.
Mazda6 Estate 2.2 Sport Diesel
There is something about the initial greeting message you get when starting up the new Mazda6 that instantly puts a smile on your face even on the dullest of mornings.
The message is a cheery zoom-zoom and to be perfectly honest, it’s a pretty fair reflection of what’s in store for you as you set off.
For Mazda prides itself on its class-leading styling and eye-catching design features and the Mazda6 is no exception.
With striking lines and beautifully-crafted streamlining is not only an attention-grabber with an impressive asking price, but it’s a vehicle that loves to show off, delivering an edge-of-the-seat ride with precision-perfect handling.
The test model boasted a 2.2-litre engine which provided plenty of power both in and around town and out on the open road where this vehicle really does come into its own. The six-speed manual transmission simply added to the fun.
The acceleration is excellent and very responsive and with impressive fuel economy figures, the Mazda6 can easily slot into a budget. In fact, it has been acclaimed as one of the cleanest and most economical vehicles in its class.
Driver and passengers alike are treated to great creature comforts in a light and spacious cabin that can easily carry five people, along with plenty of luggage too. The estate model has space for huge suitcases, golf clubs and trolleys and, should the occasion arise… a kitchen sink!
Features fitted on the vehicle include bi-xenon headlights, lane change assist, a smart entry with push button start, a Bluetooth and premium audio system plus bags more.
So the Mazda6 seems to be the perfect all-rounder. It has great performance and economy figures and with class-leading aerodynamics, compact light clusters and snazzy roof rails it has the looks stakes covered comprehensively too.
So when you add in the outstanding safety features found throughout the vehicle it’s clear to see just why zoom-zoom puts such a smile on your face.