Rather than change the whole ethos of the car, arguably what was really needed, for the 2017 model year Mazda has refined the Mazda 6 range, adding a new shade of paint (Machine Grey), a 4.6-inch colour display between the dials and a new steering wheel.
Those changes won’t get enthusiasts salivating, but the Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control just might. It primes the car’s stability system – cutting engine torque on corner entry – making it quicker in the bends.
That handling prowess doesn’t come with too harsh a ride and, unusually, the 6 is even pretty comfortable when combined with the arch-filling 19-inch wheels that are standard on Sport Nav models. The revised 6 also gets extra sound deadening to make it quieter at a cruise.
Straight-line performance is taken care of by four engines split equally between petrol and diesel power. The former have a 2.0-litre capacity with either 143 or 163hp, while the diesels are 2.2-litre units with 148 or 173hp. There’s also a choice six-speed manual and auto gearboxes.
If the Mazda 6 has a weak point it would be its interior. When compared to fresh-faced rivals – the Volkswagen Passat is a prime example – it looks dated and lacks the VW’s super-intuitive layout. It does, however, have space for five people and a decent (if nowhere near class-leading) sized boot.
Trim levels include SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav. All come reasonably equipped, but we would recommend a Nav model, which come with standard satellite navigation.
The refreshed 6 is a capable car that is getting a bit dated next to brand-new rivals
The Mazda 6 is a competitive car that’s in the top handful of cars in the class, though there are a few exceptions. The Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat are ultimately more complete family cars. But, for some, the Mazda’s styling, relative rarity, composed handling, and excellent engines make it an appealing choice.