£21,800 - £29,795 Price range
47 - 67 MPG
In 2016 the Mazda was updated, with the range being treated to a revised interior with new instruments and a mildly improved dashboard. All models now come fitted with an electronic parking brake, which has allowed Mazda to redesign the centre console.
The biggest exterior changes are reserved for the top-of-the range Sport Nav models, which look smarter thanks to a bolder grille and standard LED headlights.
With the cosmetic alterations came some mechanical changes, although the range of four engines (two petrols and a pair of diesels) remains the same. The heavy steering which made the old 6 so appealing to enthusiasts has been lightening – making the car easier to drive, but arguably less engaging. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most fun-to-drive models in class.
A bigger boot is the most obvious advantage the Tourer holds over its saloon-car sister, but its taller roofline means that rear-seat headroom also receives a welcome boost – making it a better choice for families with older children.
Basic models now come complete with a seven-inch touchscreen, heated door mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels, and buyers can specify a new range of active safety features. Check out our Mazda 6 and 6 Tourer facelift guide to see how much extra kit has been loaded onto the subtly updated 2017 model.
Even in this 2015 model, the Mazda 6 Tourer shows its age most when you get inside. Where the latest models – the Mondeo, Passat and Superb all included – favour a simple design, Mazda owners are faced by rather a lot of buttons to get there heads round. This is off-set by the sporty feel offered by the high transmission tunnel, heavily cowled dials, as well as the leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, but not enough to make it a genuine contender.
Mazda has replaced the old model’s shiny black plastics, which were susceptible to finger marks, with leather inserts that avoid this problem and both look and feel nicer. Another improvement comes in the form of the new infotainment system and rotary heater controls that have been carried over form the newer Mazda 3. But it doesn’t take much searching to find cheap-feeling plastics that you wouldn’t get in a Volkswagen Passat.
Mazda 6 Tourer passenger space
With a height adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat, getting comfortable behind the wheel of the Mazda 6 Tourer isn’t an issue and the front passenger has lots of space to stretch their legs. Rear space is also good – there’s plenty of legroom and more headroom than you get in the saloon. The back seat is also wide enough to accommodate three adults, although the transmission tunnel that runs down the centre of the car eats into the middle passenger’s foot room. The 6 Tourer’s biggest problem comes in the form of the Skoda Superb Estate, which offers so much rear space that even tall adults have lots of kneeroom to spare.
Mazda 6 Tourer boot space
The Skoda also has the measure of the Mazda when it comes to boot capacity. The Superb offers a mammoth 660-litre load bay compared to the 506 litres the 6 has. The gulf is even bigger when you fold the rear seats down, with total capacity swelling to 1,950 litres in the Skoda and 1,648 litres in the Mazda. Nevertheless, the latter’s load area has practical features such as a cover that rises out of the way when you open the boot and a partition that can stop the family dog resting its head on the rear seat’s backrest. Loading large items is helped by back seats that fold flat into the floor, a large opening and no load lip.
What the Mazda 6 used to offer over models such as the Skoda Superb was a truly rewarding driving experience, but changes made in 2015 dampen its USP. In an effort to make the car more comfortable, the steering is now lighter making the car more relaxing to drive, but has the combined effect of making it less reassuring when the road turns twisty. There’s also less feel than in the old model, making it more difficult to judge the car’s limits. In 2016 G-Vectoring control was added to the range as standard – it makes the car easier to drive in quick corners by limiting engine torque for improved grip.
Suspension changes follow in the same vein. The refreshed model is noticeably more comfortable on smooth or slightly bumpy roads, but the harsher character of the old model is revealed when you come across poorer surfaces. That said, body lean is still well contained even in fast corners.
Arguably, the small gains in comfort are outweighed by the sacrifices made in terms of enjoyment – a Skoda Superb is quite a lot more comfortable and is now closer than ever to offering the driving thrills that used to be the Mazda’s main selling point.
Added sound deadening means the 2015 Mazda 6 is a quieter cruiser than the model it replaces, but, even with the smaller 17-inch wheels fitted to base models, roads noise is more apparent than in the Skoda Superb and wind noise also falls behind the best in class. The diesel engine can also be a little gruff under hard acceleration.
Choosing the six-speed automatic gearbox – rather than the standard six-speed manual – comes without penalty, though – it chooses gears well and doesn’t change down unless it really needs to.
The revised Mazda 6 comes with the same range of engines offered by the old model, following Mazda’s ‘right sizing’ ethos of large naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) units rather than the smaller turbocharged engines that are gaining popularity in rival machines. Buyers can choose from two 2.0-litre petrols or a pair of 2.2-litre diesels.
Mazda 6 Touring petrol engines
Mazda’s decision to stick with non-turbocharged petrols doesn’t looks wholly justified once you have crunched the numbers. Its entry level 145hp 2.0-litre petrol returns respectable fuel economy of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 130g/km, but the Skoda Superb’s 1.4-litre petrol does a little better. Skoda claims it sips fuel at a rate of up to 55.4mpg and its lower CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Yet, thanks to its turbocharger, the Skoda’s smaller engine produces more power (150hp) and can thrust from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds – nearly a second quicker than the Mazda can manage.
Even the Mazda’s top-of-the-range petrol is slower than the Skoda, with 0-62mph taking 9.1 seconds, and it also costs more to run – fuel economy drops to 47.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 136g/km.
Mazda 6 Touring diesel engines
Few people are likely to specify a petrol Mazda 6, though, because the diesel are both quicker and a lot cheaper to run. The basic model’s fuel economy of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 108g/km matches the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel Superb almost exactly and the Skoda can shave just three tenths of a second off the Mazda’s 9.2 seconds 0-62mph time. Go for the 175hp Mazda diesel and 0-62mph is dispatched in just eight seconds.
While fuel economy is also improved to 47.9mpg combined (136g/km), it's suggested that it's more difficult to achieve that in the real world, thanks to the torque peak being at the same point as the power peak at 4,000rpm. It's still a 20% improvement over the older car though, so you should still be able to get pretty respectable numbers.
There is no automatic gearbox option for either of the petrol models and critics generally prefer either of the diesels for the car.
Reviewers praise the lack of diesel clatter and the general refinement of the engine, being quiet and responsive. The iStop system combined with the i-ELOOP regenerative braking enhance the engine's thrifty credentials.
This is the only model in the range with an automatic gearbox option too, but that blunts both performance and economy, with a 4mpg penalty - 57.6mpg and 129g/km - and a half second added to the 0-60mph time. It's a £1,000 option too, so while reviews suggest it's a good gearbox and shifts cleanly and crisply, it's advised to be sure it'll be of benefit to you.
The 175 picks up praise for being refined and lacking in diesel noise, while the 173 hp and 308 lb-ft gives a surprisingly deft shove at any speed.
Like almost all its rivals, the Mazda 6 got a five-star rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP but, as its was evaluated back in 2013, newer five-star models tested in 2015 (including the Skoda Superb) are likely to be even safer.
Nevertheless, Mazda boosted the 6’s safety when the car was revised in 2015. With the facelift came additional kit such as LED headlights, can be used on full beam without blinding other motorists; lane keep assist that can guide the car in lane on the motorway, a blind sport monitoring system and, what Mazda calls, Driver Attention Alert. It can warn a drowsy driver to take a rest. That all comes as part of the £800 Safety Pack available on Sport Nav models.
Mazda offers the 6 with three trim levels – SE, SE-L and Sport Nav, with the former two being available with satellite navigation as an option.
Mazda 6 Touring SE
Sit in the basic Mazda 6 SE and little will give the game away that you have gone for the cheapest model. Everything you need is there including front and rear electric windows, a DAB radio with crystal clear sound and integrated Bluetooth; cruise control, air conditioning and a seven-inch touchscreen.
Mazda 6 Touring SE-L
Despite the basic 6’s decent list of standard equipment, there are a number of good reasons to upgrade to SE L trim. One of the best is the car’s standard front and rear parking sensors, which should safeguard the car’s body coloured bumpers. Same’s true of the wing mirrors that, once the car’s parked, fold away to avoid being knocked. Auto lights and wipers are another plus, while automatic emergency braking (that comes complete with active cruise control) is sure to appeal if you have a family. Sat-nav is a £700 option on SE and SE L models.
Mazda 6 Sport Nav
Ignoring the car’s big 19-inch alloy wheels, which make it noisier at a cruise, there’s little that’s actually sporty about Sport Nav trim. Better to think of it, then, as the line-ups’s luxury range-topper on account of its leather interior, premium BOSE sound system and electrically adjustable front seats. Its the only model to come with sat-nav as standard and the only one available with the £800 Safety Pack.
The 2016 Mazda’s is slightly more comfortable than the car it replaces but, in making it so, some of the character of the pre-facelift car has been lost. As a result, it’s no longer the obvious choice if you’re looking for a sensible family car that is also fun to drive. That’s a shame because it means the main reason to choose the Mazda over a rival such as the Skoda Superb, which does almost everything else a little bit better, is noticeably diminished.