Mazda 6 Saloon Review & Prices

The Mazda 6 is a smart saloon that comes packed with standard equipment and safety kit, but there are roomier alternatives and engine choice is a little limited

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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Plush interior
  • Excellent safety kit as standard
  • Comfortable to drive

What's not so good

  • Alternatives have bigger boots
  • High-powered petrol is auto-only
  • No hybrid engine options

Find out more about the Mazda 6 Saloon

Is the Mazda 6 Saloon a good car?

The Mazda 6 is a bit of a left-field alternative to the likes of a Peugeot 508 or Volkswagen Passat but certainly deserves to be on your shortlist. It even holds its own next to more expensive ‘premium’ models such as the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class when it comes to driving enjoyment.

It is also surprisingly stylish, whichever body style you choose. It is getting a little old now, its relative rarity means that it still looks pretty fresh, especially in Mazda’s trademark metallic red.

Slip into the driver’s seat and you’re faced with a dashboard covered in lovely soft-touch plastics, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an 8.0-inch touchscreen that allows you to change and set up the car’s infotainment system. You can also switch through the various menus with a rotary controller between the driver and passenger seats.

Speaking of seats, the driver’s seat should be a comfortable place to spend time in. Every Mazda 6 comes with lumbar support – which helps reduce stress on your back during long journeys – and the steering wheel moves for height and reach. Step up to SE-L Lux Nav+ cars and above and the driver’s seat adjusts electronically and has a memory function too.

Passengers in the back don’t get such a great deal. Knee room is OK, but if you’re over six foot, headroom is a little tight and there isn’t a great deal of space for three adults to sit side-by-side. Generally, a Skoda Superb is much roomier.

t’s lovely inside the Mazda 6 - that interior could give the BMW 3 Series a run for its money.

It’s a similar story for Mazda 6 boot space. The saloon has a 480-litre boot, but a VW Passat has 100 litres more. The narrow boot opening hinders practicality further but at least there’s a button in the boot to fold down the rear seats in a 60:40 configuration. But if you need more carrying capacity and like the Mazda 6, then check out the estate version. Although that also loses out in the big booted stakes to alternative cars of a similar size and price.

There are just three trim levels to choose from – each with an impressive list of standard features. As such there are few extra options to pay for, and only one option pack so deciding which suits you best is easy. The Sport has probably the best balance between price and kit.

The Mazda 6 is good to drive. It manages to be comfortable on all types of road, as long as you avoid the biggest wheel options. It’s confidence-inspiring on fast country roads too, although you’ll have more fun in a BMW 3 Series.

There is now only a choice of three petrol engines in the Mazda – the 2.0-litre four cylinder 145hp petrol is fitted to the entry level SE-L, while upgrading to the Sport bumps that up to the 165hp 2.0. This is the pick of the range and can be had with either a manual or automatic gearbox. The top-of-the-range 194hp 2.5-litre petrol, which is auto only, comes in one trim level – GT Sport.

So, if all this has persuaded you that the Mazda 6 is worth buying before its established German alternatives, make sure you check out our Mazda 6 Saloon deals pages for the very best prices, or have a look at our choice of used Mazdas.

How much is the Mazda 6 Saloon?

The price of a used Mazda 6 Saloon on Carwow starts at £9,695.

The lack of diesel or hybrid powertrains mean the Mazda 6 has comparatively high emissions for a car of this type, which means it will cost company car drivers more than many rivals due to the BIK tax system. However, this will be less of an issue for private buyers and the 6’s comparatively low list price and good levels of equipment mean it looks decent value compared to competitors’ cars.

The range-topping GT Sport is well equipped and has the more powerful engine mated to an auto box, but you’ll pay for it. It might look OK value against prestige brands but it’s a big price jump from the other models in the range.

Performance and drive comfort

The Mazda 6 is good to drive and comfortable with it, but isn't the easiest to manoeuvre in built-up areas

In town

Urban environments aren’t the 6’s natural home. It’s a big car which feels its size on tight streets. The engines, which are unusual in this class for not having a turbo, need to be worked hard to find their power band, which doesn’t make stop-start and slow driving relaxing, even when matched to the auto box.

If you do get stuck in traffic with the manual, at least the gear change is slick and the clutch is light.

The suspension is happier dealing with high speed humps than broken city streets too, especially on the low profile tyres fitted to the two top models.

On the plus side, visibility is generally very good, with large glass areas which give a decent view around the car.

The steering is light and parking is easy too, despite the Mazda’s size. Parking sensors are standard on all versions and on the top-spec GT Sport Nav+ you get a 360-degree view monitor that gives you a bird’s eye view of the car in the infotainment screen to make parking even more straightforward. There’s no self-parking technology though, which is an odd omission on a car of this type and price.

On the motorway

The 6 feels much more at home on the motorway than in town. Its size means it feels more settled at speed and the noise is well suppressed from the wind, engine and tyres.

The six-speed gearbox means the engine is rarely strained, and the smoothness will be a revelation to anyone who is used to the diesels which are more common in this class of car. However, diesel defectors will also notice that the engine isn’t as flexible and will be doing higher revs at the motorway limit.

The auto boxes occasionally make an odd decision too, sometimes changing down in search of a little more acceleration on a slope and causing the engine to whine, especially if the car is well loaded.

On a twisty road

Faster country lanes are where the 6 really comes alive. The chassis has been developed by the same engineers who worked on the MX-5 roadster, and it shows in the way the 6 deals with bends and twisty roads in general.

It’s no sportscar, even with the relatively powerful engine of the 2.5-litre V6 top model but it is more rewarding to drive than a VW Passat or Skoda Superb on a clear country lane.

The Mazda’s engines like to be revved, the manual gearbox is slick and the steering and brakes give good feedback to the driver. If you are in the mood it can provide a lot of fun.

Space and practicality

Most passengers will find the Mazda 6 a comfortable car and it has decent practicality, but there’s nothing innovative inside

The Mazda 6 saloon is a comfortable companion, with enough adjustment in the front seats and space throughout to keep everyone happy, including electrical assistance in all but the entry-level car. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach too, so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position.

There’s also a deep glove box and spacious bins on the front doors so there are plenty of places for a large bottle of water, sunglasses and a tin or two of travel sweets.

In addition you’ll find a handy space underneath the centre armrest, which also has a couple of USB ports. This means you can charge your phone and keep it out of sight, so you won’t get the urge to peek in traffic. 

There are also a couple of cup holders behind the gear stick and a handy, grippy shelf for your keys underneath the air-con controls. There are no wireless charging pads or other gizmos though – perhaps a sign of the 6’s comparative age compared to newer saloons.

The bins in the rear doors aren’t as spacious as those in the front, but they are deep enough for a small bottle of water. You’ll also find a couple of cupholders and two USB ports in the rear armrest too – perfect for keeping the kids’ tablets charged on a long journey.

Space in the back seats

The two outer rear seats are perfectly comfortable for anyone of average size. There’s enough knee room, but the headroom is more generous in the Tourer than in the saloon, which has a more sloped roofline.

There’s a hump in the floor which means comfort is compromised if you are in the middle seat in the back. Passengers in top-spec cars are treated to heated outer seats in the back.

The Mazda 6 has dual-zone climate control but those in the back make do with vents rather than being able to control the temperature themselves.

It’s a doddle to fit a bulky child seat, though. The Mazda 6’s rear doors open wide and the ISOFIX anchor points are clearly marked. The points have covers you have to flip off – and so are likely to be lost over time if regularly used.

Boot space

Mazda 6 saloon’s 480-litre boot is quite a bit smaller than the load bays you get in rivals such as the Peugeot 508. Unlike these cars, it doesn’t come with a hatchback-style opening so it isn’t quite as easy to load large luggage.

Still, there’s enough space for one large and one small suitcase with room left over for two soft bags and a set of golf clubs. You can also carry a baby buggy but a large cardboard box won’t fit through the Mazda’s narrow boot opening.

At least there are some levers in the boot to flip the rear seats down in a two-way (60:40) split. With all the back seats folded away the Mazda’s boot is roomier than the Peugeot’s and there’s enough space to carry a bike with both wheels attached. It’s not particularly easy to lift in a bike though, and you don’t get any handy shopping hooks or luggage nets to stop things rolling around.

The Tourer is obviously a lot more practical but with 522 litres (or 1,664 with the rear seats down), is some way smaller than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Passat. If a big, practical car is your priority, the Skoda Superb is streets ahead.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Mazda’s interior is a nice place to be with decent quality, but the tech feels old

The Mazda 6 has quality and style which isn’t embarrassed next to premium brands. You’ll find lots of soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and doors and there’s a bright strip of metal-effect trim that stretches all the way across the cabin.

The simple button layout for the heating and ventilation controls looks smart and is dead easy to use. These various switches and knobs all feel nice and solid, too – as do the indicator stalks and the slim metal-effect door handles.

Besides entry-level models, every Mazda 6 comes with leather seats as standard and some plush suede-like trim on the doors and across the centre of the dashboard with a subtle stitched pattern.

You can get the Mazda 6 with a two-tone dashboard that helps prevent its cabin from looking too dark and you can replace the standard seats with some lovely light-coloured leather items, too. Just be aware that dark jeans can leave unsightly blue marks on the pale upholstery.

Overall, the Mazda 6’s cabin feels more upmarket inside, but it can’t quite match a Peugeot 508’s eye-catching design.

Sat nav is standard across the Mazda 6 range, but the ability to use your phone’s sat nav app is standard too. Upshot is… you’ll never get lost!

Every Mazda 6 comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which does look a little small compared to newer rivals. It’s smaller than you’d find in the Passat, but the screen is clear and icons big enough to make navigation simple, though it could be a little quicker. Navigating through the menus is enhanced by a dial and supporting buttons between the driver and passenger seat, next to a physical volume knob for the stereo.

The sat nav is not quite as quick to load as the system’s you get in some alternatives. The maps are pretty clear and easy to read, but they could do with a splash of colour and it isn’t particularly easy to add a waypoint to your route. If you’d rather use your phone’s navigation apps instead, you can get the Mazda 6 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring features.

A perfectly adequate stereo comes as standard in SE-L, but if crystal clear music is important to you, then opt for one of the top two trims that get an upgraded Bose system with surround sound.

You can also get the Mazda 6 with a colour head-up display system that projects nav instructions and road signs on to the windscreen. It’s a pity, though, that there’s no handy ‘off’ button for this feature. You can switch it off through the car’s settings but it defaults back to ‘on’ when you start the engine.

MPG, emissions and tax

In the face of falling sales, Mazda deleted the diesel versions of the 6 and now only has petrol engines on offer. Unusually there are no fully electric or hybrid versions either, which means the 6 makes little sense to company car drivers as the CO2 emissions which determine the tax paid are just too high compared to rivals.

On the plus side, the petrol engines use Mazda’s Skyactiv technology so are more efficient than most other petrol-only rivals with equivalent performance.

The three engines to choose from are a 2.0-litre four cylinder with 143bhp petrol fitted to the entry level SE-L, while upgrading to the Sport will give you access to a 163bhp version of the same engine. This is the pick of the range and can be had with either a manual or automatic gearbox. The top-of-the-range 2.5-litre petrol, which is auto only and comes in one trim level, the Skyactiv-G.

Official economy figures are 42.2mpg, with 152g/km for both 2.0-litre engines and expect to get close to 40mpg in the real world.

The 194bhp 2.5-litre petrol is only available in top-spec GT Sport Nav+. It has clever technology that switches off two of the engine’s four cylinders when the car is cruising, so its official fuel economy of 38.2mpg is impressive considering its extra power. The emissions figure is 167g/km.

Safety and security

The Mazda 6 scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests when it was last tested, but that was a long time ago in 2013, and so the score shouldn’t be compared with newer rivals which have been tested under newer, stricter test regimes.

But the Mazda 6 still has an impressive list of safety kit and driver aids. Every car gets Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist. Every Mazda 6 also gets a heads-up display so you don’t need to look away from the road ahead for sat nav instructions or speed limits.

Reliability and problems

Mazda does well in reliability surveys generally, holding up the general impression that Japanese cars are well built. However, there are a few issues reported which mean the brand isn’t at the same level as Honda and Toyota in terms of quality.

The change to petrol only engines will help this, as most of the issues we found mentioned were related to the diesels.

The warranty is only average though. While some other car makers offer five- or even seven-year cover, Mazda is still only giving a three-year or 60,000 mile guarantee

Buy or lease the Mazda 6 Saloon at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
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