The Mazda 6 is a smart saloon car that comes packed with standard equipment and safety kit, but there are roomier alternatives and engine choice is a little limited.
The Mazda 6 is a stylish four-door saloon that combines a plush, well equipped interior with a sporty drive. It’s a bit of a left-field alternative to the likes of Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen Passat but certainly deserves to be on your short list.
The Mazda 6 has been around since the early 2000s but this model was first introduced in 2012. Since then it has been given a couple of mild upgrades but a bigger range of updates came in 2018, which included a redesigned grille, an improved interior and changes to the engine range and suspension. A new 2.5-litre petrol engine, matched to a six-speed automatic gearbox, was also added to the Mazda 6 range.
If the four-door saloon is not for you, you can also buy a more practical Mazda 6 Tourer (estate) car.
A suite of updates to the exterior design in 2018 gave the Mazda 6 a much needed refresh. The mesh grille looks sporty and is connected to the redesigned headlights by a strip of smart-looking chrome trim.
The rear lights have been redesigned too, and there are new designs for the alloy wheels – SE-L Nav+ and SE-L Lux Nav+ get 17-inch wheels while the top two trims get 19-inch alloys.
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 roomier.
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 (60:40).
There are just four 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. SE-L Lux Nav has probably the best balance between price and kit.
It’s lovely inside the Mazda 6 - that interior could give the BMW 3 Series a run for its money, never mind a Mondeo
The Mazda 6 is a fun car to drive. It manages to be comfortable and quiet yet still feels agile, sporty almost. There are three petrol engines and two diesels to choose from – the 2.0-litre 165bhp petrol is the best to go for if you don’t drive too many miles. The lower powered of the 2.2-litre diesels is the best bet if you are a high miler. All engines can come with either a manual or automatic gearbox, except the top-of-the-range 2.5-litre petrol, which is auto only.
The Mazda 6 scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests when it was last tested in 2013. The tests have since got tougher since 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.