The Mazda 6 is great fun to drive but the high-powered petrol car only comes with an automatic gearbox which takes some of the fun out of nipping down twisty backroads
The Mazda 6 comes with a range of economical and high-tech petrol and diesel engines, with either a manual or automatic six-speed gearbox.
The diesels are 2.2-litre engines with either 150 or 183bhp. The lower powered version has an official fuel economy of 64mpg and CO2 emissions of 117g/km. The higher powered version is noticeably quicker, averages 60mpg, but sits in a higher tax bracket. If you do a lot of miles opt for the diesel that suits you best – higher power or lower running costs.
If you do fewer miles, then one of the 2.0-litre petrols should suit. The higher powered version only comes in Sport Nav+ trim, whereas the lower powered petrol comes with the bottom two trims. So the decision comes down to how much kit you want. Official economy figures are 45.6 and 44.1mpg – and expect to get close to 40mpg in the real world.
Drive down an empty twisting road and you’ll think the Mazda 6 is a sportscar just itching to burst out of its saloon body style
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 42.2mpg is impressive considering its extra power.
It is a pity though that this engine is only available with the automatic gearbox, which seems to almost hold the engine back. You can shift the car into Sport setting and change ‘gear’ with the paddleshifts mounted on the steering wheel to liven things up.
The Mazda 6 was fun to drive even before a host of improvements to the car’s suspension came in 2018, but thanks to those changes the car is one that feels both comfortable and sporty to drive.
Comfort is ensured thanks in part to a quiet cabin. You don’t hear much noise from the engine or tyres – indeed the only surprising noise on the motorway is from the wind over the door mirrors. And the updated suspension also makes a pretty good job of flattening out bumps and potholes in the road.
And the sportiness comes from the car’s agility in corners. You get great confidence when you turn the steering wheel and the car goes exactly where you expect it to. Passengers shouldn’t be squashed up against the windows as you go round corners either as the car doesn’t lean too much.
Parking is a cinch – parking sensors are standard and on the top-spec GT Sport Nav+ (and an option on Sport Nav+ cars) 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.