Mazda 6 Tourer Review
The Mazda 6 Tourer is a smart estate car that comes packed with standard equipment and safety kit, but alternatives can carry a lot more in their boots.
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The Mazda 6 Tourer is a stylish estate car 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 Estate or Volkswagen Passat Estate but certainly deserves to be on your shortlist.
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.
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.
It’s lovely inside the Mazda 6 Tourer - that interior could give the BMW 3 Series Touring a run for its money, never mind a Mondeo Estate
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 a tunnel in the middle of the floor means anyone sitting in the middle seat won’t be particularly comfortable. Generally, a Skoda Superb is roomier.
It’s a similar story for Mazda 6 boot space. Seats up, the estate has a 522-litre boot – but a VW Passat Estate has 120 litres more. Flip the rear seats down and the Mazda 6 Tourer’s load space goes up to 1664 litres. That’s a pretty useable space but a Mondeo Estate has 1780 litres, while a Skoda Superb Estate’s boot is a massive 1950 litres.
At least flipping the rear seats down is a simple job – just tug on a lever in the boot and they tumble forward with a satisfying thunk.
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.
The Mazda 6 Tourer manages to be comfortable and quiet to drive, but you’ll have more fun in the Mondeo. 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 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.
Flipping the rear seats down is simple enough but the Mazda 6 Tourer misses out on some practical touches and features found in alternatives.
Back seat passengers in top-spec cars will love you for the heated rear seats
Most passengers will find the Mazda 6 Tourer roomy enough. The front seats come with plenty of adjustment (electrical in all but the entry-level car) and the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position.
The two outer rear seats are also comfortable. There’s enough knee room and headroom is thankfully better than you’ll find in the saloon.
There’s a hump in the floor which means comfort is compromised if you are in the middle seat. Passengers in top-spec cars are treated to heated seats, though.
The Mazda 6 Tourer 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, too. 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.
There’s a deep glove box and deep door bins on the front door so there are plenty of places for a large bottle of water or two.
There’s a handy space underneath the centre armrest (along with a couple of USB ports) and a couple of cup holders behind the gear stick. Underneath the air-con controls there’s a handy, grippy shelf for your phone or keys.
The bins in the rear doors are deep enough for a small bottle of water, while you’ll find a couple of cupholders and two USB ports in the rear armrest.
Mazda 6 Tourer boot space, at 522 litres (or 1664 with the rear seats down), is some way smaller than you’ll find in the Mondeo and the Passat. If a big, practical boot is your priority, the Skoda Superb is streets ahead.
The parcel shelf pops out easily enough, but there’s no adjustable boot floor under which you can store it, like you can in the Superb. It does have a 12v socket and a couple of bag hooks but there’s a lip so you can’t slide in heavy objects as easily as you would in the Skoda.
At least flipping the rear seats down is a simple job – just tug on a lever in the boot and they tumble forward with a satisfying thunk. There’s a little space under the boot floor and to either side for storing small oddments.
The Mazda 6 is good to drive but and comfortable with it, but you’ll ultimately have more fun in a Ford Mondeo.
The 360-degree view monitor is a great addition to top-spec Mazda 6 estates. It makes parking a long car a doddle.
The Mazda 6 Tourer 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 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km. The higher powered version is noticeably quicker, averages 58.6mpg 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 44.8 and 43.5mpg – and expect to get close to 40mpg in the real world. You can’t get the lower-powered petrol with an automatic gearbox.
The 194bhp 2.5-litre petrol is only available in top-spec GT Sport Nav+. It had really clever technology that switches off two of the engine’s four cylinders when the car is cruising, so its official fuel economy of 41.5mpg 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 paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel to liven things up.
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.
The Mazda 6 is also confidence-inspiring to drive on fast country roads, but you’ll ultimately have more fun ina Ford Mondeo or BMW 3 Series with their more precise steering. Still, the Mazda doesn’t lean much in bends and offer enough composure for most people.
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.
The Mazda 6 Tourer has a lovely, well-equipped interior but the infotainment systems in alternatives are just that bit slicker