Home / Auto / New Mazda 6 REVIEW – A premium car without the price tag

New Mazda 6 REVIEW – A premium car without the price tag


Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

While rivals hogged the limelight with dramatic designs and fanciful performance boasts, one of Mazda’s models has weathered the SUV boom rather well.

The Mazda 6, updated for 2018, brings a premium-grade cabin and handsome looks to the affordable mid-size party. A quick glance at the competition highlights the impact SUVs have had on the wider market.

Rivals to the Mazda 6, bar Ford and Vauxhall, are in short supply. Mazda’s contemporaries – Nissan, Toyota, Honda – have abandoned the sector, which might not be an issue for private motorists but is a head-scratcher for company car drivers seeking a conventional saloon or estate.

The Mazda 6 has been a strong performer since its original launch and was Mazda’s big-hitter until its CX5 SUV arrived.

It has remained a solid seller, though, and more popular than Ford’s Mondeo among private buyers.

Given how tough the mid-size car market has become, its ability to stand its ground is impressive.

And it’s no surprise that Mazda has chosen not to mess with this winning formula.

The current iteration is certainly handsome; its fuss-free exterior and bold lines contrast well with rivals sporting unnecessary extra detailing and weighed down by excess shiny trim.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Both saloon and estate bodystyles have considerable visual appeal thanks in part to their new grilles, headlamps and bumpers but the Mazda 6’s attraction is more than skin deep.

Keen to remain competitive in these uncertain times where diesel was once king, its maker has sought to polish its petrol pairing to provide a better choice.

A new 2.5-litre unit includes cylinder deactivation, technology that shuts down part of the engine when on a light throttle to boost economy, and is mated with an automatic gearbox.

This 191bhp unit is smooth and refi ned in use and delivers 42.2mpg average fuel economy as well as an 8.1-second 0 to 60mph time and 138mph top speed.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

The smaller 2.0-litre unit completes the petrol range and comes with 145bhp or 165bhp. The latter offers relaxed motoring but never feels underpowered and has a slick manual gearchange.

The petrol-engined versions arrive ahead of the diesels so if you do rack up the miles or use your car for towing you might want to wait.

The 150 and 184bhp units have manual or automatic gearboxes and promise more gutsy acceleration and wallet-friendly fuel economy and tax performance with 64.2mpg and 117g/km emissions

Whichever engine, the Mazda 6 won’t disappoint on the road. Buyers might be more familiar with glowing reviews for the company’s MX5 sports car and it’s good to see some of that character rub off on this saloon and estate pairing.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

The saloon feels a fraction more agile, although steering and suspension changes have added an extra layer of polish. Cabin refinement is also top notch, thanks in part to the hushed tones of the petrol engines on the cars tested.

Of particular note is the way the Mazda 6 deals with poor roads. The suspension tweaks have certainly helped but this performance is also the result of Mazda’s efforts to get the basics right.

The steady move from “bog standard” family car to credible alternative to the usual premium suspects is complete.

Space is good up front, with the saloon providing more rear-seat legroom than the estate, although this has 1,664 litres of load space with folded rear seats.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Premium materials are everywhere and the cabin’s design and layout are both easy on the eye and logically laid out.

A new head-up display adds extra information without distracting the driver, while the clear and intuitive infotainment screen is easy to use and complements the car’s crisp and clear oversize main dials.

There’s also a wider selection of comfort and entertainment tech.

Mazda’s 2.5-litre petrol is exclusively available in flagship GT Sport Nav+ guise that includes heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and wood trim.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

Leather seats plus heated and electric control for the front chairs and the aforementioned head-up display are standard on SE-L LUX Nav+, while keyless entry plus an upgraded audio system are added to Sport Nav+ cars.

Audiophiles will approve of the car’s entertainment system, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are absent.

Conventional saloons and estates offering a premium experience for sensible money that aren’t from a German car maker have become an endangered species of late.

And with the threat of the rise in popularity of SUVs, it’s good to see that Mazda’s continued commitment has resulted in a polished product easily capable of rivalling more prestigious and expensive cars from a class above.

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 (Image: MAZDA)

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Price range: £23,195 to £33,585

Engines: Petrol – 2.0, 2.0 165bhp, 2.5-litre; Turbodiesel – 2.2-litre

Power: 0 to 60mph in 8.1 seconds, 138mph top speed (2.5)

Fuel economy: 64.2mpg (2.2TD)

CO2 emissions range: 117 – 156g/km

Rivals: Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, VW Passat

Rating: 8/10



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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