Mazda 6: car review
The attractive Mazda 6 offers attractive levels of equipment.
What is it?
It’s a great-looking car we think is going to rattle a few cages among the German makers who have traditionally been dominant in this sector.
How safe is it?
As well as plenty of airbags, Smart City Brake Support will stop the car fully from speeds of up to 19mph if it detects an imminent collision.
Who should buy one?
The Leon doesn’t have the space of the Octavia or the kudos of the Golf’s VW badge, but if you’re It’s worth serious thought if you’re a manager with a company car allowance. Fuel consumption for the diesel is impressive, and there are extras a-plenty.
James Luckhurst’s review: Good Motoring, Summer 2013
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Central to the development of the Mazda 6 is the SkyActiv design philosophy. Mazda promises better economy, lower emissions, enhanced safety and an all-round better driving experience. We almost didn’t get the chance to drive this car at all. Heavy snow and strong winds were threatening the event we were due to attend, but thankfully all was well, and we soon found ourselves gliding out of Edinburgh Airport, en route for the east coast.
Motorway driving was effortless, handling was logical and responsive, even with the electrically assisted steering, and there was always a sense of powerful, surefooted capability from the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel model we had been allocated. The ride was firm, which for the short duration of this test was not a problem. However, it might start to become uncomfortable if you spend many hours each day in it. The test route took us across a number of minor roads (at low speeds because of the conditions), where broken or rough road surfaces did make themselves known in the cabin.
Acceleration from the diesel engine, through the lightweight six-speed gearbox, was satisfying. There was no difficulty finding the right gear for spells in traffic. In summary, the car inspired confidence because it delivered what we expected in terms of going, stopping and steering.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
We raised a few eyebrows from passers-by as we stopped in a lay-by and bustled round the car for a good check of the available space. No complaints in this department at all; the front seat passenger will have the chance to stretch out in great comfort, while you’d need to be very tall before the rear legroom becomes restrictive. Headroom is slightly less generous, however.
Bear in mind that the Mazda 6 is positioned as a great value member of the D segment, which is dominated by German luxury and quality. So, we think there could have been more effort to give the interior a more refined, quality feel.
Mazda quotes boot space as being 483 litres, which is less than the Ford Mondeo.
The Mazda promise is that the SkyActiv system delivers ‘class-leading safety’, thanks first of all to its lightweight, high-rigidity body. Lines of the basic car structure are made as straight as possible, and clever technology releases the engine in the event of a front-end collision, to maintain an impact-absorbing space. The mid-range SE-L and the Sport models have excellent standard safety features, including Smart City Brake Support and Smart Braking Support.
Three levels of spec are offered in the 6 model line-up. The SE has LED daytime running lights, electric door mirrors, keyless start and air-conditioning, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.
There’s also a touchscreen ‘infotainment’ system included. Go for the SE-L and you get TomTom satnav, 19-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensor and dual zone climate control. The top spec Sport models include a reversing camera, keyless entry and xenon lights.
Prices start from £19,595 for the 2.0-litre SE, and we think that’s competitive, especially if you take your time to see just how much is included at every level. Our pick would be the 2.2-litre SE-L 150 at £22,595, with reassuringly manageable running costs: the claimed fuel average is 67.3mpg, while the 148bhp diesel engine emits a paltry 108g/km of CO2. If you’re more interested in the top of the range, then the 2.2D 175 Sport Nav costs a whisker over £26,000.
The attractive Mazda 6 offers impressive levels of equipment.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-60mph in 9 seconds
Economy: 67.3mpg combined
Insurance: Group 19
Tax: Band B (£20 standard rate)
Figures for the 2.2 diesel SE-L