- We like...Sporty feel
- We don't...Blind spots when reversing
Sports-bred family hatchback is sharply priced, well kitted out and a real blast to driveYou can’t help but like a car that beams ‘hello’ from its dash each time you clamber aboard. And when it chimes twice to mimic that greeting, you feel fonder still towards it. That’s the Mazda 6.
At heart, it’s an honest medium-sized rep-mobile, the kind of car bred to have a suit jacket hanging in the back and a shirt-sleeved geezer up front, pounding the nation’s M-ways from one appointment to the next. But, added to that, are little touches that lend character and stand it apart from the pack.
Looks are a matter of taste, but for us it’s a handsome dog, managing the trick of looking lean and sporty while packing a generous amount of space inside. That feeling is most apparent from the driver’s seat, where the low-waisted cabin and clear, ordered dash focus the driver’s gaze on what’s happening outside, rather than within. Set it in motion and you first notice the gearshift, which is unusually precise and quick – more sports car than family hack. The steering has a deftness you don’t expect, too, and that underscores the sense that there’s a sports car here bursting to get out.
It feels quick and darty on the move. If you like to ride with the squashy ease of a well-sat sofa, the 6 won’t suit. But if you prefer a car to respond firmly and sure, it’ll hit the button. The 1.8-litre petrol model here is modestly powered – it produces 118bhp – but what it has feels right for the car.
There’s good leg and head room front and rear and space for three grown-ups in the back so long as none of them are too broad. The boot is long and shallow and has a steep lip over which you must haul your bags, but it is generous in size. There are none of the hooks for grocery bags or other helpers you’ll find in rivals, but the rear seats do pop down easily at the tug of a couple of levers. That’s a nice touch.
But, by fashioning so much inside into a curvy outside, Mazda’s designers have left you with a problem you’ll notice as you reverse. The raked rear screen makes for a poor view out, leaving big blind spots to overcome whenever you back into a tight space.
Inside, the wheel and gear shift are leather-wrapped, making them pleasant to hold, but some of the switches and other cabin details aren’t the best. Still, it’s keenly priced against the competition, particularly when you consider what’s aboard within the price.
Our TS model is one up from the cheapest, but it packs two-zone climate controlled air conditioning, six airbags and alloy wheels: in short, everything you’d want. At a lick over £16,000, the 6 is well priced agin the competition. For us, Ford’s Mondeo just shades it as the more accomplished all-rounder. But if you like a car that drives taut and sweet, the Mazda will do fine.
- 0-60 mph11.4sec
- Insurance groups7E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: