Mazda 6 Review

Find out more about the Mazda 6 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Very good reliability
  • Great to drive
  • Strong and economical diesel engines

Cons

  • Petrol engines are a let down
  • Ride can be firm
  • Interior finish can be low on quality
  • MPG

    41 - 64

  • CO2

    117 - 156 g/km

Model Review

Brought in as a replacement for the 626, the Mazda 6 was introduced to the UK in 2002 and immediately – due to its size and performance – came up against the dominant Ford Mondeo in the family saloon category.

Thanks to its refreshing looks and exciting drive feel, the Mazda 6 was a worthwhile rival to the Mondeo and the Volkswagen Passat and with the choice of hatchback, saloon and estate models it could battle with the both of them in terms of practicality.

With the second generation in 2007 came a more modern look – that Mazda always manage to achieve – and improved quality, which helped to push the 6 further up in the family saloon reckoning.

In 2012, Mazda brought the third generation to the market but took away the hatchback option so that it was more focused on the market of its rivals. The model was updated in 2015 with a further minor update brought in for the start of 2017.

Latest Model

As a continuation of the Mark 2’s styling, the 2013 release of the third generation brought a more mature Mazda 6 and one that continued the brand’s ethos of focusing on driving feel and reliability.

This model did see the retraction of the hatchback version, which was arguably more practical than the saloon, but that meant Mazda could focus more on the saloon models of its rivals and produce a better challenger for the sector.

Fitted with SkyActiv technology to help save fuel, the updated model also came with a refined and more premium interior so it was battling more upmarket models, such as BMW’s 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class, although not quite hitting the heights of its German competitors.

Also coming with plenty of technological features, such as a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, lane keep assist and G-Vectoring Control for stability through corners, the latest generation Mazda 6 is crammed with features that make it a worthy challenger in the shrinking saloon market.

 

Value for money

Due to the improved quality of the third generation, the prices of the 6 have gone up, but with that comes a much more comfortable experience from the base trim and in SE spec, the model has good features. Coming with a leather steering wheel and gear knob, seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth and DAB radio, manual air conditioning, cruise control and daytime running lights.

Also fitted with emergency brake assist, hill hold assist and traction control, the Mazda 6 in SE trim has plenty to offer. Starting at £19,995 for the saloon model, while the estate ‘Tourer’ model starts at £23,795.

However, due to the model’s not so recent release in 2013, new style models are available in a top level specification. For example, a 2014 Mazda 6 Tourer model in Sport Nav trim is available for £16,750 – over £3,000 less than a new base spec model – and with just over 17,000 miles on the clock, it is still in good condition.

Coming with a 5.8-inch touchscreen media system and satellite navigation, Bluetooth, Bose speaker system, leather trim, electric windows, reversing camera with parking guidance and sensors and cruise control.

Fitted with a 2.2-litre 173bhp diesel engine and automatic gearbox, the model can return over 50mpg, which for a used model is pretty good going. Clearly, due to Mazda’s great reliability, used examples of the Mazda 6 are both available in good condition and for a very good price.

 

Looks and image

Compared to some of the other mid-size saloons, the Mazda 6 is a more desirable model in terms of its modern looks and sleeker appearance. This look helps to make it feel more premium than before and the Tourer does a very similar job. In the top Sport Nav trim, the 19-inch alloys add further modern styling touches that complement the chrome detailing on the grille and around the lights.

Like with other Mazdas, the 6 has been engineered to offer a great driving experience and with further technological updates underneath the skin of the car, it is one of the best driving saloons on the market.With well-weighted and responsive steering, the 6 is aided by is

With well-weighted and responsive steering, the 6 is aided by is sports-orientated suspension, which helps to offer lots of grip and steering feedback. Although the newly added G-Vectoring torque delivery system is fitted to aid cornering and comfort, it doesn’t alter the performance significantly.When paired with the rather impressive diesel engines, performance is on par with the class leaders, but the petrol engines can be found wanting and might not provide the feel expected. Body roll is also kept under wraps surprisingly well and it feels light on its feet throughout the corners.

When paired with the rather impressive diesel engines, performance is on par with the class leaders, but the petrol engines can be found wanting and might not provide the feel expected. Body roll is also kept under wraps surprisingly well and it feels light on its feet throughout the corners.

Despite the sporty springs underneath, only the larger 19-inch wheels offer a firm ride and even then it is only at slower speeds. Otherwise, the 6 is well composed and is a great long range cruiser that is comfortable for both drivers and passengers.The seats are mostly comfortable for all, with only taller people suffering slightly in the front two seats and with rear headroom. It is

The seats are mostly comfortable for all, with only taller people suffering slightly in the front two seats and with rear headroom. It is well-refined on the whole and only the styled wing mirrors offering any kind of wind noise while at motorway speeds.

Space and practicality

After dropping the hatchback model, the 6 has suffered in terms of interior space but it still has a respectable load area when compared to its rivals. At 483 litres the 6 is in the middle of the pack, with other options such as the Kia Optima and Hyundai i40 all having larger boots.

With the rear seats folded down in the Tourer you will have much more space and with the chairs folding down flat, there is an expansive storage space of more than 1660 litres, which for an estate is pretty impressive.

With the rear seats folded down in the Tourer you will have much more space and with the chairs folding down flat, there is an expansive storage space of more than 1660 litres, which for an estate is pretty impressive.

As with modern Mazda models, safety is at a high level and with a five-star Euro NCAP rating, the 6 is at the now-expected level as well. Also coming with safety systems, such as emergency brake assist, hill hold assist and traction control as standard, other features like city brake support – for emergency stops at speeds up to 31mph – and adaptive headlights are also available, but at higher trims and for added premiums.

Both the saloon and Tourer models have plenty of space for family accessories and are fitted with Isofix points for child seats and so on. With plenty of rear space and a comfortable rear seating layout, long journeys are very bearable for people in the back. There is plenty of storage pockets and spaces for random bits and pieces throughout, making it very handy for most.

 

Engines

With two power outputs available in both petrol and diesel guises, there is a rather limited choice. Of the two 2.0-litre petrol engines, only the 143bhp option has both manual and automatic gearboxes on offer, while the 162bhp model only has a manual gearbox. Available across the whole range of trims, the 2.2-litre 148bhp diesel with manual gearbox will probably be the most popular option and although there is a 172bhp engine also available, the 148bhp is well refined for all conditions. Both diesels can be fitted with manual and automatic gearboxes.

 

Running costs

With its diesel engines the pick of the bunch, both options can achieve well over 50mpg in both manual and automatic guises, with the 148bhp manual choice able to achieve 68.9mpg in the saloon and 67.3mpg in the Tourer. The automatic gearboxes bring fuel efficiency down by a considerable amount, so the smart money is with the manual models. Insurance groups thankfully are quite limited in number and throughout the range the difference isn’t too great.

The SE-L model with the 142bhp petrol is in group 16 while the top spec Sport example with 172bhp diesel is in group 23. Following the recent change in road tax, all the models will be subject to a charge of at least £140 in the first year and £140 every year thereafter.

Things to look out for

As with most other Mazda models, the 6 is very reliable – especially in its current guise – and only minor problems have befallen it in the past. First generation versions fuel leakage issues, while second generation models had air bag failures, all of which could have been fixed through a servicing appointment. Most of the models are very reliable and have only limited problems, meaning that if you are buying it is safe to check the car’s history for any minor issues.

 

Rivals

As families are moving more towards crossovers and SUVs, the saloon market is becoming more cutthroat and the Mazda 6 has got plenty of competition. The Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen’s Passat and the Vauxhall Insignia are the main rivals, but the more premium versions are aiming for the likes of BMW’s 3 Series, the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4. Although it is probably a generation too soon, the Mazda 6 can compete in terms of drive feel and Sport Nav interior finish.

 

Depreciation warning

Thanks to the reliability and quality throughout the range, the Mazda 6 continues the brand’s great residual values on the used market. Thanks to its more upmarket feel, its holding similar value to the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Insignia at the mid-30 percent mark, while also doing well compared to more premium rivals. With current body models on the used market, the more premium looking models perform the best.

Which 6 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

2.0 SE-L Nav+ 4dr

Most MPG

2.2d SE-L Nav+ 4dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

2.5 GT Sport Nav+ 4dr Auto

Trims Explained

Mazda is offering the 6 in three main trim levels, with all available on both the saloon and Tourer models. That may leave passengers with limited choice, but even from the base level the Mazda 6 is well equipped.

SE

From the base SE spec, Mazda fits a seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with command control, Bluetooth, DAB radio with USB connectivity, leather steering wheel and gear knob and manual air conditioning. In terms of safety features, Mazda adds hill hold assist, emergency brake assist, traction control and cruise control, with other features including daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels. SE Nav is an additional level that includes satellite navigation as standard.

The SE trim starts from £19,995 in saloon form, while SE Nav has a starting price of £20,695.

SE-L Nav

SE-L Nav adds a more premium feel to the 6, with additional features including front and rear parking sensors, smart city brake support, dual-zone climate control, dusk-sensing lights and power-folding door mirrors. The Tourer model also gets roof rails in this trim, while both the saloon and estate versions get satellite navigation as standard.

For the saloon, SE-L Nav starts at £21,595, while the Tourer version demands a £22,825 starting price.

Sport Nav

There is a significant step up to the top trim level in terms of price, as Sport Nav demands a £3,000 premium over SE-L Nav. In Mazda’s defence, however, there is a good step in quality between the two trims as they fit LED headlights and daytime running lights, adaptive front lighting, reversing camera, head-up display, traffic sign recognition and keyless entry. Other features include black leather trim, 19-inch alloy wheels and a Bose surround-sound system, while Mazda also gives the option to add radar cruise control, the brand’s safety pack and a stone leather seat trim, although the black leather looks smart enough as it is.

The Sport Nav trim starts from £24,795 for the saloon, with the Tourer model demanding a £25,895 starting point.

Summary

  1. One of the best to drive in the sector
  2. Continues Mazda’s great reliability
  3. Used models available in current body design
  4. Competitive used prices compared to rivals
  5. Pricing is similar to rivals
  6. Saloon has average storage compared to market best
  7. Price jumps can be large in trims
  8. Petrol engines are surprisingly not as refined
  9. Diesel options provide great performance for everyone
  10. Good standard of features from base level

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