2018 Mazda 6 Review
Our Rating

4/5

2018 Mazda 6 Review

Mazda has given its 6 saloon and Tourer a refresh. We get behind the wheel to see if the update is enough to keep it competitive.

Introduction

Mazda has been on a winning streak with its cars recently. Best known for the iconic MX-5 sports car, the firm has expanded its appeal through the launch of its CX-3 and CX-5 SUVs, as well as its more grass roots products – the 2,3 and 6.

In an effort to keep the 6 competitive, the firm has given both the 6 saloon and Tourer estate model a well-needed refresh, after it was introduced in 2012.

On first impressions, the changes don’t seem hugely significant but it’s under the surface where the changes most prominent. The biggest addition is the introduction of a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine – a rarity in a world where downsizing to meet emissions regulations is the big topic.

Subtle visual tweaks have helped to give the 6 a more aggressive look, while the cabin has also been overhauled to keep it in-line with the rest of Mazda’s range.

Performance

We got behind the wheel of the aforementioned 2.5-litre petrol engine. It’s a four-cylinder unit, which is solely paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

It produces 191bhp and 258Nm of torque, and is an excellent unit best-suited to cruising, although it can accelerate from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds. Cylinder deactivation technology halves the number of cylinders used to help improve efficiency as well.

While the engine delivers plentiful power, the six-speed automatic gearbox feels somewhat sluggish and indecisive when choosing the correct gear.

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Ride and handling

Mazda has received long-standing recognition for the way its cars drive – whether that be the MX-5 or 90bhp 2 supermini. Thankfully, the 6 is no exception to this rule. Tuned suspension to improve comfort has also not affected the way it drives. It’s one of the most rewarding estate cars to drive, with the ability to bring a smile to your face which even some hot hatches can’t manage.

It’s also just as capable on the motorway as it is around town, with improved refinement helping on the former and a 360-degree camera helping with parking and navigating tight roads.

Interior and equipment

Mazda has overhauled the 6’s interior to bring it in-line with the firm’s other products. A dashboard-mounted eight-inch touchscreen is one of the biggest differences, and replaces the smaller unit which was placed in the dash.

Interior quality is also excellent, and the refresh has done a sterling job of making the 6 feel more upmarket.  

Practicality impresses whether you opt for the saloon or Tourer, with the saloon offering 483 litres of boot space and the estate 522 litres with all the seats in place.

Our test car was the range-topping GT Sport Nav+ grade, which comes excellently specced with equipment such as Ultrasuede and Japanese Sen wood trim, ventilated and heated seats and a sunroof. Standard safety equipment includes radar-guided cruise control, blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking.

Cost

Prices for the new Mazda 6 start from £23,195, and can rise to £33,585.

Our 2.5-litre petrol GT Sport Nav+ grade car came in at £32,695, which might seem a lot on paper but considering the equipment levels on offer and punchy petrol engine, it’s good value – particularly when you look at what similar money would get you from a German brand.

This larger-than-average petrol engine might not be the most efficient unit, with a claimed fuel economy figure of 42.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 153g/km, but a smaller 2.0-litre petrol unit is available for improved economy. While no diesels engine are in the line-up at the moment, one will join the line-up from September.

Verdict

Despite it being based on an ageing platform and design, Mazda has done a seriously impressive job of updating the 6 to keep it competitive against rivals such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat.

Few estates and saloons at this price point can deliver such a rewarding driving experience, and the addition of the 2.5-litre unit has only boosted the Mazda 6’s appeal.

With superb equipment levels, excellent practicality and handsome looks, it’s one of the best-value packages on today’s market.

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