Expert Reviews

First drive: Mazda 6 Tourer

Thursday 18 August 2016

First drive: Mazda 6 Tourer

After Ford sold its stake in the Hiroshima-based company, the Mazda 6 was the first model to be relaunched, and follows the new CX-5 to market.

The Mazda 6 is available in both saloon and estate form, and is currently Mazda’s flagship car. Since its launch in 2012, it has been refined over the years into the vehicle we have today.

Looks & Image

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Mazda 6 – in estate form – is one of the best-looking cars currently on sale. It is certainly a head-turning car, and could even be the best example of Mazda’s current design philosophy.


The car’s interior is also of a pleasingly high standard. The Sport Nav model that we tested threw in leather upholstery, as well as leather cladding on the dashboard and centre console surround, which served to make the 6’s interior feel that little bit more special.

All of these aspects leave you with a car that is targeted much closer to the premium end of the scale than you would normally expect from a Mazda car. While the 6 might be the car that helps Mazda change this perception, it isn’t certainly isn’t alone in the range today.

Space & Practicality

The Mazda 6 certainly isn’t going to leave you wanting for head or legroom up front, and thanks to a large centre console and plenty of cubbyholes, there is plenty of space to store any bits and bobs you might want to bring along on any journeys.

In the back, a similar trend continues when it comes to the room on offer. The only niggle you might find while sitting in the rear of the Mazda 6 is the transmission tunnel, which might make it a little bit uncomfortable for any passengers who find themselves sat in the middle of the rear bench.

The Mazda boasts a rather capacious boot, too. With the rear seats in place, its offers 522 litres of space, which can be increased to 1,648 litres if you fold them down. While this may not be class-leading exactly, the boot floor is flat and wide, and is accessed by a wide opening. Thanks to catches that release with a single touch, folding the rear seats down is an incredibly easy process.

Behind the Wheel

Thanks to a sensible layout for all of the 6’s controls for features such as the cruise control and infotainment interface, the car has a brilliant driving position. If you opt for the Sport Nav model, like the one we had on test, you will also receive a single-colour heads-up display that shows speed, cruise control setting and navigation information. These are right in your line of sight, which means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.


Adding to the list of pros, is the way the Mazda 6 drives. The Japanese manufacturer has always built some good driver’s cars, attempting to instill the sheer driving thrill exuded by the MX-5 into its everyday family cars, and the Mazda 6 is no exception to this. The gearbox is smooth and precise, the steering is well-balanced and provides a good level of feedback, and there is also an abundance of grip to have fun with.

As Mazda seems to know what’s what when it comes to damping a car, the ride is pretty good in the 6, too. It confidently walks the line between being stiff enough to offer an exciting drive through the corners, yet is still soft enough to not impair comfort levels. However, the large 19-inch alloys we had fitted to our car may not ride as well as a Mazda 6 on the smaller wheels you see on lower-specification models.

Value for Money

When it comes to the cost of keeping the Mazda 6 topped up with fuel, you’ll find they are on par with most other cars in this class. The 6 Tourer we tested had a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 61.4mpg, similar to other vehicles of this ilk. In the real world, you will witness economy figure in the low to mid 50mpg range – again, not dramatically different from its rivals.

Technology wise, the Mazda is rather impressive. Adding to the leather and the heads-up display already mentioned is adaptive LED headlighting , a seven-inch infotainment screen with navigation, DAB and internet radio, Bluetooth connectivity, dual zone air conditioning, a Bose surround sound system, reversing camera with parking sensors and keyless entry.

All this tech comes at a price, though. In the specification we had on our test car, you will be looking to spend slightly more than £29,000. However, if you were to spec this car’s key rivals to similar levels of equipment, you’ll end up spending even more.

Who would buy one ?

Nearly anybody really. The Mazda 6 does all things most people would ever require of it remarkably well.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Mazda 6 Tourer Sport Nav, from £29,045

Engine: 2.2-litre turbodiesel producing 173bhp and 310lb/ft

Transmission: 6-speed manual, driving front wheels

Performance: Top speed 137mph, 0-62mph in 8.0 seconds

Economy: 61.4mpg combined

Emissions: 121g/km

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