The new Mazda6, with its more extrovert styling and some serious efficiency gains, is now a much more credible contender in the large executive saloon stakes. Even the Germans must be raising their eyebrows!
Some of the design cues from the sporting RX8 seem to have been incorporated into the new Mazda corporate face. A deep grille and swept-back curves add to its appeal. This is a handsome shape that does stand out from the rest.
The 6 is the latest model to benefit from the company’s Skyactiv technology. Rather than go hybrid, Mazda thinks the way forward lies in reducing the weight and improving the efficiency of its orthodox engines. The results are impressive.
Take the 148bhp version of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine for example. This drives well and quietly with acceleration to 62mph in nine seconds. Given its performance, the economy figures are very creditable with 67mpg on the combined cycles. Emissions of 108g/km make this a attractive car for business users.
Other engine options include a more powerful 173bhp version of this turbodiesel that still returns 62mpg combined. Then there are two takes on a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 143 or 163bhp and with relatively good consumption and emissions – as low as 129g/km.
On the road in the diesel, progress is brisk and the engine is subdued most of the time. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox with a precise short movement. A good spread of torque from this engine means that you do not have to row the box much.
This turbo diesel engine copes with fast cruising and town work with equal ease. It is running a little more than a brisk tick-over when you are at the motorway limit. That means efficiency and economy from an unstressed engine.
Inside there is plenty of space – this 6 is bigger than the previous one. The boot is of a decent 489 litre size. Seats are very comfortable and the layout is clear and effective. There are conventional dials visible through the wheel and a large screen on the central console for navigation and entertainment controls. With a big control knob, this is similar to the norm on more expensive German saloons.
The Mazda6 can challenge the best on looks, performance and economy. It is priced from £19,595 and has a very competitive specification. This new generation is the best ever.
Mazda6 2.2 TD
ENGINE – 2.2-litre turbo diesel
POWER – 148bhp
ACCELERATION – 0-62 in 9.0 seconds
TOP SPEED – 131mph
ECONOMY – 67mpg combined
EMISSIONS – 108g/km
PRICE – from £21,795
Review by Derek Black. You can contact Derek here.