The key changes to the face lifted version of Mazda’s large family hatchback, the Mazda6, are almost entirely cosmetic: a purposeful new nose with a less fussy radiator grille, slit-eye headlamps, new swoopy fog light surrounds and sports alloys on low profile tyres take away some of the blunt edges of the car's predecessor.
Mazda has a strong record for reliability and the current 6 has a better-built cabin than the previous models. The Mazda6 comes well equipped but somehow doesn’t feel ‘expensive’ and the usual hard-wearing plastics are still to be found in the cockpit, so there is no reason to think that this is a car that will be anything less than reliable. The interior is well equipped and entirely functional in sombre grey relieved by low key brightware. We loved the automatic keyless entry/ignition feature, which means that the car ‘knows’ when you are approaching, as we did the quality stitched, heated and electrically adjustable black leather seats which proved both comfortable and supportive on long journeys. Once seated, a fashionable stop/start button gets everything going.
Lots of punch
There are six engines available in the Mazda6: 1.8, 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol and three 2.2-litre turbo diesels with 127bhp, 161bhp or 177bhp, so there's plenty of choice. The petrol engines are capable and the 1.8 is very cheap, but it's the diesels that suit the 6 the best. Subjectively, they all have lots of punch – especially the most powerful 177bhp version – and they're all affordable to run. The 6 is a big car, but it doesn't feel big when you drive it. The steering is light and precise, and there's plenty of grip, so it's safe but fun to drive at the same time.
The entry-level 1.8 S model is competitively priced and undercuts rivals like the Ford Mondeo. Top specification models and diesel engines cost more, but they also represent better value than rivals. Equipment levels are generally good, but it's best to avoid the entry-level S models, as these are short on equipment and can be difficult to sell on as a result. TS and TS2 models offer the best value, as they come with alloy wheels, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, dual-zone climate control and more. Resale values are quite strong, so the Mazda is a safe investment.
Manufacturer’s recommended On The Road price: from £17,805
For information visit: www.mazda.co.uk/showroom/mazda6