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Mazda 6 saloon 2.2d SE-L Nav review

Date: 21 September 2016   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £23,840
Key rival: Skoda Superb

Mazda is a brand on the move, sales in Europe are up 28% so far this year (Jan-June) and the firm celebrated its best ever performance in 2015.

To keep its top-selling cars in-line with the competition, the Japanese carmaker has updated its 3 and 6 model ranges for 2016 and we travelled to Barcelona to drive the biggest member of the Mazda family in saloon guise to see how these latest changes stack up.

What's new?

To call this latest Mazda 6 a facelift would be significantly overstating things; it's more of a mild tweak with only a few design and kit enhancements included.

The changes include new indicator lights, a new steering wheel design and greater sound insulation in the cabin.  The driver TFT display has also received an upgrade, which is a marked improvement, but still cannot compete with the Volkswagen Passat's new Active Display or the excellent Audi Virtual Cockpit available in the A4

Mazda 6 Side

The introduction of the firms G-Vectoring Control system, which makes its Mazda debut in both the saloon and Tourer 6 models, is the big news from this update, though.

Standard across the range, the technology works by adjusting engine output in response to the steering to help achieve smoother, more efficient load transference during cornering for better grip and responsiveness. The system also minimises the amount of corrective steering needed by the driver, thus creating a more relaxed driving experience behind the wheel.

Smooth ride

Going against the grain when it comes to downsizing engines has become something of a norm for Mazda and its excellent 2.2-litre diesel gets the balance right between running costs and outright power.

Diesel makes up 75% of sales here in the UK for the 6 and this 150hp version is the most popular, particularly with company car drivers.

Offering a good mix of economy and pace, the 0-62mph sprint is officially achieved in 9.1 seconds, while a 72.4mpg combined figure is competitive with main rivals like the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.

CO2 emissions of 107g/km are also impressive for a car of this size, meaning a 21% BIK band for the current 2016/17 year and monthly tax bills of £83.63 for a 20% payer.  

Mazda 6 Rear

The car feels lively on its fleet and the engine is impeccably smooth. Available with a six-speed manual or six-speed auto (costs £1200 extra), both units are worthy of consideration, but the manual suits the engines calm nature a little better in our opinion.

Upgrades to the sound insulation are noticeable and comfort levels, which were already good in the previous 6, are now excellent, in particular ride quality, which proved superb even on more challenging terrain.

The steering is well-weighted and smooth too, and thanks to the new GVC system, requires minimal corrective steering by the driver.

Mid-range spec

There's no price increase for this latest update and here we're testing the 6 in mid-range SE-L Nav trim. Although reasonably equipped with front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, 7-inch infotainment system with rotary dial, satnav, DAB radio and cruise control all included, SportNav would be our pick of the range as it offers better value for money.

For just £2500 extra or £8.56 a month for a 20% payer, drivers also get a reversing camera, leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a premium sound system, adaptive LED lights, larger 19-inch alloy wheels and keyless entry as standard. 

Mazda 6 Inside

So value for money gets a big tick and the materials used around the cabin are, for the most part, good quality and durable. There are a few niggles, though, the satnav is a little frustrating to use at times - there are more dynamic and intuitive systems available from rivals - plus the 7-inch infotainment screen looks more like a tablet which has been bolted onto the dashboard and isn't big enough either. 

Dimensions remain unchanged

This latest incarnation of the 6 makes no changes to the dimensions of the car so space wise, expect the same story as the previous model.

Although not as spacious as the Skoda Superb, the boot is large and practical at 480 litres and the there's plenty of rear leg and headroom on offer. Inside the cabin there's also an array of handy storage options, plus two USB ports - ideal for charging multiple devices on the move.

We don't have the whole-life cost figures for this revised model yet, but the previous Mazda 6 in this combination offered a strong 51.8p per-mile figure, bettered by the Skoda Superb, but surpassing the Volkswagen Passat's figure.

Mazda will be hoping for a residual value uplift over the previous model too, which couldn't match up to the comparable Superb's figure of 42.11% at 33.14%.

Mazda 6 2.2 150hp SE-L Nav

Model price range: £19,795-£27-995
Fuel consumption: 72.4mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 107g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £83/£167
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space: 480 litres
Engine size/power: 2191cc/150hp

Verdict


Stylish, smooth and exceptionally comfortable, the 'tweaked' Mazda 6 doesn't move the game forwards but maintains its appeal.
8/10
  • Supreme comfort levels
  • Versatile diesel engine
  • Strong running costs
  • Eye-catching design
  • Onboard tech not as advanced as some
  • Not as practical as rivals
  • Weak residual values

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