New Mazda 6 Saloon

5 Oct, 2012 4:00pm Damion Smy

New Mazda 6 saloon aims for the top of the family class, with a mix of style, fun and efficiency


The Mazda 6 injects some style into the family car market, but its talents are more than skin deep. While the interior is conservative, it’s sophisticated and well made, while the kit count is exceptional. The 6 handles well for its size, and strikes a great balance between performance and fuel efficiency. This is a car you’ll buy with your heart and your head.

The market for large family saloons is shrinking rapidly, but there’s still money to be made if the product is right. And the new Mazda 6 could be just the ticket – its elegant looks are straight from the Takeri concept, plus the most economical model, driven here, returns over 70mpg.

The handsome new 6 is also bigger, wider and longer than its forebear, and with shorter overhangs. This means more cabin space, with plenty of legroom up front and in the back.

However, if luggage capacity is key, you’ll need the estate, as the saloon has less boot space than before – with 489 litres against the old car’s 510 litres.

Whichever you go for, the cabin is elegant and sophisticated, with well finished surfaces and clever use of quality coverings on the things you touch. We just wish the design inside was more daring.

Three spec levels are offered; SE, SE-L and Sport. The entry-level SE has LED daytime running lights, foglamps and 17-inch alloys. Our mid-spec SE-L adds 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and front and rear parking sensors, while the Sport model includes xenon lights, keyless entry and a reversing camera.

The 6 is the second product of Mazda’s SkyActiv weight and fuel-saving programme (after the CX-5), and is nearly 50kg lighter and far more economical than the previous model. Our 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel will be the biggest seller, and you can see why – improved aerodynamics and other efficiency gains mean this car delivers an incredible 72.4mpg and 104g/km of CO2.

Also debuting on the 6 is the new ‘i-Eloop’ system. This fills a capacitor with energy generated under braking or coasting, to power the air-con when the engine’s off, saving up to 10 per cent in fuel. It’s standard on the SE-L and Sport.

On the road, the 2.2-litre engine is smooth and fairly refined – unless you use full throttle, when you can hear a light diesel clatter. There’s lots of power once the turbo spins up, and while throttle response can be a little slow, on the whole, there’s more than enough performance for everyday use.

The ride is excellent, even on our SE-L’s 19-inch wheels. Grip levels are high, too, while Mazda’s sporty DNA is evident in the sharp steering and well controlled body roll. But the 6 does feel big from behind the wheel and a bit more feedback from the front wheels would be good.

The SE-L and Sport models also have impressive standard safety features, with Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) and Smart Braking Support (SBS). Both brake the car automatically, with the former bringing it to a complete stop at low speeds and the latter slowing it down if a high-speed impact is imminent. Buyers can add plenty of hi-tech options, too, including radar cruise control and lane departure warning.

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Nice to see the moronic AutoExpress Gestapo team out in force holding each others cocks as they delete peoples posts.

Pathetic. Just like this POS Ford-derived car.

someone should remove your comment, unsuitable for children who may be reading this don't you think?

Looks good, almost Jaguar-esque. Should make an interesting alternative to the default saloon choices.

The mk1 '6' was a good looker, especially in MPS form. Unfortunately the current model is a bit slab sided.

And why then should children be reading this site in the first place? How many car makers sell cars to kids? And why arent parents regulating the sites their kids frequent?

Have some decorum and grow up. If anyones stupid comment should be removed, its YOURS.

I agree with Checkley. Your comment has gone so I can't read it but personally I would like to feel that I could let my car mad child read something like Auto Express without needing moderation.

In answer to your question - car makers will sell cars to pretty much all kids - eventually.

Many thought Mazda would fail when Ford withdrew their support and platforms. They've come back stronger by the look of this.

I have owned a number of Mazda's because they are reliable and easy to live with. They are also suprisingly good to drive.

Can't remember when I last saw a Mazda 6 saloon - only the hatch. With only the Insignia & Mondeo left as hatches in this segment I think Mazda will struggle for sales....

I would like to see how effiecient this is in the real world. I think it's time AE does another eco test.

No, car makers do not sell cars to kids. When the kids grow up, thats a different matter. So your half-baked fence-sitting answer to my question was both stupid and needless.

Actually Homer J Simpson most of your posts on here are either misinformed, purile, immature or just offensive. I am very happy to let my son browse car sites as they are safe places to go. Unfortunately sometimes people like you are the ones that give cause to us parents having to check what our children are reading. Having said that I also find your posts offensive so if you want to post vile abuse of people or companies can I ask you to choose a site where your irrelevant and unwanted comments are shared by equally pointless people

It looks really nice. It has got more than a faint whiff of an Audi A7 to it.

That interior is awful !

If you had bothered to check and do your homework first being being let loose on your keyboard, you will find that whatever "offensive" post I made was only as a direct result of the AutoExpress Gestapo who deleted a comment I made about this car in question. The remark I made was in no way offensive, but they still thought it "wise" to select it for deletion.

So no, people "like me" do not spoil it for anyone, even your son who shouldnt be on a site geared for an adult audience. I'll defer to you to better parent your son in matters relating to visiting adult websites. If you have a bone of contention to pick, irrespective if you disagree with my views on various cars, then take that up with the resident Gestapo at AutoExpress. Thanks. HJS.

Ah that well known adult site Auto Express. Explain to someone that they are purile, ill informed and probably emotionally immature and they proove it - brilliant, well done Homer J Simpson, Matt Groening would be proud.

And unfortunately Homer J Simpson you have turned up to a battle of wits unarmed, although I am not sure you will understand that....

Ok HJS....come on show us that there is some substance behind that facade, some intelligence, some rational thought behind your comments about the car. Let's have a conversation, why don't you like it, but be objective, explain your dislikes with examples founded in reality and truth, not irrational outbursts. Let's see if ther is any real thinking behind the persona that is Homer Jay Simpson. Come on demonstrate you are more tha nthe face and reason for removing trailer parks.

Battle of wits?

Clearly you possess little of that if thats what you say/think. I'm not battling anyone.

You really are not very bright are you. Like I said, you will not understand.....

I was thinking Mercedes CLS, with the aggressive nose.

Great car - I just can't believe there is no DAB radio option! why on earth not???

Key specs

  • Price: £22,595
  • Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 148bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62/top speed: 9.1 secs/130mph
  • Economy/CO2: 72.4mpg/104g/km
  • Equipment: City Safety autobrake, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels
  • On sale: Now