Mazda 6 Tourer review
The Mazda 6 Tourer is a spacious, economical and well-made estate that rivals the Ford Mondeo
The Mazda 6 Tourer estate has lots of space, lots of tech but doesn’t cost lots to run. It has been developed using Mazda’s ‘SkyActiv’ philosophy, which focuses on fuel efficiency and low CO2, making it a great company car choice and a cost-effective family car. It’ll be cheaper to run than a VW Passat Estate, Ford Mondeo Estate or Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer. There are three trim levels offered and a choice of efficient petrol and diesel engines. Equipment on the SE includes 17-inch alloys, air-conditioning as well as cruise control and a 5.8-inch touchscreen.
Our choice: 6 SE-L 2.2-litre diesel
The Mazda 6 Tourer is one of the most handsome estates on the market and makes the Mondeo, Passat and Insignia estates look dull in comparison. It takes the saloon’s styling, which is designed to appear like an animal in motion, and transfers the look well to the estate car body. It’s actually on an 80mm shorter wheelbase than the saloon, but shares the same chrome ‘wing’ embedded in the front grille, with daytime running lights and similar character lines flowing down its sides. The silver roofrails and chrome window surrounds give it a premium look, as does the chrome rear number-plate surround that reflects the front grille design.
Despite its size, the Mazda 6 Tourer doesn’t feel big or ungainly to drive. Instead, there’s a great driving position with good all-round visibility. The petrol engines feel the most athletic, with good response and smooth power delivery, but the diesels are the standouts here. The powerful 173bhp diesel paired with the six-speed manual transmission is the fastest, with a 7.9-second 0-62mph time that’s achieved in a quiet, refined manner. Yet the other engines aren’t sluggish, either. The ride is comfortable and body control is good, too, showing that the Mazda 6 has been engineered with a fun driving experience in mind.
The 6 Tourer isn’t short of safety features, with a host of airbags, ABS and even a Hill Holder standard across the range. Every model is also equipped with an emergency braking system called ‘Smart City Braking Support’ (SCBS), which prevents a collision by using radar to sense a stationary object ahead before bringing the car to a complete halt. The radar system can also be used for the optional active cruise control, which maintains a safe distance from vehicles ahead, as well as a blind-sport warning system. A three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is the industry standard, but Mazda has built a good reputation for reliability over its 80-year history. It finished 17th out of 30 in the 2012 Driver Power survey, just ahead of Volkswagen.
While the 6 Tourer can’t quite match the Ford Mondeo’s boot space (1,740 litres versus 1,648 litres with the rear seats folded) it’s still competitive. Usefully, Mazda has made the boot opening squarer in shape along its bottom edge, making loading flat packs and the like easier. The 6 Tourer isn’t just about load space, though, as its larger dimensions mean it offers more interior passenger space than before, with its extended roofline giving it a clear rear headroom advantage over the Mazda 6 saloon. There’s also a selection of cubby holes, with map pockets and cup holders. But while there are door bins capable of carrying a one-litre bottle, their shape means they’re not suitable for carrying anything else.
So does this ‘SkyActiv’ fuel-saving stuff actually work? The 6 Tourer proves that it does, posting great mpg figures and low CO2 for low tax bills. The 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine is the most efficient, returning 64.2mpg and 116g/km of CO2. You need the mid-level SE-L to achieve these numbers, though, as it comes with the new i-Eloop regenerative braking system. That’s an improvement of around 18 and 21 per cent compared to the outgoing model but, more importantly, puts it ahead of the Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0-litre diesel’s 57.7mpg and 129g/km. It takes the smaller 1.6-litre diesel Mondeo Estate to better the Mazda’s figures, with the smaller-engined Ford managing 65.7mpg and 114g/km of CO2. The Honda Accord Tourer can’t match this, either, with its best of 51.4mpg and 143g/km.