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
Even in estate guise, the Mazda 6 manages to look stylish and dynamic. The sharp nose and sculpted front wings provide a sporty look, and the extended roofline has been integrated well with the rest of the car. SE-L models and above add silver roof rails, while all cars get distinctive LED daytime running lights.
You have to move up to Sport trim if you want xenons, while metallic paint is a worthwhile £540 option as it gives the 6 Tourer a welcome visual boost.
Inside, the 6 Tourer looks a bit fussy and dated. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the layout – the way the centre console design emulates the grille is a neat touch – it’s just that the mass of rotary dials and switches gives the dash a cluttered look.
Elsewhere, the TomTom sat-nav looks small and clunky when compared to more recent rivals, although this will be rectified with the imminent facelift.
The seats are comfortable, too, although if you want leather trim, you need to upgrade to Sport spec.
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 diesel engine is refined, so motorway cruising is effortless, while cruise control comes as standard. And the relative size of the 6 Tourer shouldn’t be much of an issue when parking, as front and rear sensors come as standard on SE-L models.
While Mazda, like all Japanese makers, has a strong reputation for building reliable cars, the 6 didn’t have a solid start when it was launched at the start of 2013. We have heard reports of electrical niggles, as well a braking issue on some cars. However, these are early production teething troubles which should be resolved on later examples.
If you do need to get a problem sorted, you can be sure of decent service from Mazda’s 170 UK dealers. They came a respectable 12th out of 32 in our Driver Power 2014 satisfaction survey.
You get six airbags in the 6 Tourer, while hill hold, tyre pressure monitors and a smart city braking system are all standard. Euro NCAP awarded the 6 a maximum score of five stars for safety when it was tested in 2013, and it has a higher percentage score for adult protection than the new Mondeo.
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.