I had high hopes for the Mazda 6; my previous car was a Mazda 626 (nothing to be proud of) but I thought it was excellent. Fair enough it lurched around bends like a barge, and this was exacerbated by the least supportive seats I'd ever encountered but the 2.0 engine was potent and flexible and it could return 37mpg normally and 42mpg on the motorway, plus it never missed a beat in the six years I owned it. As a result I pretty much ignored every other make and model and made a bee line for the 6 which had been winning accolades by the dozen and was said to be a world apart from the 626. I admit I rushed into the purchase a little as the model I found was the Katano special edition and I liked the idea of something a little rarer than the regular 6. My first concern was with the dealer, they were messing up the finance even though I was financing through the bank; then I had an issue with one of the roof-rack runner caps being missing which they promised to replace but still hadn't when I picked the car up and then they wouldn't return my calls afterwards.
They couldn't explain why there was no sat-nav, which should have been standard on the Katano model, in fact they didn't know much about a 6's specifications at all for a Mazda dealer! Some front fogs as standard would have been nice too.
The car - I'd expected the 6 to be a couple of mpg better than the 626 being as it was 9 years younger and with a 6 speed box over a 5 speed.
Unfortunately it is about 3 mpg down, returning around 35mpg and strangely even on a long motorway run I've only managed to eke out 38mpg and it bottomed out at 31 mpg when I gave it a leathering.
The 6 is heavier than the 626 with airbags up the wazoo but I think it's the hideous rolling resistance that's largely to blame. Even down hill in neutral the car won't pick up speed and it feels like the handbrake is stuck on sometimes. The rolling resistance also doesn't help with the gear changes which are jerky through a sharp bite on the clutch and the car decelerating the moment you clutch in; you need to be very quick on the change to get anything near a smooth change. Hopefully when it comes to tyre change time I'll get some more eco-friendly tyres which will abate these problems; I can afford for the handling to suffer from less grippy tyres as the handling is far tighter than I (or my passengers) need.
After that though the engine is quite pokey and flexible, speed can drop as low as 25 without having to drop below 6th gear.
On other matters, the rear seat backs are a little too vertical for comfort and I have doubts about the durability of the seat material.
A big concern is the trip computer - firstly you can either use the computer OR see the clock, which is ludicrous, you always want the clock displaying. Second, the mpg shows up as litres per 100 miles or some other such nonsense, which is worthless. And thirdly the fuel remaining calculations are miles out.
The climate control can be annoying too; even with a 7 speed fan it doesn't always prioritise the airflow the way I'd like it.
Other niggles - minor I know - the light for the ignition key slot lights up the key and not the slot you want to insert it in, which is pointless.
After all this it sounds like I absolutely hate the car but I don't; it's been a disappointment in many ways but the engine is nice and flexible, it handles the bends brilliantly and the front seats are comfy even for a six footer, and very supportive in the bends. Also worth noting is the rear seat folding mechanism which is very handy, and the 6 looks good (much better than the new style 6) especially with the Katano's twin pipes, spoiler and alloys.