Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Mazda 6 review

Mazda's large saloon is a strong alternative to the VW Passat or Ford Mondeo thanks to its great handling and generous kit

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£24,130 to £33,810
  • Great to drive
  • Stylish looks
  • Lots of kit
  • Saloon only
  • Firm ride on big wheels
  • Revvy petrol engines

The Mazda 6 has long been an Auto Express favourite, winning the Best Family Car category in our 2013 and 2014 New Car Awards. The fact that it's still one of the best in its class after this length of time shows just how good it is. 

The 6 is one of very few family saloons that is genuinely fun to drive, with sporty road manners and some impressive engines that do a fine job of combining strong performance and good fuel economy. Low CO2 emissions will find favour with fleet drivers, too, as does the Mazda’s keen pricing, which makes rivals look a bit expensive.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Although it’s not available as a hatchback, both the saloon and Tourer estate provide plenty of room inside for five people, plus generous boot capacities. The crisp, sporty lines don’t impact too much on space, although it's not the most practical in this class. Consistent updates have made the car even better, too. 

The Mazda 6 is available as a saloon or estate in its current guise, which means it's well placed for bagging a sale or two in a class of family cars that includes the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia Grand SportVW Passat, Skoda Superb, Hyundai i40 and Kia Optima. But there's one highlight of the Mazda 6 that puts it at the front of the pack, and that's the fact it's entertaining to drive.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Mazda 6 is the successor to the Mazda 626, which carried the flag for Mazda's family cars from the late 1970s all the way to 2002, when it was replaced by the 6. Since then, the Mazda 6 has gone through three generations, with the current version arriving in dealers in 2012.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Best executive cars

This model reverted to a four-door saloon shape after the last car's hatchback body, while the 6 Tourer estate is also offered. But while the 6 has been around for a few years now, Mazda has given it annual improvements to help it stay competitive. There was additional tech included in 2015, as well as a facelift, more updates in 2016 and then a more significant facelift in 2018. This has helped the Mazda 6 remain up-to-date, while its sporty character hasn't been lost with any of the model revisions. Indeed, Mazda's G-Vectoring system, which was added on 2016 models onwards, is designed to enhance the car's handling even further.

Like the majority of large family cars, the Mazda 6 is front-engined and front-wheel drive. But unlike a lot of rivals, Mazda has focused on weight saving to help the 6 deliver good economy, with the agile handling coming as a fringe benefit. Mazda has also chosen a 'right-size' philosophy for engines, so instead of downsizing and adding turbos to its petrol engine line-up, like most rivals have done, you get large-capacity 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre engines, called SkyActiv-G. There's also the 2.2-litre turbodiesel called SkyActiv-D, but again that's a bigger capacity than most rivals.

The 2.0-litre petrol comes in 145PS and 165PS guises with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The 145PS engine can be had with an auto, while the 194PS 2.5-litre petrol is auto-only. The 2.2 diesel comes in 150PS and 184PS forms, both of which can be had with a six-speed manual or auto.

The 2018 update saw all trim levels given a spec upgrade, so now the line-up comprises SE-L Nav+, SE-L Lux Nav+, Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+. Not all engines come in all trims, and the most powerful 2.5 petrol and 2.2 diesel are only offered in GT Sport Nav+ spec. Prices range from around £23,250 to £33,750, while the Mazda 6 Tourer estate has a premium of around £1,000 over the saloon.

For an alternative review of the latest Mazda 6 Saloon visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Advertisement

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 SE-L Nav+ 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £24,130

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.2d SE-L Nav+ 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,130

Fastest

  • Name
    2.5 GT Sport Nav+ 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,510
Advertisement

More on 6

Mazda 6 2.5 GT Sport Nav+: long-term test review
Mazda 6 long termer - final report header
Mazda 6 Saloon
9 May 2019

Mazda 6 2.5 GT Sport Nav+: long-term test review

Final report: as the new MX-5 takes its place, we bid farewell to our much-loved Mazda 6 family car
Mazda 6 vs Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs Skoda Superb
Mazda 6 vs Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs Skoda Superb - header
Mazda 6
16 Sep 2018

Mazda 6 vs Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport vs Skoda Superb

Can large family cars still make an impact? We test the new Mazda 6 against the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport and Skoda Superb
New Mazda 6 2018 facelift review
New Mazda 6 - Front Motion
Mazda 6 Saloon
17 Jul 2018

New Mazda 6 2018 facelift review

Mazda's 6 gets another refresh with cabin quality and tech boosts but it's still the sharp drive that stands out
Advertisement
UK prices revealed for updated 2018 Mazda 6
Mazda 6 - front
Mazda 6
21 Mar 2018

UK prices revealed for updated 2018 Mazda 6

Refreshed Mazda saloon to hit UK showrooms later this year, with a 2.5-litre petrol engine now offered
Mazda 6 Tourer review
Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2D front
Mazda 6 Estate
15 Mar 2018

Mazda 6 Tourer review

The Mazda 6 Tourer is a spacious, economical and well-made estate that rivals the Ford Mondeo
Facelifted 2018 Mazda 6 Tourer uncovered at Geneva
Mazda 6 Tourer - Geneva front
Mazda 6
6 Mar 2018

Facelifted 2018 Mazda 6 Tourer uncovered at Geneva

The Mazda 6 Tourer estate has been updated, with subtle exterior and extensive interior changes
Used Mazda 6 review
Used Mazda 6 - front
Mazda 6 Saloon
20 Jan 2017

Used Mazda 6 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Mazda 6 covering the Mazda 6 Mk3 (2012-date)
Mazda 6 Tourer - Best estate cars 2017
Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2D front
Mazda 6 Estate
10 Jan 2017

Mazda 6 Tourer - Best estate cars 2017

Lightweight construction means the 6 Tourer is pretty efficient for a large estate, and it's fun to drive, too
New Mazda 6 Sport Nav 2016 review
Mazda 6 Saloon
6 Sep 2016

New Mazda 6 Sport Nav 2016 review

Refreshed Mazda 6 saloon gets new G-Vectoring tech and interior refinements and is still one of the best-looking cars in its class
Advertisement
Mazda 6 update adds new G-Vectoring tech
Mazda 6 Hatchback
5 Sep 2016

Mazda 6 update adds new G-Vectoring tech

Latest Mazda 6 gets new technology to make it more comfortable, plus interior upgrades
Family Car of the Year 2016: Skoda Superb
New Car Awards 2016: Family Car of the Year - Skoda Superb
Skoda Superb
6 Jul 2016

Family Car of the Year 2016: Skoda Superb

The Skoda Superb is the 2016 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 6 and Toyota Prius commended
Advertisement
Mazda 6 - Best family cars 2017
Mazda 6 saloon front cornering
Mazda 6 Saloon
30 Jun 2016

Mazda 6 - Best family cars 2017

Mazda's is a sporty family car that proves there's plenty of life in the saloon car yet
Mazda 6 vs VW Passat
Mazda 6 vs VW Passat
Mazda 6
25 Mar 2015

Mazda 6 vs VW Passat

Can the newly facelifted Mazda 6 beat the class-leading VW Passat in its latest fight?
New Mazda 6 facelift 2015 review
Mazda 6 Saloon
11 Feb 2015

New Mazda 6 facelift 2015 review

Mazda has updated its Mazda 6 family car. Can it challenge the new Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat?
VW Passat vs Ford Mondeo & Mazda 6
Volkswagen Passat
27 Jan 2015

VW Passat vs Ford Mondeo & Mazda 6

VW’s new Passat aims to lead family cars back into the spotlight and knock out Ford and Mazda rivals
Advertisement
Ford Mondeo Estate vs rivals
Ford Mondeo Estate
7 Jan 2015

Ford Mondeo Estate vs rivals

Has Ford's new Mondeo been worth the wait? We find out as the Estate meets key rivals from Skoda and Mazda in its first test
Mazda 6 gets a facelift at the 2014 LA Motor Show
Mazda 6
19 Nov 2014

Mazda 6 gets a facelift at the 2014 LA Motor Show

Updates to Mazda 6 bring it up to scratch with new Ford Mondeo and VW Passat
Mazda 6 to go sporty with swoopy Coupe version
Mazda 6 Coupe rendering
Mazda 6
28 Oct 2014

Mazda 6 to go sporty with swoopy Coupe version

Mazda is planning to fill out its sports car arsenal with a Mazda 6 Coupe due in 2016
Mazda 6 vs Skoda Superb
Mazda 6 vs Skoda Superb 2013 header
Mazda 6 Saloon
22 Oct 2013

Mazda 6 vs Skoda Superb

The Skoda Superb has been updated with a new look and extra kit. Can it topple the Mazda 6, our favourite family car?
Mazda 6 Tourer vs rivals
Mazda 6 Tourer vs rivals
Mazda 6 Estate
18 Jul 2013

Mazda 6 Tourer vs rivals

Mazda is going boldly into estate market as new 6 Tourer faces key rivals
New Mazda 6 vs rivals
Mazda 6 Saloon
13 Feb 2013

New Mazda 6 vs rivals

Does the Mazda 6 deliver more than just stunning looks? We pit it against its Skoda and VW rivals
Advertisement
Mazda 6 automatic
Mazda 6 automatic front cornering
Mazda 6 Saloon
5 Feb 2013

Mazda 6 automatic

We've already been impressed by the new Mazda 6. Is it as good with an automatic gearbox?
Mazda 6 Tourer
Mazda 6 Tourer front cornering
Mazda 6 Estate
15 Jan 2013

Mazda 6 Tourer

We see if the new Mazda 6 Tourer delivers on the promise of its looks as it hits UK roads