Mazda 6 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Large, practical Mazda 6 is a comfortable long-distance car, although the saloon boot isn’t as flexible as a hatchback
The Mazda 6 is only sold as a saloon and Tourer estate these days, unlike earlier generations, which offered a hatchback option, too. This is part of the company’s desire to push the 6 upmarket, as more of a premium alternative. However, it does limit practicality a little alongside volume rivals: the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia are offered exclusively as hatchbacks for added versatility, for instance.
The boot is still pretty roomy, though, plus there’s no shortage of passenger space; the large exterior dimensions are reflected inside. There’s an excellent, feelgood driving position, with plenty of adjustment to take full advantage of this space, and when you sit behind the wheel, the Mazda 6 inspires confidence.
Cabin stowage space is good, enhanced since the 2015 revisions by an electric parking brake that makes the central stowage area even more useful. The door pockets could be better shaped, but the glovebox is a handy size, as is the space ahead of the short-throw gearlever.
This is a large car; at 4,870mm long and 1,840mm wide, the Mazda 6 is roomy and accommodating inside. All family cars are large these days, and this one follows the trend; it’s wide, too, although just on the right side of manageable on the road.
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It’s almost identical in size to its rivals. A Ford Mondeo is 4,871mm long and 1,852mm wide, for example; a Volkswagen Passat is a bit shorter at 4,767mm, and a little narrower at 1,832mm wide. All versions of the 6 have front and rear parking sensors as standard, which helps immeasurably with low-speed maneouvres.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Passengers fare pretty well in the Mazda 6. Wide door openings make getting in and out easy and, once inside, there’s decent legroom, even if it isn’t quite as roomy here as the vast Skoda Superb.
The sporty saloon bodystyle does slightly compromise rear headroom for taller passengers, though: the rear screen is steeply raked, which brings the roofline down slightly, although most people won’t have an issue.
The Mazda 6 saloon’s boot can’t match the carrying capacity of its key mainstream rivals. It has 480 litres of space, compared to 541 litres in a Ford Mondeo hatch and a yawning 625 litres in a Skoda Superb. Space is more on a par with premium cars such as the BMW 3 Series.
The seatbacks do fold, however; push them down (they’re not spring-assisted, despite the handy levers in the boot), and you can free up a completely flat load area of 1,632 litres, although again the Superb has the edge here, with a maximum capacity of 1,760 litres. Still, the space in the 6 is long and useful, making full use of the car’s overall length, and the boot’s usefulness is only really limited by the overall height of the body.
If you are planning on using the Mazda 6 to tow, you should be aware that its maximum braked towing capacity changes dependent on specification. The 143bhp petrol is the least capable tow car in the line-up, only managing a maximum of 1,300kg, but the 148bhp and 181bhp diesels (both available as autos) sit at the top of the range, able to pull 1,600kg.
In this review
- 1VerdictMazda's large saloon is a strong alternative to the VW Passat or Ford Mondeo thanks to its great handling and generous kit
- 2Engines, performance and driveIt's petrol power only for the Mazda 6, while top-notch handling boosts its credentials as a great driver's car
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsStrong fuel economy and low emissions combine with Mazda reliability and value for money to ensure low running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyCustomers will appreciate the quality feel of the Mazda 6, while equipment levels are excellent
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingLarge, practical Mazda 6 is a comfortable long-distance car, although the saloon boot isn’t as flexible as a hatchback
- 6Reliability and SafetyWith top marks for safety and good customer feedback in our Driver Power survey, the Mazda 6 makes a compelling case for itself