The new Mazda 6 sees of all-comers to take family car class honours
You only have to look at the cars it’s beaten to gauge the brilliance of the new Mazda 6.
The Skoda Superb has no fewer than four of our Best Family Car prizes in its trophy cabinet, but it’s been relegated to a runner’s-up spot this time thanks to the excellent new 6.
Practicality is usually king in this sector, so we don’t expect to see cars whose styling is good enough to turn heads drive off with the awards. But that’s what makes the Mazda so exciting.
The big saloon’s sleek profile, intricate detailing and muscular stance give it the kind of kerb appeal that’s been lacking in this category for so long. Best of all, however, the Mazda is more than just a pretty face.
It’s bigger in every dimension than its predecessor, so there’s more room in the cabin than ever before. The load space is the only exception, being smaller than it was on the old model, but the 486-litre boot is still bigger than those of many of its key rivals.
We’ve come to expect sporty driving dynamics from Mazda, and the new 6 certainly isn’t a disappointment in this respect. It’s fun to drive, but also remarkably civilised, with impressive cruising refinement and a good range of punchy yet efficient engines.
How efficient? Well, the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel returns an incredible official fuel economy of 72.4mpg, while CO2 emissions are just 104g/km – most superminis would struggle to match those figures. These deeply impressive statistics will also ensure that the Mazda 6 is a huge hit with emissions-savvy company car drivers.
Our choice: 2.2D SE-L (£22,595) Sport trim’s bigger wheels hamper the ride, so SE-L is the way to go. The powerful but economical 148bhp 2.2D is the engine to choose.
Still the most practical family car around, but no longer the best – for now. Revisions are just around the corner, but the current Skoda Superb is neither clean enough nor efficient enough to take top honours here.
- 1Introduction18 class winners, 36 commended cars, 8 Special Awards and the 2013 Auto Express Car of the Year – it's all here
- 2Car of the YearThe most coveted accolade in the world of motoring goes to the SEAT Leon
- 3Best City CarThe Skoda Citigo retains its Best City Car crown thanks to a combination of comfort, low running costs and superb on-road ability
- 4Best SuperminiThe Ford Fiesta wrestles its way back onto the top of the podium after last year's loss to the 208
- 5Best Compact Family CarThe SEAT Leon fights off its fellow VW Group rivals to take the gold medal in one of the most competitive classes around
- 6Best Family Car - currently readingThe new Mazda 6 sees of all-comers to take family car class honours
- 7Best Estate CarOffering peerless practicality, huge value for money and attractive lines, the Skoda Octavia is the best Estate on the market
- 8Best Five-Seat MPVFord's innovative small MPV pips its big brother – the C-MAX – to the Best Five-seat MPV award
- 9Best MPVFor the third year in a row, the SEAT Alhambra wins the Auto Express Best MPV award
- 10Best CrossoverThe Mazda CX-5 is a talented all-rounder that offers everything you could want from a crossover
- 11Best Compact SUVThe Range Rover Evoque is one of the most striking cars on the road – but it's also more than just a pretty face
- 12Best Large SUVThe talented Santa Fe is one of the best models Hyundai has ever produced
- 13Best Hot HatchThe Ford Fiesta ST is in a class of its own – and better value for money than its key rivals
- 14Best CoupeThe brilliant Porsche Cayman pips its big brother - the 911 – and three-time winner the Peugeot RCZ to the Best Coupe prize
- 15Best RoadsterThe new Porsche Boxster is so good it makes you question why anyone would every buy a 911
- 16Best ConvertibleWith funky looks, premium quality and low running costs – frivolity has never been so sensible. Or so desirable
- 17Best Pick-upWith decent handling, comfort levels and build quality, the VW Amarok is a cut above its rivals
- 18Best Compact Executive CarThe 3 Series continues its undisputed reign as king of the compact executive class
- 19Best Executive CarBMW 5 Series fends off some impressive German rivals to take the executive class crown
- 20Best Luxury CarAs a 4x4, an SUV and a luxury car, the Range Rover is jack of all trades. But it's a master of all trades, too
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe entertaining GT 86 outguns a host of big-name sports cars to take Performance Car of the Year
- 22Design Award The latest incarnation of the iconic Range Rover is voted by Auto Express readers as the best designed car of 2013
- 23Green AwardThe Vauxhall Ampera's innovative range-extending powertrain wins it our Green Award
- 24Van of the YearOur Van of the Year is hi-tech, practical and the first van in its class to get a five-star crash test rating
- 25Safety AwardThe Volvo V40 is probably the safest car ever made, and a worthy winner of our Safety Award
- 26Driver Power AwardThe Japanese premium brand has reclaimed its Driver Power top spot for the first time in four years
- 27Hall of FameBMW board member inducted into the Auto Express Hall of Fame