New Car Awards 2014: best family car
The Mazda 6 is the 2014 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia commended
It’s the second win in a row for the sleek Mazda 6, which continues to prove that you can have a family car that appeals to both the head and the heart.
Sensible yet stylish, fast but frugal, the sharp handling and remarkably practical Mazda continues to tick all the family car boxes. At the heart of the car’s appeal are those stunning lines, which allow the 6 to stand out from the crowd.
Unlike most rivals, Mazda abandoned the workaday hatchback bodystyle in favour of a more sophisticated and shapely four-door saloon layout. Blessed with flowing lines, soft curves and taut creases, it gives the 6 real kerb appeal. Yet there’s so much more to the Mazda than just a pretty face.
Look underneath the seductive exterior and you’ll find the company’s excellent SkyActive engines. Star of the show is the gutsy 2.2-litre diesel, which revs with the urgency and smoothness of a petrol, yet emits only 104g/km and is capable of more than 60mpg.
The 6 is shot through with the spirit of the brand’s brilliant MX-5 roadster, meaning you’re always looking for excuses to take the long way home. And when you don’t want to unleash the car’s wild side, the Mazda performs faultlessly as a faithful and versatile family car. The roomy interior is impeccably built and crammed with standard kit, while the well shaped boot has a healthy and practical 483-litre capacity.
There’s even a spacious Tourer estate version for those who need even more space. Yet for most drivers, the saloon will be able to cope with everything that’s thrown at it. The only real question is: what can possibly stop the Mazda making it third time lucky in 2015?
Mazda 6 2.2D SE-L (£22,895)
Business users and private buyers will love the efficient and muscular 2.2-litre diesel in the Mazda 6, while the sharp handling will appeal to keen drivers. Sport models look racier, but cheaper SE spec has all the essentials.
Commended family cars
A recent facelift injected new life into the spacious Skoda Superb. Fresh looks, more kit and a revised engine line-up help lift the Skoda back into class contention. But the best bits are still there, so you get the same vast boot and cavernous cabin, plus excellent value for money.
The Vauxhall Insignia also benefited from a mid-life refresh in 2014. Tweaked looks and an upmarket interior have boosted its appeal, while cleaner engines and improved refinement make it better to drive. The most important update, though, is the £2,000 price reduction.
- 1IntroductionWe reveal the best new cars on sale today in every sector of the market, plus we name our overall 2014 Car of the Year
- 2Car of the Year 2014The British-built MINI is Auto Express' Car of the Year 2014
- 3City Car of the YearThe Skoda Citigo is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2014 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 208 commended
- 5Premium Small Car of the YearThe MINI is the 2014 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Small Family Car of the Year The SEAT Leon is the 2014 Auto Express Small Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf commended
- 7Family Car of the Year - currently readingThe Mazda 6 is the 2014 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year The SEAT Leon ST is the 2014 Auto Express Estate of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2014 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Picasso and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year The Nissan Qashqai is the 2014 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-5 commended
- 11Compact SUV of the Year The Porsche Macan is the 2014 Auto Express small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Range Rover Evoque commended
- 12Large SUV of the Year The Hyundai Santa Fe is the 2014 Auto Express large SUV of the Year, with the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Sport commended
- 13Pick-Up Truck of the Year The Volkswagen Amarok is the 2014 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and SsangYong Korando Sport commended
- 14Hot Hatch of the Year The SEAT Leon Cupra is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Golf GTI commended
- 15Convertible of the Year The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the 2014 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Porsche 911 Cab commended