Mazda 6 vs VW Passat
Can the newly facelifted Mazda 6 beat the class-leading VW Passat in its latest fight?
Seconds out, round two. Following its previous defeat to the Volkswagen Passat, the Mazda 6 is back for another face-off with the German saloon to try to reverse our previous decision and snatch a win.
The 6 narrowly lost out last time around due to its dated interior, but the revised car – featuring a smarter, more hi-tech cabin and refreshed styling – stands a good chance of reclaiming its crown.
In recent years, the large saloon market has been squeezed due to the rise in popularity of crossovers, so it’s no longer enough for cars like the Mazda and VW to just offer practicality or efficiency.
The question is, are the improvements that Mazda has made to its 6 saloon enough to deliver a knockout blow to the new class leader, the Passat? To find out, we pitched Japan against Germany in a head-to-head tussle from which there can only be one winner. The gloves are off.
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Even though the Mazda has a new multimedia layout, it’s still not quite as easy to use as Volkswagen’s tried-and-tested touchscreen system. The 6 now includes a parking camera (above) as standard, and everything’s controlled by a rotary wheel behind the gearlever. It’s undoubtedly a vast improvement over the old car, and tidies up the dash – making the cabin look far more slick and upmarket.
Both these models get a decent level of kit as standard, making them appealing to business users. But while the Mazda has a higher list price, it offers much more kit; to bring the Passat up to a similar spec will make it nearly £2,000 more than the 6. VW options can be pricey; leather alone is £1,615.
If you’re heading on a big trip, the Passat is the more practical choice, as its luggage bay has a more usable shape. It also gets an electric tailgate with keyless opening (£510). If your hands are full with shopping bags, you can wave your foot under the rear bumper and open the boot.
1st place: Volkswagen Passat
The Passat retains its crown as the biggest and best family saloon on the market, thanks to a mix of quality, usability, refinement and performance that’s impossible to ignore. It can’t match the Mazda’s dynamics or fun factor, but it does come close. Plus, it offers competitive running costs for a premium product, a fair level of standard kit and an attractive price that’s £1,660 cheaper than the 6’s.
2nd place: Mazda 6
Despite its much-improved interior and more involving chassis, the refreshed 6 can’t quite topple the Passat. It’s still the best car in its class to drive, with plenty of performance and grip to call on, but it doesn’t blend this with the level of practicality that the VW offers. Still, if you value driving enjoyment over space, you won’t be disappointed with the revised Mazda.
|VW Passat 2.0 TDI (150) SE Business||Mazda 6 2.2 175 Sport Nav|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£25,135/£30,250||£26,795/£28,315|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£11,537/45.9%||£11,286/42%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,027/£2,053||£1,067/£2,134|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,361,£2,268||£1,238/£2,063|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||19/£397/B/£20||23/£371/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£288 (2yrs)||£172/£233/£236|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,968cc||4cyl in-line/2,191cc|
|Peak power||148/3,600 bhp/rpm||173/4,500 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||340/1,750 Nm/rpm||420/2,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||6-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||66 litres/space saver||62 litres/sealant|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||586/1,152 litres||483/1,632 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.7 metres/N/A||11.8 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/223||12.5k miles (1yr)/170|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||19th/31st||8th/12th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||85/87/66/5||92/77/66/5|
|0-60/30-70mph||8.7/7.7 seconds||8.2/7.4 seconds|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.5/6.1 seconds||3.2/4.7 seconds|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||7.5/10.2 seconds||6.0/8.4 seconds|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||136mph/1,850rpm||139mph/2,000rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||67/54/57/64dB||68/55/65/73dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||46.4/10.2/674 miles||51.0/11.2/696 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||163/106g/km/17%||148/119g/km/19%|
|Auto. box/stability/adap. cruise control||£1,600/yes/yes||£1,200/yes/no|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||£590/£1,615/£280||Yes/yes/yes|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go||£540/£705/yes||£540/no/yes|