Mazda 6 review - Interior, design and technology
An improved facia design and upgraded technology give the Mazda 6 interior a welcome lift for the latest model year
One of the weak points of the Mazda 6 at launch was its interior – namely, the rather poor integration of the infotainment system into the dash. For 2015, Mazda went back to the drawing board and the result is a much-improved layout that’s far more modern and contemporary, while the 2018 update improved matters even further.
Instead of the ugly built-in centre display, the car now gets a freestanding-style seven-inch set-up in a silver surround. Functions can now be controlled via the touchscreen or a BMW iDrive-style rotary wheel between the front seats – for ultimate convenience, you can combine the two systems part of the way through an input. The new set-up, called MZD-Connect, blends in with the rest of the interior far better and has given the car an upgraded feel.
Other technology offered within the Mazda 6 includes an 11-speaker Bose sound system and a head-up display: both are standard on the Sport Nav, which also gets LED headlights, adaptive front lighting, keyless entry, electric leather seats and, from 2016, a heated steering wheel. Radar cruise control is also offered on some Sport Nav variants.
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For 2016, updates extended to some higher resolution graphics for the instrument display and head-up display, with some new materials and a tweaked steering wheel design. Active safety kit improved, too, with a more advanced forward-facing camera and road sign recognition.
The tech upgrades complete an extremely well rounded interior that’s really solidly put together and made from high-grade materials. The Mazda 6 has a top-quality air, with plush plastics and stylish trims. Its sporty steering wheel and cowled dials have traces of the MX-5 roadster, and the moody dark colour schemes add to the racy feel – if you don’t like dark interiors, choose the optional Stone Leather pack.
SE-L models offer great value for money, with kit like climate control, auto headlights and wipers and front and rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass and power-fold door mirrors all included. Sport Nav models see a big jump in price, but the standard equipment reflects this.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Mazda’s impressive latest-generation sat-nav is an effective, easy-to-use system that currently includes three years’ free map updates, and it's standard on all models in the range.
The regular stereo is decent enough, and is ready for Internet radio or Bluetooth streaming via a compatible mobile device (it easily connects with your Bluetooth smartphone, too). Plus, the set-up has a DAB radio and USB sockets.
Choose the Sport Nav and you get an 11-speaker Bose sound system, complete with Digital Sound Processing and eight channels of custom sound equalisation.
The MZD-Connect set-up is very easy to use, thanks to its clear design and dual rotary controller/touchscreen logic. The display on the home screen is logical and it’s straightforward to get your head around. It's a shame, however, that there's no allowance for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
In this review
- 1Mazda 6 reviewMazda'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 driveThe diesels are strong, but while the non-turbo petrol engines perform well, they’re probably too revvy for this class
- 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 technology - currently readingAn improved facia design and upgraded technology give the Mazda 6 interior a welcome lift for the latest model year
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceLarge, practical Mazda 6 is a comfortable long-distance car, although the saloon boot isn’t as flexible as a hatchback
- 6Reliability and SafetyA few early niggles blighted the 6, and some owners still report issues