Price £19,795 - £27,995
- Stylish looks
- Great to drive
- Low running costs
- Not as practical as a crossover
- Limited engine range
- Slightly firm ride
At a glance
“It’s easy to see why the Mazda 6 is one of our favourite family saloons. It looks great, drives brilliantly and won’t cost the earth to run.”
The market for them is shrinking, but there's still an awful lot to like about the good old family saloon – and the Mazda 6 is one of the finest examples of this endangered species.
While crossovers and SUVs are the family cars du jour, there's still a place for the family saloon. Generally, they’re cheaper to run, cheaper to buy and better to drive than their pseudo-off-road counterparts. And depending on the exact model in question, you could also argue that a saloon is better-looking than a crossover, but that's subjective.
Despite the fact that the demand for these cars appears to be on the wane, manufacturers still produce excellent examples and the Mazda 6 is one of the best. It's right up there with its fantastic rivals the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb, as well as being quite a long way ahead of the traditional doyens of this class, the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo.
Although you can only choose between two engines – a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel – both offer two different power outputs and prove more than up to the task of making the 6 both brisk and efficient. Our favourite is the less powerful 148bhp version of the 2.2-litre diesel. It’ll get you from 0-62mph in nine seconds dead – plenty quick for this class – and still return about 67mpg. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions of just 107g/km mean a road-tax bill of just £20 and a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax rating of just 21%.
The 6 is a great car to drive, too. Its steering is sharp and precise, while body lean is well controlled in the corners. Some may find the ride a little firm, but it’ll be fine for most. Granted, the Passat and Superb are both more cosseting cars, but they aren’t as much fun to drive as the Mazda.
Mazda has a decent reputation for reliability, so the 6 should be pretty dependable. You get a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which isn’t fantastic, but it's not the worst in the class either. The Mazda 6 also came in 55th place overall in our 2016 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but managed 79th in the reliability rankings.
We wouldn’t worry too much about safety, either. The experts at Euro NCAP awarded the car the full five stars and there's a decent amount of safety equipment, too. You get the legally-required stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, anti-lock brakes and ISOFIX child-seat mounts, as well as airbags and hill-hold assistance, which will keep the car stationary on an incline for a few seconds as you prepare to move off.
Also available is the Mazda6 estate, which we've reviewed separately.
The Mazda6 is a big car, but it’s efficient for its size and those with an eye on tax bills will welcome its low CO2 emissions
The Mazda6 is very enjoyable to drive, thanks to punchy performance and sharp handling that doesn't compromise comfort
Smart-looking cabin marks the Mazda6 out, while the saloon is spacious and well equipped
The Mazda6 brings a dash of style to the family-car class, but it’s not as practical as its predecessor – largely due to those looks
A five-star rating puts the Mazda6 saloon on a par with rivals, but some cutting-edge technology is only optional on top-spec cars