Price £19,795 - £27,995
- Powerful and efficient engines
- Sporty driving experience
- Well equipped
- Interior design not the best
- Big wheels mean firm ride
- Some reliability issues
At a glance
"The Mazda6 is a big family car with impressively low CO2 emissions, fun handling and a great sense of style. It's a tempting alternative to the norm."
Many family buyers these days are drawn to crossovers and SUVs, but if you’d still like a traditional big saloon, the superb Mazda6 is pretty much the best choice you can make. It combines attractive design with an engaging driving experience and powerful yet efficient engines. This puts it in a good position when compared to rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Superb, Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.
There isn’t a huge range of engines, but the 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel are both offered with two different power outputs and standard equipment is generally good across the range. Our top choice would be the 2.2-litre diesel in SE-L trim – one above the entry-level SE. Although you get the less powerful engine in this spec, it still performs well, while the purchase price and running costs are both very reasonable.
You need to pay a bit more for the top-spec Sport Nav model with the optional Safety Pack if you want the most up-to-date safety technology, however. This version is also available with the more powerful 2.2-litre diesel. Whichever engine and spec you go for, the Mazda 6 is roomy inside: three adults can sit in the back with minimal discomfort and there's plenty of space to store your bits and pieces.
The cabin is functional rather than luxurious in some respects, however – it doesn’t feel as special as the upmarket interiors of Audis and BMWs. The Mazda is sturdy and well built, however, so it should stand up to the rigours of family motoring with ease. As you’d expect, the estate is more practical and versatile than the saloon, which loses out a bit to its hatchback rivals the Mondeo and Insignia in this respect.
Efficiency is impressive for such a large car, so you don’t need to worry too much about running costs. But if you want the best fuel economy and lowest emissions, the less poweful 2.2-litre diesel is the one to go for. Our one bugbear with the Mazda6 is its slightly too-firm ride, but this does at least come with the trade-off of good handling on twisty backroads, making this a fun car to drive.
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