Mazda6 Tourer estate (2012-2022) review
"The Mazda6 Tourer is a fun-to-drive and good-looking estate, but some will miss the now-deleted diesel options"
- Powerful, efficient engines
- Stylish exterior design
- Great fun to drive
- Touchscreen could be better
- Surprisingly expensive
- Not the most practical in the class
The Mazda6 Tourer is a very highly rated estate car, but one that tends to get overlooked, largely because models like the Volkswagen Passat Estate and BMW 3 Series Touring are such a common sight on UK roads.
Those who seek out the Mazda6 are in for a treat, thanks to its excellent road manners and impressive looks. It was penned with Mazda’s ‘KODO’ design language, which employs exaggerated front wheelarches, flowing lines, a bold grille and purposeful headlights to give Mazda’s line-up an athletic style. In fact, we think this styling suits the Tourer even better than the Mazda6 saloon.
This third-generation Mazda6 arrived way back in late 2012, but it still looks fresh. Mazda has kept on top of updates, with two major facelifts during the car’s lifetime and a number of subtle tweaks in between. A recent round of revisions focused on updating the chassis and adding safety kit. While this has helped keep the Tourer up-to-date, the quality of materials used for its interior can’t quite match the Audi A4 Avant or Mercedes C-Class Estate, which are more expensive, but are a cut above the Ford Mondeo Estate and Skoda Superb Estate. Equipment is generous, too, with every version getting desirable features like adaptive cruise control and two-zone air-conditioning, as well as a large infotainment screen with DAB radio, sat nav and smartphone connectivity.
While the Tourer is undoubtedly a practical car, there are bigger estates, like the Skoda Superb, and even cars like the SEAT Leon Estate and Ford Focus Estate have more luggage space (although less room for rear seat passengers). The Mazda6 does beat the 3 Series Touring in this regard, however, and the hatchback opens to reveal a flat loading floor with nothing to catch your luggage on or lift it over.
Importantly for a large family car, safety is also impressive, with a five-star rating from crash-test body Euro NCAP. There’s a comprehensive number of airbags, as well as Smart City Brake Support to help avoid having a crash in the first place, by detecting objects and even braking if necessary.
Despite the Tourer being practical and safe, Mazda has avoided making it boring to drive, imbuing it with a sophisticated chassis that feels precise and poised when tackling a winding road, thanks to steering that’s full of feel and a snappy gearbox. While it’s not rear-wheel drive like the 3 Series Touring, the 6 still runs the BMW close for driving pleasure.
The engine line-up is fairly straightforward, with a 2.0-litre petrol giving 143 or 163bhp, and a 191bhp 2.5-litre petrol. There were 2.2-litre diesels offering either 148 or 181bhp, but these have recently been removed from sale. It’s important to note, however, that the trim level you choose also dictates what engines are available. The entry-level SE-L Nav+ and SE-L Lux Nav+ trims are only available with the less powerful petrol, while the Sport Nav+ offers the more powerful 2.0-litre petrol. Mazda’s 2.5-litre petrol is offered solely on the top-spec GT Sport Nav+, and is likely to be a rare choice.
Our pick of the range used to be the 181bhp diesel, with a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, fantastic performance for motorway driving and fuel economy of 51.4mpg. The 148bhp diesel was also a good choice, taking 10.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph with slightly improved official economy of 53.3mpg. Low-mileage drivers might have always preferred one of the remaining SkyActiv-G petrol engines, though, and both 2.0-litre options return a reasonable 41.5mpg.
The Mazda6 Tourer has every right to be a far more common sight than it is, because in most areas it’s as good – or even better – than its rivals. For anyone considering an estate car, it’s well worth looking at, and for some potential owners who want to stand out, its relative rarity might even be another plus point. However, its interior and engine range is starting to show its age; with a dated-looking infotainment system and no hybrid options, the Mazda6 is lagging behind rivals in these areas.
The Mazda6 finished a very impressive 11th out of the top 75 cars ranked in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK - and customers especially love the styling, as it got the best mark in this area out of every car on sale. It dropped out of our 2022 list, which isn’t all that surprising given that it doesn’t sell in huge numbers.