Mazda6 estate (2008-2012)
"The practical Mazda6 Estate is great to drive - it's practical and value for money too"
- Great to drive
- Excellent reliability
- Handsome looks
- Firm suspension
- Cabin is a little noisy
- Interior quality can't quite match Ford Mondeo
The Mazda6 Estate is a fantastic all-rounder that offers exceptional value for money. The large boot and spacious cabin mean it's very practical, while low running costs and strong resale values make it a great long-term ownership prospect. Reliability is good and the 6 is certainly one of the better looking estates on sale. It's also good to drive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The petrol engines range from 34.9-40.4mpg and from Road Tax Band G (£155 per year) to J (£235 per year), so they're quite a bit dearer than the diesels to run. These all return 52.3mpg and have emissions of 143g/km, so an annual Road Tax disc costs £125.
Engines, drive & performance
The Estate version of the Mazda6 misses out on the entry-level 1.8-litre engine of the saloon, but that's not a bad thing, as it would feel underpowered in the larger car. Instead, you get the option of 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines. Mazda has also dropped the lower powered diesel engine for the estate, so there are two choices of 2.2-litre engine, with either 161bhp or 177bhp. The petrol engines perform well - they're smooth with plenty of punch - but the diesels are the better choice due to their blend of performance and economy. The Estate handles corners almost as well as the hatchback - it's big but you're not aware of its size due to the light, precise steering. There's lots of grip, too.
Interior & comfort
The Mazda isn't uncomfortable, but the ride is a little firm due to its sporty set-up. Wind noise is also quite noticeable, particularly at speed, so the 6 isn't the most relaxing estate around. The engines - both petrol and diesel - are smooth and quiet, though.
Practicality & boot space
The estate's boot is only marginally larger than the hatchback’s at 519 litres with the seats in place. Fold the rear seats down and you'll have a huge 1,751 litres of room to play with, which is better than a lot of 4x4s offer and some people carriers. There are a number of useful cubby holes in the front, such as the storage space beneath the armrest, large door pockets and a big glovebox.
Reliability & safety
Cabin quality is good, but the Mazda6 falls short of rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat as it uses slightly cheaper materials. It's very safe though, as there are six airbags, stability control and daytime running lights offered as standard. A blind spot alert system is optional, too. Mazda has long been renowned for strong reliability and it finished 12th out of 27 manufacturers in the 2010 JD Power Satisfaction survey, which is well above average.
Price, value for money & options
The Estate is slightly more expensive than the hatchback, but the difference is less significant than it is with many rivals, so the 6 looks like good value. Mazda dropped the entry-level S version for the estate, so all models, while slightly pricier than the saloon, are better specced and come with alloy wheels, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, dual-zone climate control and more. Resale values are quite strong, so the 6 is a safe buy.