Review: Mazda6

Durable interior, spacious design

07 Aug 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Stylish exterior

  • Durable interior

  • Powerful and efficient engines

Cons

  • Some reliability issues

  • Sporty, stiff suspention set up

  • Average sized boot

Our expert rating

The Mazda6 is a large car produced since 2002. It is now in its third generation and has been produced in saloon, hatch and estate forms. It got to second place in the 2003 European Car of the Year awards and remains a family favourite.

Performance

The Mazda6 does actually drive as well as it looks. It’ll get you everywhere in comfort, with just the right amount of push when needed. This goes for the entire engine range.

The car, particularly in 2.2 TS2 turbo diesel edition, has lots of grunt in virtually any gear you decide to slip into. Its turbo diesel pulling power makes the Mazda an ideal towing vehicle too. It’ll haul up to 1600kg, which isn’t bad at all.

Mazda6 on the road

Ride and handling

Getting a good driving position is easy in the Mazda6 and visibility is excellent thanks to the deep windscreen and good height adjustment range of the driver’s seat. The knobs and dials on the dashboard are all laid out in a very simplistic and functional way. On the road, the car goes where you point it and it does what you ask of it without any fuss. It stays planted, meaning it handles corners well. Although, the ride can sometimes suffer as a result of crashing and banging over potholes due to its sporty, stiff, suspension set up.

Red Mazda6

Interior space

The cockpit, especially on the third generation 2013 model, is designed to make driving as enjoyable as possible. Everything is exactly where it should be. Your passengers will also appreciate the relaxing ambience in the cabin, which features market-leading passenger space on saloon models.

The estate is even better with its huge, square, load area. When you strap a couple of kids in the rear seats and you realise there’s still room for an adult to sit between them, you’re guaranteed to be “wowed”.

It’s only at that point that it dawns on you - the Mazda6 has nothing to prove. It knows it can deliver what you want, and it just gets on with it. The Mazda6’s boot – in estate form - can fit just about anything into it, including the kitchen sink.

Interior of Mazda6

What to know before you buy

There have been a few recalls for the Mazda6, most affecting older models built during 2003 and 2004. The most severe was to fix potential fuel leaks, but others covered a stalling issue, a faulty brake warning light, an oil seal and a slack fog lamp. A used car of this age will, in all likelihood, have had this sorted, but do check anyway online at gov.uk/check-if-a-vehicle-has-been-recalled.

Mazdas generally have a reputation for being bullet proof, but clutches on the 6 have been the car’s Achilles heel. A vibrating clutch has been a particular problem for diesels, but this is easily sorted by a visit to a dealer, who will fit a part, usually free of charge. Otherwise, Mazdas rate well for reliability and satisfaction.

Alternative cars

The Mazda6 is a lengthy car, which allows it to offer more room than premium-badged choices, such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. However, the boot opening on the saloon is smaller than more standard family-cum-executive motors such as the Ford Mondeo.

Mazda6 and bmw 3 series

Overall verdict

The Mazda6’s cabin materials all look durable and give the impression that the car will handle most things any little passengers might throw at it. The shiny surfaces can be wiped clean easily and the dark fabric seats, fitted to most models, look as though they’ll hide the majority of stains.

The handy rear seat release levers in the load area of the estate make inserting any long items an absolute doddle. The seats are just as easy to click back into place again once the boot is emptied of its cargo.

The range of engines were all tuned to deliver better economy and lower emissions from 2010, so, taking that into account, along with its practicality and performance, a used Mazda6 in any body format is exceptional value for money.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall