13 January 2017

Full Mazda 6 Estate (12 on) Model Review

by James Dennison, Junior Staff Writer

Mazda 6 Tourer front
  • Mazda 6 Tourer side
  • Mazda 6 Tourer wheel
  • Mazda 6 Tourer interior
  • Mazda 6 Tourer infotainment display
  • Mazda 6 Tourer optional Stone leather seats
  • Mazda 6 Tourer 2.0-litre petrol Skyactiv engine
  • Mazda 6 Tourer six-speed manual gearbox
  • Mazda 6 Tourer climate control
  • Mazda 6 Tourer rear legroom
  • Mazda 6 Tourer boot
  • Mazda 6 Tourer rear
  • Estate version of updated Mazda 6
  • Excellent handling and ride quality
  • Priced at £27,575 with optional extras
Mazda 6 Estate (12 on) 2.0 Sport Nav 5d - Road Test
The modern-day estate car has to offer something different if it wants to compete with the ever-growing popularity of the SUV. Thankfully, Mazda has given the 6 Tourer sharp, swooping good looks and driving dynamics that most SUVs can only dream of matching.

The modern-day estate car has to offer something different if it wants to compete with the ever-growing popularity of the SUV. Thankfully, Mazda has given the 6 Tourer sharp, swooping good looks and driving dynamics that most SUVs can only dream of matching.

However, is this enough to fend off competition from the Ford Mondeo Estate, Skoda Octavia Estate and even the Audi A4 Avant, let alone anything from the SUV stable? We’re testing the top-of-the-range 165hp 2.0-litre petrol Sport Nav model to find out.

Clever new tech added in 2017 facelift

For the 2017 model year Mazda has given the 6 some clever technology updates designed to improve the driving experience.

Chief among these is the introduction of what Mazda refers to as G-Vectoring Control (GVC) – a piece of kit which reduces torque sent to the front wheels when cornering. This works to transfer more weight to the front axle allowing the wheels to turn more precisely, while also aiding cornering grip.

Gadgets to improve sound deadening and throttle response have also been added to diesel-powered 6s.

Sport Nav trim provides all the kit you’ll need

As for the changes you can actually see, Mazda has tweaked the equipment list on premium trim levels to incorporate more driver convenience and safety features.

Traffic Sign Recognition features for the first time on the enhanced head-up display, plus from SE-L Nav models upwards auto power-folding mirrors are standard.

Mazda’s take on Autonomous Emergency Braking now also features pedestrian recognition, meaning the system will apply the brakes should someone walk out in front of you.

Other standard features on this range-topping Sport Nav spec include (additional standard equipment over SE-L Nav trim is shown in bold):

Should you wish to add to the kit list, Mazda allows you to spec a small number of options on the 6 Tourer. The additional equipment on our car came to £1,680 and included the lighter Stone-colour leather (£200), Soul Red metallic paint (£680) and Safety Pack – the latter well worth the money at £800.

For the extra cash you get a suite of extra technology – namely Adaptive LED headlights, Blind-spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which alerts the driver if traffic is approaching when reversing out of a parking space), lane-departure warning and Rear Smart City Brake Support (which automatically brakes the vehicle if it senses a collision is imminent when reversing).

Disappointing engine, excellent gearbox

The Mazda 6 may be available with a choice of four different engines but if you want this higher-powered 2.0-litre 165hp petrol, it’s top-spec Sport Nav trim or nothing.

That said, the engine itself isn’t suited to the car. It’s relatively smooth – and quick enough if you rev it hard – but the lack of torque means it struggles to make meaningful progress unless you’re in exactly the right gear at the right time. It’s noisier when cruising than a petrol should be, too.

Thankfully, however, the slick six-speed manual gearbox offers some positives. It’s wonderfully light and precise, making changing gear a genuinely pleasurable task. Fuel economy is also a highlight, returning a real-world 41mpg against a claimed 47.9mpg.

Is it good value?

If you’re looking to pay for the 6 Tourer on finance and intend to buy the car outright at the end of the contract, Mazda offers a compelling package on paper.

Over a 36-month term with a £4,000 deposit the 6 Tourer comes in at £334 per month with 0% interest – with the optional final payment set at £7,948. Note that with Mazda’s £2,500 deposit contribution, it’s actually cheaper to buy the 6 Tourer through the finance scheme than in cash.*

This is good value compared to the pricier Ford Mondeo 1.5T 160hp Titanium estate on the same terms (£349 per month and £8,501 optional final payment) but doesn’t fare as well against the Skoda Octavia SE L 1.4 TSI 150hp Estate – just £232 per month with a £8,267 optional final payment.

However, if you’re not planning to buy the car outright at the end of the contract and want something a little more upmarket, the Audi A4 Avant Sport 1.4 TFSI actually works out much cheaper. Providing you hand the car back at the end of the finance term, monthly payments are only £287 with a £4,000 deposit making it the better value option.

Should I buy one?

The Mazda 6 Tourer rides and handles exceptionally well for a car of this size (even if the steering is inert), plus the top-spec Sport Nav trim boasts a strong range of standard kit.

However, the 165hp 2.0-litre engine lacks significant pulling power and isn’t quiet enough when cruising. Therefore, we’d opt for the lower-powered 150hp 2.2-litre diesel engine and consider dropping down a trim level to make up the difference in cost.

Alternatively, you may want to consider the Mazda’s premium rivals if you’re open to swapping the car in at the end of the finance term, as this could get you more car for your money.

 *Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.