What is the Mazda 6?
The third-generation Mazda 6 arrived in British showrooms at the start of 2013, sitting at the top of the brand’s non-SUV range.
Majoring on value – especially in terms of finance-friendly deals – and with plenty of standard equipment, Mazda bills the 6 as offering much of German rivals’ premium feel at prices closer to those of mass market options.
At-a-glance 2019 Mazda 6 specs
Which versions of the Mazda 6 are available?
There are two bodystyles to choose from this time around: the more traditional four-door Mazda 6 Saloon and, for those looking for a greater degree of flexibility, the estate-bodied Mazda 6 Tourer. Unusually, the Tourer is notably shorter than the lengthy saloon, though it is still the practical choice, with a large and usable boot.
The previous two generations were also available in Mazda 6 Hatchback form, though in attempt to align the car with more premium rivals – which are traditionally not sold with a hatch – this is no longer an option.
Distancing the 6 from many rivals, no hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric versions are available. Instead, Mazda is focusing on providing optimised petrol and diesel versions. Unusually, the petrol engines do without turbochargers; a move that Mazda claims maximises real-world fuel economy.
What is the Mazda 6 MPS?
Based only on the first-generation model, the turbocharged, four-wheel drive Mazda 6 MPS performance derivative was launched in 2006.
Producing 260hp, the 6 MPS (for Mazda Performance Series) was aimed sqaurely at the Ford Mondeo ST220 and the Vauxhall Vectra VXR, and boasted a 149mph maximum speed and 0-60mph time of 6.4 seconds.
Mazda chose to emply the 6 Saloon's body because it was a stiffer platform to base its performance model on, plus saloons dominated North American sales where this model was known as the MazdaSpeed 6.
As demand for sports saloons from non-premium brands dwindled, Mazda elected not to recreate the 6 MPS with future generations of the model.
Mazda 6 styling and engineering
The 6 channels Mazda’s Kodo design language, featuring sharp details and smooth, flowing lines. It may have been around for a number of years, but subtle updates since its 2013 launch mean that the 6 still looks fresh compared with many of its rivals.
The range received updates in early 2015 with both interior and design tweaks, plus revised suspension for greater ride comfort. Adding to increased comfort levels was the addition of extra sound insulation around the car, while standard equipment levels were boosted, too.
Autumn 2016 saw the addition of G-Vectoring Control, a system designed to provide more precise steering that needs less adjustment while driving. Meanwhile, diesel engines received new refinement-boosting tech to reduce noise and vibration levels.
In July 2018 the 6 was facelifted with updated exterior design, a plusher interior and new trim levels. Range-topping GT Sport Nav+ specification was also introduced alongside a new automatic-only 2.5-litre petrol engine. The suspension was yet again fine-tuned for greater ride quality and sharper steering, with further soundproofing added to increase refinement.
Meanwhile, the 175hp diesel engine received a boost in power, taking it up to 184hp.
Saloons and Tourers have slightly different proportions, with the former surprisingly being 7cm longer than the estate version, with a greater distance between front and rear wheels, too. Both power the front wheels, with no all-wheel drive option, unlike BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Ford and Vauxhall rivals.
Is the Mazda 6 good to drive?
Three petrol engines – knows as SkyActiv-G – are available in the Mazda 6 – two 2.0-litre units and one 2.5-litre model. Least powerful of these is the 145hp 2.0-litre model, only available in the lesser trim levels, with a 165hp version available above this. Topping the petrol engine range is a 2.5-litre model solely avialable in automatic form, which offers 194hp.
All of these engines are smooth and refined. Due to them being turbo-less, instead of providing strong pulling power from low engine revs, drivers have to work the motors harder to get the best performance.
This is no chore thanks to their refinement and slick manual gearboxes, but won’t suit those after effortless acceleration. The automatic-only 194hp model, however, feels like an odd pairing of engine and gearbox; it’s fine when dawdling, but the engine lacks the muscle needed for relaxed progress and becomes loud when worked hard.
The turbocharged diesel engines – SkyActiv-D with 150hp and 184hp – offer a much broader spread of power, with lots of low-down shove, and they perform surprisingly strongly when worked harder, too. Add in extremely impressive refinement and the diesel motors are the standout options here, offering the muscle to make the most of the 6’s enjoyable handling.
How much does the Mazda 6 cost?
It’s not a cheap car in cash terms. However, very strong Mazda PCP finance offers – contributing to the brand winning the Best New Car Finance title in the 2019 Parkers awards – mean that it offers very good value compared with rivals on finance.
Reasonably low interest charges and a deposit contribution discount of £4,000 for much of 2018 mean that monthly payments on the 6 are very good value. Especially when you consider how much standard kit you get.
On the negative side, we have heard reports from owners of a few reliability issues with older cars. Therefore, anyone considering buying a used 6 would be wise to hunt down a well looked after car with a thorough service history to stand the best chance of avoiding any big issues.
Mazda's reputation for reliability isn't as strong as you might expect - find out what drivers of this-generation 6 think of the car with our owners' reviews.
Mazda 6 Model History
Second-generation Mazda 6 (2007-2013)
The Mk2 Mazda 6 hit UK roads in 2007 and came in Saloon, Hatchback and Estate forms. Numerous specifications were available, including S, TS, Tamura, Sakata, TS2, Takuya, Business Line, SPO, Venture Edition and Sport.
Engines initially available included 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.5-litre petrol units plus 2.0-litre diesel motors that were replaced by all-new 2.2-litre engines in early 2009. The newer diesel engine came with three power outputs, and the prospect of improved fuel consumption, performance and refinement.
A mild facelift arrived in 2010, adding new bumpers and lights, plus updated engines with lower emissions and increased standard specifications with higher quality materials inside.
Find used examples of the or sale and see what drivers of this generation thought of the second-generation Mazda 6 with our owners' reviews.
First-generation Mazda 6 (2002-2007)
Introducing a new model-naming strategy and replacing the final generation of Mazda 626, the Mk1 Mazda 6 was available in Saloon, Hatchback and Estate iterations, first arriving in 2002. Petrol engines were available in 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.3-litre forms, with several diesel options on offer.
Of those earlier versions, the flagship was a sportier version of the 6 Estate with four-wheel drive.
Updates in 2005 gave the car sharper styling, an upgraded interior and extra power for 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines.