This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mazda 6 Estate review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Offers a choice of three four-cylinder petrol models (1.8, 2.0 and 2.3-litres) plus diesels with a choice of power outputs. Earliest diesels offered 121bhp or 136bhp but has identical torque figures. From summer 2005 the entry-level diesel remains similar, but the higher power diesel offers 143bhp and 266lb ft. The 1.8-litre petrol model feels lively, but has a 'buzzy' engine note at higher revs.

2.0-litre petrol is upgraded for 2005 to 147bhp. The 164bhp 2.3 Sport is a warm-ish version of the car, while a turbocharged all-wheel-drive saloon (called the MPS) arrived in mid 2006.

A firm, but not jarring, ride gives the driver a clue to the priority of Mazda's engineers when developing the Mazda6. The steering is direct and offers excellent feel and feedback, and the car seems to respond intuitively to any action from the driver. This isn't surprising because the steering rack was lifted from the MX-5 and allows the Mazda6 to be eased through challenging bends with fingertip control.

The Mazda6 corners with hardly any body roll and always behaves predictably and safely, with levels of grip far higher than most people will need on public roads.