Mazda6: First thoughts

Value for money

I have opted for the 2.2-litre diesel TS2 version of the Mazda6, as I'm hoping it will prove the best compromise between fun and practicality, performance and economy, as well as work and home life.

The diesel engine was added to the Mazda6 range at the beginning of 2009 and is fractionally more frugal than the 2.0-litre diesel while matching it on CO2 emissions and road tax costs. However its top speed is fractionally faster at 132mph compared to the 2.0-litre's 125mph.

This version of the 2.2-litre diesel has less power than the Sport version (163bhp versus 185bhp), but should still be fun to drive. There's also a lower power 125bhp version available in S and TS trim.

Our car has covered almost 6,500 miles so would have been sold under the Mazda approved used scheme available at Mazda dealers. The company's Z-Z+ scheme offers a multi-point inspection, 12 months warranty (though Mazda's standard new car warranty is three years), European breakdown cover, plus a vehicle history and mileage check.

The list price of our car is £19,510, but this one is 10 months old with 6,387 miles so would cost close to £14,500. That's a useful saving on what looks and feels like a new car. What's more, you get a long list of standard equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-CD changer, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, electric windows and dual-zone climate control.

In fact, the only option available on the Mazda6 is metallic paint at £385 (this one comes in Galaxy Grey). What is disappointing is that you can't specify leather upholstery. You have to buy the Sport model which comes with half-leather as standard.

However, to put it into perspective an equivalent Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre TDCi Titanium will set you back £23,145 bought new. That's a difference of more than £3,500 compared to a 2.2-litre diesel TS2 and shows what good value the Mazda is.

Current mileage: 6387

Average mpg: 51