Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The instruments and controls in the 6 are clear plus the finish is improved over the previous version. Unfortunately some of the materials used on the dashboard don’t feel quite as upmarket as on mid to high-spec Ford Mondeos. For example certain controls such as the air conditioning dials, lack that solid feel of quality. However, Mazda has done some interesting things with LEDs – blue and orange lights greet passengers on entry and the stereo is backlit – the light changes as you change station or the volume.

In 2010 a mild redesign means the clocks now come with silver-ringed dials and the main dash has a softer, more tactile finish.

Mazda has improved refinement in the 6. Compared with the previous model noise from the petrol engines is now far less intrusive, while other outside noise is also impressively muted. The 2.2-litre diesel available from early 2009 is much quieter than the original 2.0-litre diesel at the lower and higher ends of the rev range. There’s plenty of room for five adults, while air conditioning and electric windows are standard across the range.