Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Top model gets plush leather and suede
  • Mostly feels high quality inside
  • Can’t compete with German rivals

Mazda has ambitions for the 6 to take on the Volkswagen Passat alongside the posher still Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. As a result, over the 6’s life Mazda has regularly updated its interior, with a mid-life facelift in 2015 and further tweaks in 2018.

Following this, the 6 offers crisp and clear analogue dials – digital versions in the range-topping version – a touchscreen media system (with rotary controller so you don’t have to prod the screen while driving) and a range of steering wheel-mounted buttons for the most commonly used functions.

Dash controls are concise and simple with a horizontal row of climate control buttons and a cluster around the media system’s rotary controller. Overall, it’s quite an easy dashboard to navigate, with just a few irritations to complain about.

The main frustrations come in the form of buttons to adjust climate control's fan speed – rather than a simpler to use rotary knob – and the infotainment system that forces you to start from the top of the station list every time you select a radio station.

Setting the sat-nav can also be a little frustrating with Mazda’s system forcing you to click through several menus before it starts navigating rather than simply issuing instructions as soon as you confirm the address. Rival systems do have their quirks too – with VW’s system, for instance, has two separate keyboards for postcodes, causing you to constantly switch between letters and numbers – so these are not criticisms unique to the 6.

Overall materials feel more than up to the 6’s price – especially in the top trims, which have leather seats and leather across much of the dash and doors. The range-topping version features soft Nappa leather, giving it an additional sense of quality.

Both driver’s seat and steering wheel have a reasonable amount of adjustment, meaning that most drivers should easily be able to get comfortable behind the wheel.

Comfort

  • Comfortable front and rear seats
  • Heated and ventilated seats available
  • Good rear space though headroom limited

Mazda’s mid-2018 updates for the 6 saw upgraded cabin materials for a greater sense of quality, more comfortable seats, tweaked suspension for a smoother ride and improved refinement courtesy of thicker sound insulation.

All of these work together to make the 6 a particularly comfortable car. Noise levels are low, with no wind whistle and very little road noise to speak of, with only a moderate volume being kicked up over rough tarmac – though this can vary due to the type of road surfaces than the car itself.

The suspension, on the other hand, is relatively firm but impressively smooth, even with the larger 19-inch wheels of high-specification models. Bigger bumps are dealt with without fuss and while it’s not the softest riding car in the world, the 6 offers a very good balance between remaining planted around corners and absorbing poor road surfaces.

The petrol engines are more audible in the Mazda than many competitors, such as the Volkswagen Passat, though it feels as if this has been tuned into the 6 rather than because the company has cut corners with sound insulation. The diesels, meanwhile, are less noticeable, though they still emit a sporty sound.

We found the front seats particularly comfortable, with good back and adequate side support, though you can’t increase the lumbar support as much as in rivals including the Volkswagen Passat and Audi A4. Soft leather in three of the four trim levels, however, boosts Mazda 6 comfort levels.

Most models also have heated front seats, with the top model including ventilated front seats to ensure the leather seats don’t get too sticky in hot weather, plus heated outer rear seats.

The rear seats are also pretty comfy, with good back support, adequate legroom and headroom for those under six-foot tall, though the sloping roofline means that tall people might find their heads against the roof.