This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mazda 6 review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The engine range in the saloon range isn't as wide as that in the hatchback. There's no 1.8-litre petrol, instead the entry-level engine is the 2.0-litre petrol with 147bhp (available in TS or TS2 trims). It's nippy and sporty at low speeds, but doesn't feel especially quick despite a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds. The other petrol is a 2.5-litre with 170bhp, but while it's smooth and sounds good, it lacks low down grunt and isn't economical either, averaging 35mpg.

The original diesel was a 2.0-litre unit with 138bhp but this was short-lived in the 6 and in January 2009 was replaced by a superior and quieter 2.2-litre diesel. It's available in two power outputs of either 163bhp or 185bhp and both are strong performers, yet return more than 50mpg. The more powerful engine is a real gem and a genuine performance diesel with a 0-62mph time 8.3 seconds and huge reserves of pulling power for nippy overtaking.

People who enjoy driving will love the Mazda 6 - it's sharp, precise and good fun. That's because some of the bits underneath - such as the steering - have been borrowed from the Mazda RX-8 sports car. It corners well, has plenty of grip and gives a good turn of speed. It's also easy to drive, which should win over people who find driving more of a chore.

It's a comfortable cruiser and well suited to long motorway driving. Stability control is standard on all models.