• New Mazda 6 largely carries over the styling of the striking Takeri concept that previewed it
  • Three character lines echo each other as your eye passes backwards along the flank of the car
  • Tail lights have been designed to emphasise the width of the car
  • Shield grille has been toned down from the original Takeri concept car
  • Halo rings in the headlamp clusters mimic those on the BMW 3-series
  • Estate versions are sleekly styled
  • Interior is well laid out with a good driving position
  • Infotainment system is incomprehensible
  • i-Drive style rotary dial works well, but is flanked by too many unnecessary buttons
  • 489-litre boot is shallow but unusually long
  • Steering column could do with a bit more reach adjustment
  • Headroom is tighter than legroom, but both are adequate
  • The 6 estate offers plenty of rear space
  • Substantial 506-litre boot, in estate versions, should be more than adequate for most
  • Diesel motor impresses with its performance end economy
  • 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine develops 173bhp at 4500rpm
  • Estate versions perform just as well as saloon models
  • Mazda 6 feels light - and it is - weighing 100kg less than a Ford Mondeo
  • Body control is good and makes for an entertaining drive
  • The Mazda 6 estate handles as well as the saloon
  • Engaging dynamics and fine economy put the Mazda 6 back in contention
  • The estate version of the 6 is an appealing alternative to rivals like the Ford Mondeo

Previewing a mass-production car with a concept as rakishly potent as the 2011’s Takeri show car will always be troublesome, and despite a certain resemblance, the Mazda 6 does not capture the imagination.

In the real world, Mazda’s ‘Kodo’ design language congeals into a fussy concoction of ‘signature wings’, and as both the saloon and estate are among the largest in the class, there’s an awful lot of canvas upon which the visual effect can dwell.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Fold the rear seats down and there's plenty of space on offer

The 6 sits on a platform that is an amended version of the scalable SkyActiv architecture that made its debut in the Mazda CX-5. As a result, the 6 has the same MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension arrangement.

The SkyActiv treatment also does much to ensure that the 6’s size does not equate to bulk. Weight-saving measures – including an increase in the use of high-tensile steel – mean the latest model is lighter than many of its rivals.

Mazda's engine and transmission line-up is where the SkyActiv tech really pays off. The four-cylinder, 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines share the same basic structure and 14:1 compression ratio – a high figure for a petrol motor and a remarkably low one for a diesel.

The twin-turbocharged 2.2-litre diesel is offered in 148bhp and 173bhp forms. Depending on whether you opt for the six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed auto, the CO2 emissions (aided by a new stop-start system) can be as low as 108g/km.

For petrol buyers, the 2.0-litre engine is available with 143bhp or 163bhp. Again, emissions and economy are highly competitive for the class.

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