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

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.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart
  • MX-5 RF 2.0 160
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    The distinctive 'retractable fastback' roadster promises typical MX-5 dynamics coupled with better refinement. It achieves the former, but the latter isn't quite there yet
  • Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Facing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Country Road
    First Drive
    12 January 2017
    Infiniti’s premium mid-sized saloon packs a serious punch, but lacks the dynamic prowess of European rivals