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.

Top 5 Mid-size execs

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka