First DriveAttractive yet practical new Mazda 6 Tourer is much more appealing with a diesel engine under the bonnet
First DriveThe new Mazda 6 is a good all-round package on this first acquaintance, but doesn’t feel quite as sporty as claimed
What is it?
This is the facelifted 2010 Mazda 6 estate. The Japanese maker claims it has made 400 changes to its popular Mondeo-rival, and subtle as they may appear the updates have brought about a big improvement.
No small achievement given that this was one of the most competent cars in its sector even before the Japanese maker decided to give it some style tweaks and a range of new engines.
We’re testing the Mazda 6 estate fitted with the 177bhp, 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is the most powerful unit in the range and is only available with a six-speed manual ‘box.
The most significant change to this engine is the new, smaller turbocharger. Replacing the old car’s bigger blower has resulted in a power drop of 5bhp but torque remains the same substantial 295lb ft. It also now manages an impressive 52.3mpg and 143g/km.
What’s it like?
Other than the lower running costs the practical benefits come mostly from the much-improved engine refinement and response. As with the pre-facelifted turbodiesel, there is ample amounts of power and torque to make this a very usable family car and a rewarding drive.
Engine grumble is now significantly reduced – particularly from cold – and there is less lag and better response when you want it in the mid-range.
Another noteable improvement is in the suspension. Revised dampers and bushes are claimed to aid better stability and more pliant ride quality, and in practice the improvement really pays off. Suspension thump is better suppressed and the car holds the road well without any significant jarring, whilst body roll is well restrained.
The steering receives new software, thought there is little noticeable change in the well-weighted steering other than a touch more response off the dead-ahead. The six-speed gearbox remains unchanged so the 6 still benefits from its solid, precise gearshift. Small changes to the interior have also added a little more class to the cabin.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. This high-powered diesel engine is only available in range-topping Sport trim, which puts the list price up significantly. But with part-leather interior, heated seats, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and parking sensors as standard the Mazda 6 Sport isn’t only practical, rapid family transport it is also easy and comfortable to live with.
The front seats could offer more support and there are rivals that offer more rear passenger space, but even so there is very little that the Mazda doesn’t do extremely well.