What is it?
This is the higher-powered diesel variant of the new Mazda 6, planted in a Tourer version of the car and linked – most crucially for this test – to the company’s new automatic gearbox.
Readers of our full road test of the new Mazda 6 will already be familiar with all the car’s engine and trim combinations, and the warmth with which we have received them, so the chief concern here is the effectiveness of the six-speed automatic and the compromises it introduces.
What is it like?
The addition of the automatic gearbox brings with it a significant price rise of more than £1000 over the manual equivalent and reduces fuel economy and acceleration times, so buyers need to be certain that it’s a benefit they will put to good use.
The good news is that the system operates smoothly and efficiently, whether it’s doing its own thing or you are controlling it via the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Left to its own devices, shifts are crisp even under heavy acceleration or braking, while requests via the paddle system are delivered swiftly, too.
The considerations must be the loss of both economy and acceleration. A combined 57.6mpg against the manual's 61.4mpg could be an issue for some, while the rise in 0-62mph time from 8.0sec to 8.6sec is a reasonably large percentage that is noticeable from behind the wheel.
The CO2 rise (from 121g/km to 129g/km) is potentially less serious at present as it doesn’t affect the car’s VED road tax band, although company car buyers will want to weigh up the extra costs associated with its higher list price.
The additional 15kg the auto ‘box adds to the kerb weight isn’t noticeable from behind the wheel, and the Mazda 6 remains a nimble and agile car in this guise. The 173bhp motor is refined and, with 309lb ft of torque, delivers reasonable, if far from record-breaking, shove.
The ride is decent, even on larger 19-inch wheels, while the steering is reasonably feelsome for a family-orientated car. Refinement is also a strong point.
Should I buy one?
You’ll either have a need for an automatic, in which case the Mazda should make your shortlist, or need to break out the calculator to work out if the additional purchase and running costs are worth saving your left hand and foot the effort of changing gear.
Either way, buyers will not be disappointed.
Mazda 6 2.2 175ps Tourer Sport Nav Auto
Price £28,045; 0-62mph 8.6sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 57.6mpg combined; CO2 129g/km; Kerb weight 1245kg; Engine 4 cyls, 2191cc, turbodiesel; Power 173bhp at 4500rpm; Torque 309lbft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd auto