As soon as you swing open the Mazda 6’s door, you wonder if this car will be on to something good when it comes to ride and handling. The door moves with ease, suggesting that it’s light, which makes you wonder if dynamics will benefit accordingly.

Indeed they do. Light cars can exhibit a lack of refinement – including some Japanese cars, due to a prevalence of lower-speed, well surfaced roads there – but the 6 is no great culprit. In all forms it feels only mildly less cocooned and isolated than a Volkswagen Passat or a Ford Mondeo, for example.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The new 6 is a pleasing and engaging steer with a sharp-turn in that's unusual for the class

We suspect the choice of cabin materials is as much to blame as actual noise levels, and the petrol-equipped cars are quieter than even the refined diesels.

The ride is acceptable in all models and across all types of road. Our test cars ran on 19-inch wheels with 45-section tyres and those prioritising ride comfort might prefer a car on smaller wheels. During our tests there was some grumble over poorer surfaces, but that improved with speed and was never crashy.

The 6 is nimble for a car of its size, though, regardless of whether you opt for the estate or saloon. The electrically assisted steering spins with medium weight, good response and accuracy and a decent approximation of feel, while body movements are contained with aplomb.

So, Mazda's 6 is as composed as a Ford Mondeo, but with a fleet-footedness that the sturdier Ford can’t equal.

Top 5 Mid-size execs

  • BMW 5 Series
    Superb engine and cabin, but ride and handling let the side down

    BMW 5 Series

    1
  • The second generation Jaguar XF

    Jaguar XF

    2
  • Audi A6
    The Audi A6 is a car that delivers in every area

    Audi A6

    3
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    4
  • Lexus GS
    The Lexus GS is unusual in the part of the market in not offering a diesel option

    Lexus GS

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150 S tronic
    First Drive
    29 May 2016
    We head to Havana to find out how the new Audi Q2 is shaping up ahead of its November launch
  • Seat Leon 1.4 EcoTSI FR Titanium
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    High-spec new Titanium FR trim is temptingly good value, particularly on the semi-enthusiastic 1.4 EcoTSI petrol
  • Kia Niro
    First Drive
    27 May 2016
    The Kia Niro will be one of the greenest cars in the compact crossover class when it goes on sale later this year. We drive it to see what else it has to offer
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    Can the turbocharged successor to the 458 raise the bar again?
  • Car review
    27 May 2016
    The big-in-every-way Bentley SUV lands. We assess the impact