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 Family saloons

  • The Ford Mondeo is a well developed all-rounder that shines with its handling and finish

    Ford Mondeo 2007-2014

    1
  • 15 million VW Passats have been sold in 100 countries since its launch in 1973

    Volkswagen Passat

    2
  • New Mazda 6 largely carries over the styling of the striking Takeri concept that previewed it

    Mazda 6

    3
  • Skoda Octavia
    The Octavia name dates back to 1959

    Skoda Octavia

    4
  • Hyundai i40
    Family-size Hyundai takes on the Mondeo, Superb and Insignia

    Hyundai i40

    5

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