• New Mazda 6 largely carries over the styling of the striking Takeri concept that previewed it
  • Three character lines echo each other as your eye passes backwards along the flank of the car
  • Tail lights have been designed to emphasise the width of the car
  • Shield grille has been toned down from the original Takeri concept car
  • Halo rings in the headlamp clusters mimic those on the BMW 3-series
  • Estate versions are sleekly styled
  • Interior is well laid out with a good driving position
  • Infotainment system is incomprehensible
  • i-Drive style rotary dial works well, but is flanked by too many unnecessary buttons
  • 489-litre boot is shallow but unusually long
  • Steering column could do with a bit more reach adjustment
  • Headroom is tighter than legroom, but both are adequate
  • The 6 estate offers plenty of rear space
  • Substantial 506-litre boot, in estate versions, should be more than adequate for most
  • Diesel motor impresses with its performance end economy
  • 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine develops 173bhp at 4500rpm
  • Estate versions perform just as well as saloon models
  • Mazda 6 feels light - and it is - weighing 100kg less than a Ford Mondeo
  • Body control is good and makes for an entertaining drive
  • The Mazda 6 estate handles as well as the saloon
  • Engaging dynamics and fine economy put the Mazda 6 back in contention
  • The estate version of the 6 is an appealing alternative to rivals like the Ford Mondeo

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.

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