A handsome thing is the Mazda 6.

Not only that, but it’s also terrific to drive and reliable, making it one of the very best used cars for family and business purposes. Oh yes, and it’s excellent value for money, considering what a great package the buyer gets.

You will mostly be looking at the spacious and big-booted hatchback (1700 litres with the seats folded down, fact fans), because the saloon was cancelled in 2009.

There are some very good engines to choose from, including a 1.8-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel, although the pick of the bunch for a mix of motoring requirements is probably the 2.2-litre oil-burner from 2009. It’s economical, getting more than 50mpg, and simpler to maintain, because it lacks a cambelt. There’s a fun V6 petrol, too, which is worth finding if you want the best value.

Ideally aim for TS2 trim, because that provides everything a Mazda driver needs, which is alloys, remote audio operation, cruise control, foglights and heated mirrors. The Sport is decent enough, with some contoured seats, partial hide and headlight washers.

There was a facelift in 2010, which was basically new bumpers and lights plus some specification upgrades and interior trimmings. The best bits are that it became sharper to drive, too, and had more economical engines.

If you need more space, go for the equally dashing Sport Tourer estate, introduced in 2008. Like the last one, it was based on the Ford Mondeo but arguably more stylish, with loads of room for luggage. One clever design detail is the load cover going up with the tailgate.

Overall, these later cars seem to be ultra-reliable, which is good. Otherwise, check for leaking air-con and the diesel particulate filter valve, especially on the 2.0-litre diesel if it has a lower than average mileage.

It’s always an elegant way to travel.

Ones we found

02 Mazda 6