Does a more expensive track suit do the job any better?
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The Top Gear car review:Mazda 6
For:Mature styling, good to drive, a plush interior and a tech list as long as your arm
Against:Top spec engine and gearbox combo is a little out of sync
What is it?
The Mazda 6 is Mazda’s handsome, commodious, sharp-driving… rep-mobile, really. And that’s the problem. Biggish saloons/estates without German badges just aren’t in demand now they’ve been squeezed out by crossovers, more affordable SUVs and the pesky Germans themselves undercutting the masses. Ford used to sell over 100,000 Mondeos in Britain alone annually. Nowadays the whole segment struggles to match that, but Mazda make its unsung hero.
This Mazda6, which starts at £23,195, has been on sale since 2012, and the car you see here wears the latest 2018 facelift, which includes the UK debut of the cylinder deactivation-equipped SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre 191bhp petrol engine. It’s a bold move from Mazda to keep on with the naturally aspirated fight, especially with a hefty 2.5-litre, but we applaud its tenacity.
With every facelift (it’s had a few…) the 6’s interior gets better. Leather finishes all around make it a comfortable place to be, while reams of tech – from heated and cooled seats to adaptive cruise control and large touchscreen infotainment – make it feel much more than its mid-£20k price tag suggests.
The new 191bhp 2.5-litre is only available with an automatic gearbox, but the entry-level 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol and 148bhp or 181bhp 2.2-litre diesel get a manual as standard. All are available in Saloon or Tourer body styles. The top-tier pairing is nice enough, but the lazy automatic gearbox and comparatively unrefined engine means we’d recommend another model in the line-up.
There are four trims, from SE-L Nav+ and LUX Nav+, into Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+, depending on what engine you choose. All specs get the 8in colour touchscreen infotainment, Bluetooth connectivity, lane-keep assist, privacy glass, parking sensors, heated wing mirrors, heated seats… we could go on. The list is impressive and pushes Mazda much closer to the premium brands that traditionally steal the limelight in this sector.