Mazda 6 Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Mazda 6

£ 24,130 - £ 33,810
610
Published: 01 Jul 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Whisper it, but cars in this class – cars that will trek between business parks on motorways and bookend each day with a school run – don’t need to be especially tasty to drive. With the 6, however, Mazda has attempted to throw the rulebook out the window.

Initially there’s plenty of promise. Settling in, you’re sat low, the wheel is a good size, the gearstick has a nice short throw and weight to it, the seats are plenty supportive – it all gives off a hint that Mazda also makes a two-seater sports car. MI5, or something?

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Does it ride like an MX-5 too, then?

It’s firmer than you might expect – a little bumpy around town perhaps, but a comfortable motorway cruiser nonetheless, and certainly fine for most folk. The steering itself is quite light, which is a shame, but it gives you enough confidence to chuck it around country lanes, though only perhaps when you haven’t got the family in tow.

Where the 6 really falls short, however, is under the bonnet. Neither the 162bhp 2.0-litre nor the larger 2.5-litre nat-asp unit are as smooth, refined or quiet as you’d expect, and both feel a little out of sorts.

Presumably economy suffers, too?

You’d be surprised. Mazda has done a good job of keeping efficiency in check despite these heftier petrol engines – the top spec 191bhp petrol will still deliver 38.2 mpg combined, while the upper 2.0-litre manual petrol can manage 42.2mpg. CO2 emissions creep up slightly: 167g/km from the 2.5-litre plays 152g/km, meaning a 2 per cent jump in BIK, or £500 a year. You’ve been warned, company car drivers.

Other points to note? Sport, GT Sport and Kuro trims get 19in alloys as standard, which look good, sure, but do make a noticeable difference to road noise, which is intrusive in the cabin, as is the wind noise round the mirrors. Still, specced with the fantastic 11-speaker Bose audio system (standard on all but SE-L trim levels) you can drown out most of the noise.

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

Mazda 6 2.5 Skyactiv-G GT Sport 4dr Auto
  • 0-628.1s
  • CO2153.0g/km
  • BHP194
  • MPG42.2
  • Price£ 31,760

the cheapest

Mazda 6 2.0 SE-L Nav+ 4dr
  • 0-629.9s
  • CO2142.0g/km
  • BHP145
  • MPG45.6
  • Price£ 24,130

the greenest

Mazda 6 2.2d Sport Nav+ 4dr [Safety Pack]
  • 0-6210s
  • CO2117.0g/km
  • BHP150
  • MPG64.2
  • Price£ 30,030
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