After dropping back the Mazda CX-5, I next picked up a Mazda6 for review. It was interesting to take these two cars back to back because you could consider the Mazda6 saloon now an old-fashioned format. SUVs are very much of the moment, and the CX-5 was certainly very impressive, so how would the Mazda6 follow?
The Mazda6 is one of the best-looking cars in its segment, in particular in the Soul Red signature colour, which shows off the cars flowing lines and elegance to great effect. The Mazda6 has the grandness of a large saloon, and the space to match, with generous accommodation in the front and back. The cabin is robustly made with plenty of soft touch materials that give the Mazda6 an unmistakably premium feel.
For 2017, Mazda has refined the Mazda6 slightly. There is not much to shout about in terms of updates to the design inside and out, but under the skin, Mazda has added something called G-Vectoring Control, more sound insulation and worked on the diesel engine to make it more refined.
In Ireland, the Mazda6 is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol with 145hp and a 2.2-litre diesel (150hp or 175hp). Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.
My test car had the 2.2-litre diesel with 175hp matched to an automatic transmission and it’s close to perfection in terms of power, refinement and the slickness of the automatic gearbox. Though in this combination, the Mazda6 is not cheap – my Platinum trim car has a list price of €38,695 – it’s truly premium levels of refinement in the cabin of the Mazda6.
Sitting lower than in an SUV, a saloon like the Mazda6 immediately engages the driver. The Mazda6 is certainly one of the most accomplished large saloons in the handling department. Small movements on the steering wheel control the Mazda6 with ease and the responses are lightning quick. G-Vectoring Control monitors steering and throttle position when you enter a corner under power and for a moment reduces the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, thereby transferring a fraction more weight onto the front axle which allows the front wheels to turn more precisely. The car grips willingly in corners and body roll is well contained making it a fantastic sporty drive.
On the motorway, the power and flexibility of the 2.2 diesel Mazda6 and the noise isolation in the cabin make it a serene and relaxing experience. The suspension is supple and works well over changeable Irish road conditions.
In terms of pricing, the Mazda 6 range kicks off at €29,295 for a 2.0 petrol and €29,995 for a 2.0 diesel in Executive trim. Standard equipment includes leather steering wheel, cruise control, air con, 7” inch colour screen and front fog lamps.
Executive SE models start from €31,295 and include parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, rear privacy glass, climate control and Smart City Brake Support.
Platinum models start from €35,695 and include heated, electrically adjustable, front seats, heated steering wheel, LED headlights and rear lights, Bose stereo, reversing camera and keyless entry.
As a refined long distance cruiser the Mazda6 is faultless, but off the big roads the Mazda6 will engage the driver and flits around corners with style. The improvements in refinement bring the Mazda6 to truly premium levels of ease and comfort, and with the 2.2 diesel under the bonnet, there is power in spades without the diesel clatter. Saloons like the Mazda6 might be an endangered species but the Mazda6 is a joy to drive.
Model tested: Mazda6 2.2 SKYACTIV-D Platinum Auto
Price: €38,695 (Range starts at €29,295)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 8.4 seconds
Top speed: 216km/h
Claimed Economy: 4.8l/100km
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Motor tax: €270 per year