Low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions make the Mazda 6 affordable to run as either a private or a company car. The 148bhp diesel engine is seriously strong and flexible.
The 6’s high-speed ride is too firm, which is a big problem in a car that’ll do lots of motorway miles. Cabin quality isn’t great, either.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Mazda 6 performance
The Mazda 6 is offered with two engines, each in two states of tune. The 2.0-litre petrol comes with either 143bhp or 163bhp, both with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (the lower-powered engine is also available with a six-speed automatic). Neither has much torque, so both need to be worked hard. The 2.2-litre diesel makes more sense; it’s available with 148bhp or 173bhp, but it’s the lesser of the two states of tune that impresses most – it’s quick enough and is remarkably flexible.
Mazda 6 ride & handling
The 6's suspension is focused on precision. Body control is well contained as a result and there’s plenty of grip, but the steering is light and frustratingly vague around the straight-ahead. More of a problem, though, is ride comfort. Even on fairly small 17-inch wheels there’s a decidedly firm edge at low speeds, so you feel even the tiniest bumps through your backside. Things don’t improve much at high speed, either, because there’s still far too much patter on the motorway.
Mazda 6 refinement
All engines are refined companions when you get up to motorway speeds. However, Mazda has 'engineered in' what is considers to be an appealing noise when the engines are pushed hard; in our experience, that just means you hear too much from them when you’re trying to get a move on. On the plus side, you feel very little engine vibration through the seats or steering wheel. Wind and road noise aren’t much of an issue, although neither is quite as well suppressed as in an equivalent Ford Mondeo.