Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Mazda 6 Tourer's engine options are a 2.0-litre petrol with either 143 or 162bhp and a 2.5-litre with 192bhp. All are four-cylinder, and the 2.5-litre gets an automatic gearbox as standard.
Even the biggest engine isn’t as fast as you might think, though. Mazda has bucked the trend for turbocharging, sticking with naturally aspirated motors instead, so they have to be worked hard if you want to make the most of the rather mediocre acceleration on offer.
While you might assume that the bigger capacity engines in the 6 Tourer would make it one of the faster estate cars, the range-topping 2.5 petrol is not much quicker than a diesel BMW 318d Touring and is only a second or so faster to 62mph than a Skoda Superb Estate 1.5 TSI. Plug-in hybrid alternatives, including the VW Passat GTE Estate, are much punchier too.
We’d stick with the 2.0-litre petrol. It’s a bit slower than the 2.5, but you can get it with the six-speed manual that has a satisfying, snappy shift action and therefore makes for a more entertaining drive than the sluggish automatic gearbox you get with the 2.5. We wouldn’t bother with the higher-powered 162bhp 2.0-litre petrol because the cheaper 143bhp version has exactly the same amount of torque so will feel just as quick in everyday use.
The 2.5-litre is noisier, too – if you rev it hard, it gets boomy very quickly. We’ll point the finger at that automatic gearbox again here, since it sometimes lets the engine rev noisily even with quite ordinary acceleration. The manual 2.0-litre is quieter, more fun and better value.
Otherwise, the 6 Tourer is fine to drive in a relaxed fashion, and it steers well so it’s easy to control fluidly whether you’re in town or tackling a fun road. It's a little more playful-feeling than the Superb Estate, but if you prefer something more enthusiastic, a Ford Mondeo Estate is a better choice. Why? Well, while the 6 Tourer's steering is light and pleasant, there's not enough weight build-up on faster roads to give you the confidence the Mondeo offers.
The 6 Tourer is comfortable, too. The ride settles down very nicely on the motorway, and while it can feel a touch lumpy over scrappy town roads, it always feels controlled. The Superb is a touch comfier in the right spec, but nobody’s likely to find issue with the 6 Tourer’s composure, even over poor road surfaces.
The same as the Toyota Corolla Touring Sport, but pricier and...
Comfortable, classy, well priced and incredibly spacious...
Spacious, comfortable, refined and well equipped. Pity the int...
The Peugeot 508 SW is pricier and less practical than mai...