This is the new Mazda 6 Tourer, following its mid-life refresh for 2015. We're driving it in manual form, together with Mazda's most powerful, 173bhp, 2.2-litre diesel engine.
Work has been carried out to improve refinement on this new model, as well as lift cabin quality and include more equipment as standard. Mazda has also tweaked the 6's suspension in favour of a more comfortable ride.
There are some strong rivals in this class, though. The 6's main competition comes from the Ford Mondeo Estate which, on paper, is cheaper and more efficient.
What is the 2015 Mazda 6 Tourer like inside?
The 6's cabin is a comfortable place to be, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and electrically adjustable seats that offer good lumbar support to help find the perfect position. A couple of tall adults will have no complaints about space.
There's room for a couple of adults in the back, too, although three across the rear seats will be a squeeze around the shoulders.
An impressive 506-litre boot capacity adds to the 6’s practicality, and with the seats folded that space increases to 1648 litres, which is more the Ford Mondeo Estate's.
The plush interior in our Sport Nav test car has a very luxurious feel. Of the soft-touch plastics used for the dashboard and buttons, most feel decent, but some around the air-con are a bit cheaper.
Quality in general is high, though, and every model comes with Mazda’s much-improved infotainment system which includes a 7.0in touchscreen with MZD-Connect online and social networking functions.
The infotainment system is responsive and easy to use on the move, either through the dials down on the centre console or the touchscreen itself.
This range-topping diesel is available exclusively in Sport Nav trim and comes stacked with kit. LED headlights and foglights, as well as 19in alloys, heated leather seats, a reversing camera, Bose surround audio system, sat-nav, keyless entry and a new head-up display are all standard.
The model we drove also came with the optional £800 Safety Pack, which includes adaptive LED headlights, lane-keeping assist, driver attention alert, blindspot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and rear smart city brake support.
However, even entry level SEl models with lesser engines get air-con, alloy wheels, cruise control, electric front and rear windows, a smaller 5.8in infotainment screen, Bluetooth, CD player, USB socket and keyless start.
What is the 2015 Mazda 6 Tourer like to drive?
The hike up in power to 173bhp for this diesel engine from the lower-powered 148bhp has injected some real pace into the estate: it shaves 2sec off the 0-62mph time compared with the lesser engine.
This really becomes noticeable when accelerating up to motorway speeds, aided by its precise and accurate gearbox. Once at 70mph, the revs sit at 2000rpm and the gentle diesel hum fades into the background.
The trouble is, there's a fair bit of wind noise created by the large wing mirrors. There’s also some road noise that enters the cabin, but it’s a marked improvement over its predecessor.
While the engine is quiet at 2500rpm and below, it sounds strained when you venture beyond that. You’ll rarely need to take it past 3000rpm, though.
Even on our car's large 19in alloys, the 6 soaks up imperfections in the road really well, coasting along smooth surfaces and gentler bumps with ease at low speeds. True, bumps become more apparent at higher speeds, but it’s still another area where the 6 has improved over its predecessor.
The new model has, however, lost some of its handling capability that so impressed in the previous generation, even if the 2015 model still has light and precise steering.
Should I buy one?
This range-topping Mazda 6 Tourer has a very capable engine and an impressive luggage capacity, as well as a plush interior.
Against the equivalent Ford Mondeo Estate, the 6 is marginally more expensive, less efficient and not quite as fun to drive, but it is faster and slightly more spacious.
Ultimately, we'd recommend sticking to 6 Tourers further down the range, ideally with the lesser 2.2d 150 diesel engine. If your budget can stretch to it, though, this Mazda 6 Tourer is worth considering.
What Car? says
Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d 175
Engine size 2.2-litre diesel
Price from £27,595
Torque 310lb ft
0-62mph 8.0 seconds
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 61.4mpg