Mazda 6 long-term review: report 2
Can a stylish saloon take on the larger estates and SUVs dominating the market? We put the Mazda 6 to the test...
The car: Mazda 6 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L Nav+ Run by: John Bradshaw, chief photographer
Why it’s here: I’ve explored SUVs and estates, but can a stylish saloon fulfil my needs just as well?
Needs to: Offer plenty of space for all my photography gear, provide a comfortable ride on long journeys and have a raft of equipment and modern safety tech
List price £26,795 Price as tested £27,595 Mileage 2324 Official economy 53.3mpg (WLTP combined) Test economy 49.9mpg Options fitted Soul Red Crystal paint (£800)
25 July 2019 – Back seat battles
Anyone keeping up with my long-term reports over the past few years will know that I have a regular chauffeur job ferrying my tall, burly, 6ft-tall mates to football practice. In an SUV, this is rarely a problem; we even managed to make the most of all seven seats in my previous Hyundai Santa Fe. But when I turned up in my new Mazda 6, the lads looked a little worried.
However, they were pleased to find out that the rear seat space in this executive saloon is perfectly acceptable. Despite its considerably sloping roofline and thinner frame than my previous cars, there was more than enough head and leg room for them.
The only real complaints came from the third passenger in the back. The middle seat has a particularly large hump on the seat base, which raises you up and therefore restricts head room. Also, the tunnel their legs have to straddle is quite large, meaning they have to place their legs on either side of it, restricting leg room for those seated either side. Thankfully, our weekly trips are only short, but housing three people in the back for a long journey would likely be an uncomfortable experience.
At least those rear seats split-fold in a 60/40 configuration and there's a handy lever in the boot that releases the catch. This doesn’t actually fold the seats, though, so you still have to move to the rear doors to complete the task.
There’s no awkward step in the boot floor once they're down, meaning that long items can be loaded easily; you could fit a two-metre-long piece of Ikea flat-pack furniture in without too much fuss.
The issue would be that the height of the boot is slightly restricted due to the sloping roofline, while the opening is also quite short. But because this is a sleek, stylish saloon rather than my usually favoured SUV, most people aren’t going to be using it as a load-lugger too regularly.
Another niche issue I’ve discovered when using the 6 for my daily job is the fact the boot lid is particularly light. Surely a positive, you might be thinking. But in my particular line of work, I have to regularly sit or even lie in the boot in order to photograph cars on the move (while wearing a harness, of course). That means the boot lid risks flying down and smacking the photographer – me – straight in the head. Although it’s incredibly unlikely anyone else will find themselves hanging out of the boot – it certainly doesn’t feature in the brochure – it’s a point that I have noticed.
You might think that I’m being negative about the 6, but if you strip away the inconveniences I’m noticing for my particular job and lifestyle, it's still a very competent saloon that will have no problem fulfilling the average driver’s space and practicality needs.
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