Mazda 6 long-term review: report 5

Can a stylish saloon take on the larger estates and SUVs dominating the market? We put the Mazda 6 to the test...

Mazda 6 long-term review petrol station

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

Mileage 4400 List price £26,795 Target Price £26,198 Price as tested £27,595 Test economy 51.9mpg  

16 September 2019 - More miles for your gallon 

Regardless of whether you park definitively in the petrol or diesel (or hybrid, or electric, or hydrogen) camp, fuel economy and costs are still going to be a large factor in purchasing your new car. That, combined with the hundreds of miles I travel for What Car? photoshoots, meant I decided to opt for a diesel engine for my Mazda 6. 

Read the brochure for the 2.2-litre 148bhp diesel unit in my car – badged Skyactiv-D by Mazda – and you’ll see there’s some clever technology, stating that ‘low compression ratios’ and the lack of ‘expensive nitric-oxide after-treatments’ make this 20% more fuel-efficient than other diesel engines.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what all that means, and certainly didn’t bear any of it in mind when selecting the Skyactiv-D. But I can indeed confirm the Mazda 6 does produce incredibly impressive economy results. In fact, over the 4400 miles I’ve put on my Mazda so far, the average fuel economy has been a strong 51.9mpg. I’m pleased I’ve been able to achieve those figures, as its official numbers aren’t far off, at 55.4mpg. 

Mazda 6 long-term report engine

Not only is it efficient, but it’s also a dream to drive. As expected with a diesel, the Skyactiv-D has plenty of low-rev torque, so it pulls well in gear. This means you don’t have to change gears every few seconds, such as when trying to make progress around town centres, which makes for a much more relaxing driving experience. 

It’s also beautifully refined, and although sounds a little raspy when starting from cold, once you’re up to a cruise it quietens down so much it’s barely noticeable. I’ve even had passengers who didn’t realise it was a diesel at all, thanks to its peaceful and composed manner even when building revs. 

It’s safe to say that although opting for a diesel might be a slightly controversial decision nowadays, it suits the Mazda 6 incredibly well, and does well to look after both your fuel costs and stress levels. 

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