Mazda 6 long-term review
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 3480 Official economy 53.3mpg (WLTP combined) Test economy 51.9mpg Options fitted Soul Red Crystal paint (£800)
7th August 2019 – Creature comforts
Not that I ever like to admit this around our younger team members here at What Car?, but as I've got older, I've noticed more aches and pains appearing after the long hours of driving I do as part of my job as chief photographer. Shooting cars all over the country means plenty of long trips in my Mazda 6 – plus the occasional holiday ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight, of course.
Due to its saloon shape, the driving position is quite low down, with your legs straight out in front of you. In fact, it's the lowest car I've had in a while in terms of how you sit. I usually like the more upright driving position of an SUV, because it feels more chair-like and natural, so there's less strain on your hips and knees.
All this means I'm pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I've found the 6 during my time with it over the last 2500 miles. The ride is smooth and absorbs the lumps and bumps of our British roads with ease. Only really sharp sunken potholes could upset the ride with a bit more of a thud, but even then, it’s nothing I’ve found uncomfortable on my longer drives.
The seats are also nice and comfortable, and although my car is only the entry-level SE-L Nav+, there’s still lumbar support included, although all adjustment for the front seats is manual (electric adjustment is available on higher trims). Those higher trims also come with a choice of leather upholstery, but I still think that the black cloth finish of my car looks smart enough and feels hard-wearing.
Another relaxing element that the 6 offers during long drives is the smooth and precise gearbox. As someone who usually prefers an automatic, it has been a while since I’ve chosen a manual for my car. Thankfully, this one has a short throw and slots in reassuringly to each gear. It even has the vaguest hint of the Mazda MX-5 sports car to it, thanks to the relatively high-set gear lever position.
So, with a busy summer of airport duties, garden clear-outs and plenty of photography, the 6 is looking to be a promising travelling companion.
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