On sale: Autumn 2018 Price from: £20,000
The Mazda 6 saloon faces a tough challenge. It's got to compete for your affections next to the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb, and also try to entice you away from premium alternatives such as the Volkswagen Passat or even the Audi A4. In its current form, the Mazda 6 is an appealing family car and a fairly decent all-rounder, but a firm low-speed ride and an unengaging driving style stop it from being considered among the class leaders. Mazda is ready for another crack of the whip, though, with this facelifted 6.
2018 Mazda 6 features
Key to this facelift, says Mazda, is a new focus on comfort. To that end, there's a myriad of small changes designed to reduce vibrations sent into the car, as well as wind and road noise. The ride, which we've previously said can feel scraggy a low speeds, is also claimed to be improved.
Changes to the car's exterior are light and focus around a new front grille, new LED headlights and a new range of alloy wheels. There's also an extra paint colour, named Soul Red Crystal.
2018 Mazda 6 interior
Inside, this updated 6 gets a new 8.0in free-standing touchscreen – the same infotainment unit already offered in the latest 3 hatchback and in the CX-5 SUV. We've found it to be an intuitive and impressive system, so far, helped by the fact that it can be controlled both via the screen and via a rotary dial on the centre console.
Also new is a 7.0in digital instrument cluster on high-end models. Other new features include ventilated (as well as heated) front seats and nappa leather trim.
2018 Mazda 6 engines
Mazda won't reveal which engines will power the 6 in this country until closer to the car's launch, but in the US two choices will be offered – a 2.5-litre petrol in both non-turbocharged and turbocharged forms. Neither engine is expected to be offered here, meaning we'll likely continue to get the current 6's 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines, with small improvements to fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
Of the current engine range, we recommend the diesel for its strong pulling power.
2018 Mazda 6 prices
The current 6 costs from £19,995, and that price isn't expected to change too much for this facelift. Even if the 6 ends up costing you just over £20,000, it will remain cheaper than the Passat, which is priced from £21,610, but more expensive than the £19,445 Mondeo. PCP finance deals, though, should see all three cars more evenly matched.
Looking for a new executive car? These models will all cost you less than £2000 to buy, so read on to see if you can grab a bargain.
Best used executive cars for less than £2000
10. Volvo S60
The Volvo S60 is a top-flight bit of bargain luxury at this price point, combining as it does all the attributes we’ve come to expect from Volvo – a large and comfortable leather-lined interior laced with plenty of safety kit – and adding to that a wide range of potent and efficient engines. We found several of the punchy but economical D5 diesels for £2k, though you would do well with either petrol or diesel models. The S60 looks the part, too, and gives the impression it’ll last forever.
9. Lexus IS200
Buy an old Lexus IS and you’ll be getting a sharp-looking and beautifully made executive saloon with a top-notch reliability record. In fact, not only does Lexus consistently feature at the very top of most customer satisfaction and reliability surveys, the IS is very often the individual model that tops the lists too. It’s petrol only in this first-generation car, with either a pleasant 2.0 (IS200) or a lusty 3.0-litre (IS300) in-line six, and the classy watch-style instrument dials are to die for.
8. Peugeot 407
The 407 was something of a trend-setter in its day, and the styling is still distinctive enough to make you look twice. It majored on looks over practicality, in fact, but despite that there’s still enough space inside for a family, and there’s a large boot too. There’s also a wide range of engines and, whichever one you happen to track down, the 407’s a quiet and refined motorway cruiser. To top it all off, you can even find a relatively modern 2007 car for our limited budget.