New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

A new Mazda 6 is an excellent buy if you're looking for an executive saloon that's enjoyable to drive, but could a seriously desirable four-door coupé like the used Volkswagen Arteon be a more te...

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

Once upon a time, all the driveways in every suburb were each filled near-identical executive saloons – the only variation being whether the car was painted silver or black. Then people began to discover crossovers; cars that blended multiple genres to make something a bit different. Executive cars soon stopped featuring in top ten sales lists as buyers defected to the SUV camp.

In order to survive in the executive car class, manufacturers had to either drastically improve their offerings or alter the formula into something else. Take the Mazda 6, a very fine car in its own right and a world away from the dark days of the 626. It features snazzy looks on the outside and a smooth range of efficient Skyactive engines – the best being a 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel, which is the one we have here.   

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

The Volkswagen Arteon has evolved from the more traditional Passat that was once bought in droves, into something with rakish, coupé-esque styling. Plus there’s a smart interior that houses lots of the latest technology, all of which makes the Arteon look and feel like a truly premium product. In fact, it's priced like one, too, costing significantly more than the Mazda when new. However, you can find a nearly new example with very little mileage on it for similar money to a mid-range, factory-fresh 6. 

On paper, a used example offers you a lot more car for the same amount of money – but, of course, it comes with the pitfalls of a used car. So which is the better way of spending your cash? Time to find out.

Mazda 6 SE L Nav+ 2.2d List Price £26,795 Target price £26,198 Official fuel economy 64.2mpg (NEDC) Emissions 117g/km CO2 Power 148bhp 0-62mph 10.0sec Top speed 131mph 

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TDI Elegance Price new £34,655 Price now £26,500* Official fuel economy 65.7mpg (NEDC) CO2 emissions 112g/km Power 148bhp 0-62mph 9.4sec Top speed 138mph

*Price now is based on a 2019 model with average mileage and a full service history


New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon – interior & equipment

Stepping inside the Mazda you’re treated to an interior that feels solid and sensible, with plenty of soft touch materials. Some thought has clearly gone into its design, with a rotary dial and shortcut buttons to control the infotainment system to make it very easy to use on the move. You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity for the first time on a Mazda, making it right up to date. 

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

However, the Volkswagen Arteon’s crisp interior looks far more modern – and, to be fair, it is. The Arteon has Volkswagen’s Active Info Display; a huge 12.3in screen that takes the place of traditional dials and allows lots of custom information as well as full-colour and sat-nav displays. This high-tech theme is carried over to the standard 8.0in infotainment system, which has crystal clear graphics. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to use on the move as the system in the Mazda. 

That said, the Arteon fights back with an impressive kit list of its own. Our preferred Elegance version gives you LED headlights, sat-nav and leather trim, heated front seats, three-zone climate control (with separate controls for rear seat passengers) and adaptive cruise control.

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

The Mazda isn’t nearly as well equipped, but you get all the basics such as dual zone climate control, auto dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, a DAB radio and front and rear parking sensors. 

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon – space & practicality

There’s little to separate these two for space in the front; both cars are very accommodating and have plenty of head, leg and shoulder room. The Volkswagen is alone in providing electric driver’s seat adjustment as standard, though. Neither car is particularly short on storage in the front, but Volkswagen has added flocking material to the door pockets to prevent items rattling in there, which is a thoughtful touch.

The Mazda has the least amount of leg room, but the most head room. That being said, only the tallest of passengers in the Volkswagen might feel their hair brushing the headlining, so there isn’t much to differentiate them here.

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon: which is best?

It’s in the boot area where the major differences emerge. The Arteon has the 6 licked here due to its hatchback entrance; it has a vast opening compared with the smaller, letterbox slot you get with the Mazda. We were able to fit eight suitcases into the Arteon compared to seven in the Mazda. That car's boot hinges rob space, too, and further hinder its ability to take bulky loads.