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...

Used test: Jaguar XE vs Volkswagen Arteon

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon – driving

The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the Volkswagen does the job well enough, with enough oomph for most people. This means you don’t have to change down through the gears often to make progress, which is a good thing because it isn’t as quiet as the engine in the Mazda when pushed.

Despite being slightly larger in size at 2.2-litres, the 6 produces the same 148bhp as the Arteon, but there’s barely a hint of the clatter you’d usually associate with a diesel engine. Again, it's no fire-cracker; in fact it requires you to rev it harder than you do the Arteon's engine, but once you’re above 2000rpm, there’s plenty of mid-range punch for relaxed cruising. 

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

Both cars have a six-speed manual gearbox and neither feels anything other than slick and precise. The Arteon has well-weighted steering that is perhaps a touch lighter around town, probably because every version gets variable steering as standard that’s quicker at lower speeds to aid parking.

Grip levels are best in the Arteon – you can feel the 6 start to run wide in corners sooner than its used rival does. The ride in the Mazda can be unsettled and choppy at town speed when going over scraggy sections of road, but it irons out bumps better at motorway speeds. The Volkswagen, on standard suspension, is much the same, but allows a bit more road noise into the interior. It does suffer less from wind noise than the Mazda, though.   

New Mazda 6 vs used Volkswagen Arteon – costs

These two are pretty evenly matched when it comes to day-to-day running costs; they’ll both attract similar tax costs of £145 per year and there’s negligible differences in overall fuel economy at 64.2mpg for the 6 and 65.7mpg for the Arteon.

Neither Volkswagen nor Mazda did particularly brilliantly in the latest What Car? Reliability survey, finishing 16th and 17th respectively out of 31 brands featured. In terms of warranty duration, although pre-owned, the Volkswagen Arteon we found is still a 2019 car so its remaining warranty will only be a matter of a few months shorter than that of the brand-new Mazda.

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

The Arteon is slightly the more expensive car to buy at £26,500 for this nearly-new example with just over 1000 miles on it, compared with £26,198 for the 6 based on our What Car? Target price. Does that therefore make the Mazda better value? Not quite, because it is predicted to only hold onto 36% of its value over three years and 36,000 miles, while the Arteon will retain 41%. This may not sound like a big difference, but remember that the Arteon was a lot more expensive new, so that small percentage difference adds up to rather a lot of money.

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