On the streets

* Tested for 12 months * Could it cope with family life? * Read our verdict, here...

On the streets

The Mazda didn't look like a box and it didn't feel like one, either. The meaty steering was responsive, and the suspension firm enough to make the 6 good fun to hustle along a country road (if I'd remembered to secure everything in the boot).

The long gearing made it good for a motorway cruise, too, and although the cabin was a little noisy at high speeds, it was comfortable enough.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine in my car has now been replaced by a 2.2. The new engine is quieter and cleaner but the 2.0-litre wasn't bad and was fast enough for me, if a little gruff. Economy didn't match up to the claimed figure of 49.6mpg, but fuel figures rarely do.

Notchy gearbox was annoying, but the 6 was otherwise problem-freeSo, the 43.2mpg I achieved overall wasn't too bad, especially when I admit that I never really drove with economy in mind. I wasn't being a boy racer, but my good intentions often seemed to fall by the wayside in my (always legal!) eagerness to get home in time to read my daughter a bedtime story.

A forest of temporary traffic lights also erupted on my various routes to work, and that didn't help fuel economy. Combine that with the occasional flood of cars from the M25 and it was a challenging daily grind for the Mazda.

A good job, then, that my car had plenty of toys to keep me entertained in the worst of traffic jams which is one of the reasons why I went for the range-topping Sport Luxury trim.