Mazda6 Range 2018 facelift23 | 07 | 2018Scotcars rating

    Mazda6 range gets midlife update as it bids to keep pace with the established competition

    THINK OF MAZDA and the first models which will usually jump into your mind are the iconic MX-5 sports car, and the appealing CX-3 and CX-5 SUVs. But one of the best models in the range is the unassuming Mazda6 … and both the saloon and tourer have been given a refresh. (Related: Special edition Mazda Black+ models)

    Externally, the most noticeable changes are to the front, where there’s a newly redesigned grille plus LED headlights. Look closely and you’ll also notice there are styling tweaks to the bumper; these are aimed at giving the car a wider, lower, sportier look.

    The updated models come with the choice of four trim levels. These start with the SE-L Nav+, which comes with 17in alloy, parking sensors and tinted rear side windows. (Related: Mazda gives its CX-3 a facelift)

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    Externally the SE-L Lux Nav+ looks the same, but gains a reversing camera, while the Sport Nav+ adds a few chrome bits and some upgraded headlights, as well as 19in alloys and more complex LED rear lights. The range-topping GT Sport Nav+ benefits from even more high-tech LED headlights, Ultrasuede and Japanese Sen wood trim, ventilated and heated seats, a sunroof, and front, rear and side cameras to use when parking. Standard safety equipment includes radar-guided cruise control, blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking.

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    So far then, so good. But it’s inside where the biggest and most noticeable improvements have been made, and the changes elevate the Mazda6 to a quality inline with its other models. One of the biggest differences is the dashboard-mounted eight-inch touchscreen, which replaces the smaller unit previously located in the dash.

    The Japanese carmaker has also upped the interior quality, which is now excellent and makes the Mazda6 feel much more upmarket. As for practicality, the saloon offers 483 litres of bootspace  with all the seats in place, and the estate 522 litres. The latter increases to 1664 litres with the rear seats folded, beating the rival Ford Mondeo’s 500/1605 litres.

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    The interior also has plenty of space to accommodate five adults, each enjoying good leg and headroom in the front and back. Storage is also good, with plenty of pockets and cubby holes to store stuff. In addition to big pockets in the front doors and smaller ones in the back, there’s pockets in the back of the front seats, and two cupholders ahead of a cubby hole in the centre armrest.

    One of the main ‘headline’ developments of the updated Mazda6 range is the introduction of a new 2.5-litre petrol engine, producing 191 horsepower. Capable of 41.5mpg and emitting 156g/km CO2, it’s been introduced as an alternative to a more powerful diesel engine. The 2.5 is available only in the top-end GT Sport Nav+ model.

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    Paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the four-cylinder unit produces 191bhp and 258Nm of torque, and is an excellent unit for long-distance cruising. That said, it can still accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds. Fuel efficiency is helped by cylinder deactivation technology which halves the number of cylinders used when cruising.

    The range also includes two further 2.0-litre petrols — a 165bhp and 145bhp — plus two 2.2-litre diesels. These are carried over from the previous Mazda6, although the more powerful one now has 184 horsepower rather than 175. The other has 150 horsepower, and returns 62mpg.

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    On the road, Mazda models have long had a prized reputation for class-leading ride and handling, and the latest Mazda6 models simply maintain that record. Engineers have further tuned the suspension to improve comfort, and thankfully this hasn’t affected the way it drives.

    In fact, the tourer — estate to you and me — remains one of the most rewarding estate cars to drive. Honestly, drive it well, even sportily, and it’ll bring a smile to your face. But it also has an effortless ability to gobble up the motorway miles and potter round town.

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    As for costs? The facelifted Mazda6 starts at £23,195, and rises to £33,585, with the 2.5-litre petrol GT Sport Nav+ grade car costing £32,695. Ok, some might judge that as expensive, but once you factor in the high equipment levels and the new 2.5-litre engine, I’d suggest the range is good value.

    The latest Mazda6 takes the battle to rivals such as the Vauxhall Insignia, Volkswagen Passat and, of course, the Mondeo. There’s no denying the Mazda delivers the most rewarding driving experience of the quartet, and the addition of the 2.5-litre petrol further boosts its appeal.

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    That combination, allied to its handsome looks, excellent practicality and class-leading equipment levels ensure the Mazda6 should be near the top of your list if you’re in the market for a mid-sized family saloon or estate.

    Related: Mazda updates best-selling CX-5

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    Jim McGill

     

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested Range — £23,195 to £33,585
    Engine / Power: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with 6-spd auto / 191bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 8.1sec / Max 138mph
    How big/heavy?: 2.5-litre Saloon — L4870mm W1840mm (excl mirrors) H1450mm / 1607kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 2.5-litre saloon — 41.5mpg combined / 156g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Vauxhall Insignia, VW Passat, Ford Mondeo

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