Mazda gives range

more 6 appeal

Mazda6, front
Mazda6, rear
Mazda6, side
Mazda6, interior
Mazda6, boot
Mazda6, hatchback and estate

MAZDA is celebrating its 90th year by giving a major facelift to its second generation 6 range.

Back in 2002, the Mazda6 was launched as a rival to the Mondeo and it was the first of the Japanese firm's cars to use the Zoom Zoom slogan.

It has been very successful ever since and although there are 400 changes to the 6 there is nothing controversial as subtlety is the key.

Styling tweaks make the 6 look sharper. A redesigned grille, fresh front and rear light clusters and round, instead of rectangular, foglamps make up the exterior alterations.

Inside the addition of additional chrome plating and new piano black trim are the only changes.

The substantial 19 model line up consists of only hatchbacks and estates with the saloons being given the boot. Prices start at £16,995 and go up to £23,455, a four per cent increase but for that you get more equipment.

A rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, Hill Hold Assist and swivelling front lights are all standard feaatures as you climb up the range.

The engines are now cleaner than before and the steering has also been improved.

I drove the powerful 2.2-litre diesel, which thanks to a smaller turbo is now more fuel efficient and also has lower emissions, while the performance matches the outgoing model.

It is capable of 0-62mph in just 8.7 seconds and enjoys a top speed of 135mph. It can also achieve up to 52.3mpg and will be a great favourite with company car drivers.

For £22,795, you also get an eight-speaker Bose sound system, heated front seats, leather, parking sensors, 18in alloys, cruise and climate control and keyless entry.

New steering software and alloys mean the 6 has great reactions and responds sharply to every command.  The ride is also better and on some of Scotland's finest roads, the 6 proved to be an excellent companion.

The new car always feels eager and there is plenty of grip at all times.

Both hatch and estate offer plenty of room with 510 litres of boot space in the hatch and 519 in the estate. Up to 1700 litres is available in both cars if you fold the rear seats using Mazda's rapid release system with just a touch of a lever.

The new 6 feels like a class above many of its mainstream rivals and it will appeal to both private and company buyers. It is an extremely worthwhile alternative to the products of larger mainstream rivals.

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