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Mazda6, interior
Mazda6, hatch, side
Mazda6, hatch, side
Mazda6, hatch, rear

I DISCOVERED years ago that the Mazda6 was every bit as good to drive as a BMW 3-Series and the latest models are right up there again.

I was due to have the 2.5 sport, but someone managed to bend it so instead, Mazda let me try the 2.2 diesel sport hatchback. What a car!

Once warm - and almost when cold - it is so smooth and quiet as to be inaudible even when standing outside the car.

It is hugely powerful, pulling well even in sixth and absolutely marvellous to drive, with brilliant road holding and amazing grip.

There is enough urge in lower gears to overtake with complete safety and yet it will pull happily and very quietly from 1,500 revs.

Put all this together with the fact that the Mazda is reckoned in the trade to be more reliable than Mercedes or BMW, and you have quite a package.

The Sport comes very well equipped, with steering wheel controls for stereo and cruise control, huge alloys, multi-CD, part leather seats and very good seat and steering column adjustment.

The boot is massive, there's a split-folding back seat to make it bigger, and just take a look - is that not one of the best looking family cars on the road?

: Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series




Price: £22,795

Mechanical: 182bhp, 2,183cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving the front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 50

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 149g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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