Mazda6 2.2D 180

Sport hatchback

Mazda6 2.2 Business Line diesel
Mazda6, rear
Mazda6, side on
Mazda6, interior

THE Mazda6 Sport diesel is the flagship model of the hatchback range - and as such it will be no surprise to learn it displays all the comfort and solidity of a luxury liner.

What will be a pleasant shock though is the car's speedboat-like nimbleness.

This is a proper family car with a no-nonsense approach to life and a sporty zip thanks to the powerful 2.2-litre oil burner under the bonnet.

Mazda ensures the four-cylinder turbo unit offers excellent fuel economy and relatively low carbon dioxide emissions without compromising levels of performance.

So the car is nippy away from the traffic lights sprinting from a standing start to 62mph in just 8.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 135mph.

There's little body roll thanks to stiff springs, allowing corners to be taken at pace with confidence. That's not to say any dental work is in danger as despite the firm damping the ride is reassuringly comfortable.

So whether you're on the motorway or barrelling along a country lane you never feel in any danger of losing control.

Despite its large dimensions the Mazda6 is an athletic animal with light accurate steering that gives the driver a decent feel for what is happening on the road.

Mazda fits dark privacy glass to the rear and rear-side windows but there really is no need to conceal the smart cabin which offers ample space for passengers and their luggage.

The big square boot has a capacity of 510-litres with the rear seats in place rising to more than 1,700-litres when they are folded flat.

Rear legroom is particularly impressive and headroom is competitive for the class despite the Mazda6's sleek shape.

The interior offers a sporty feel with circular air vents, cowled dials and generous proportions of metallic trim enhancing the look.

There's a user-friendly dashboard with stereo and air conditioning controls clearly marked.

Visibility is generally good although a rear spoiler does impose some restriction on what can be seen behind. However, parking sensors remove the threat of hitting anything when reversing the car.

There's a plethora of high-tech features included on the Sport trim such as nifty headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting, a multifunction steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and one of the best CD players - a Bose six-speaker audio sound system - I've listened to in a car. It gave some the ancient relics that pass for music in my CD collection a welcome new lease of life.

There's also cruise control, automatic front lights and wipers, a lovely set of 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, electric heated mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring system and dual-zone climate control.

A range of cutting edge features are fitted to keep your family safe including the latest electronic aids to help you stay out of trouble and a neat emergency stop system which automatically flashes the hazard warning lamps when you brake heavily.

There are also six airbags with Mazda including full-length curtain bags in the mix as well as daytime-running lights.

So with sharp looks, excellent driving characteristics, good build quality and top levels of refinement the Mazda6 Sport hatchback is one for the shortlist if you're looking for a family car.

FAST FACTS

Mazda6 2.2D 180 Sport hatchback

Price: £23,665

Mechanical: 180ps, 2,198cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 8.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 28

C02 emissions: 140g/km

Bik rating: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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