IS there a danger of estate cars being elbowed out by the growing surge of SUVs, crossovers and people carriers?
Despite the trend for high-riding four-by-fours - whether faux or genuine - the humble estate is still a favourite among buyers in Britain with nearly 300,000 being bought here last year.
And among the most appealing in terms of load capacity, styling and value for money is the Mazda6 Tourer.
Snubbing the ‘estate car' tag in favour of Tourer is something of a hint of the direction the Japanese firm is heading with this model.
While there's nothing skimpy about the Tourer's carrying capacity, it's very much a driver's car with styling to match.
Designed within Mazda's SKYACTIV philosophy it blends performance, low CO2 and pared down weight and represents an attractive proposition for business users watching the tax and families alike.
There's a choice of either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 2.2-litre diesel, both coming with an option of two different power outputs.
I drove the top-of-the-range 2.2d Sport Nav with a 173bhp turbo diesel engine. The spec is pretty complete and includes such treats as heated leather seats, keyless entry, reversing camera, seven-inch sat nav screen and head-up display so there's a constant reminder of your speed beamed on to the windscreen directly in front of you.
The diesel unit is among the quietest and most flexible four-cylinders around. Despite the considerable urge, most of the time there's little more than a murmur from beneath the bonnet.
Top speed is 139mph with acceleration to 62mph in a punchy sub-eight seconds.
The lusty performance does little to dent economy figures and most of the time I was getting upwards of 45mpg. Officially it tops 62mpg, and only gives out 119g/km of CO2, making it particularly tax efficient.
The steering is direct and accurate with more feel than most family cars while the handling has a bias on the sporty side, which might prove a little harsh for family motoring.
Road-holding is relatively flat with a minimum of roll, emphasising the Tourer's character as a car for the enthusiast. The standard six-speed manual gearbox has one of the lightest, smoothest actions available.
The cabin was facelifted and improved for 2015, but some of the German rivals remain a step above the Mazda when it comes to style and luxury. The facia is however smart and uncluttered with a good touch screen display.
The boot is long and wide if not as deep as some rivals and can carry 522 litres of luggage, bigger than some but not so generously proportioned as market leader the Skoda Superb or the Ford Mondeo.
With rear seats folded space expands to 1,664 litres and the surface is flat without the inconvenience of lifting heavy cases over a lip. Mazda does not offer a hatchback model in the current 6 line up, only a traditional saloon and the Tourer.