By Patrick James on 2016-11-13 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Mazda6 2.2 Tourer
175ps Sport Nav Auto
IT'S been said many times, but it's worth saying again, estate cars ain't what they used to be.
The big barges of yesteryear have been replaced with sleek, stylish 'tourers' or 'sportwagons' or 'shooting brakes' or any other name the marketing people can dream up to replace the word estate, which still implies, well, big barges.
The Mazda6 tourer is a good example of the aforementioned sleek and stylish, arguably as good looking as its good looking saloon sibling, but offering that extra practicality with room for five adults and a huge cargo capacity.
Despite the swooping roofline, it offers decent headroom as well as plenty of legroom for all passengers. The latest tweaks since the last upgrade in 2015 didn't need to do much to improve an already impressive package.
These included modified grille, bumpers, light clusters and eye-catching 19-inch alloys on this test model.
As well as being that practical family motor, it is the almost perfect repmobile motorway cruiser, offering high levels of comfort, bags of performance from its 175ps diesel engine, not to mention decent economy and lowish emissions.
The model I sampled is also available with a slightly lower powered diesel at 150ps, offering better economy and emissions, so many business users would probably opt for that model.
However, the extra grunt on offer does make for a more engaging drive.
For even better economy, the model features Mazda's SKYACTIV set up, a raft of technology to reduce consumption and emissions, but also now includes improved handling through what the Japanese car maker calls G-Vectoring Control.
It is a system which senses when a wheel is about to lose traction and applies the brake and reduces the power going through the drive. It effectively monitors each wheel and adjusts accordingly to help the car feel even more stable on corners.
In practicality terms, the tapering shape towards the rear of the car means there is some compromise with cargo capacity.
The 522 litres of space is good, if not class leading, but this can be opened up with one touch buttons on the seats and in the boot which fold the rear seats virtually flat.
To help with ease of loading and unloading, the load cover is attached to the tailgate under the rear windscreen.
The interior offers an upgraded instrument panel, which again is dominated by a tablet-style touchscreen for major controls, such as sat nav, connectivity and apps.
The interior finish is high quality with soft touch plastics, leather seats on this model, leather multi-function steering wheel and gear lever finished with chrome touches.
It is also well equipped with electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning and cruise control, fully adustable seats, DAB radio and for safety there is stability programe, comprehensive air bag set up and isofix child seats anchors to the rear seats.
This range topper also includes power adjustable and heated front seats, traffic sign recognition, radar cruise control, parking camera and the premium Bose sound system has 11 speakers
Safety kit includes adaptive LED lights, blind spot monitoring and lane assist system.
A premium package to challenge the best in the segment, but with price tag of under £30,000. As the old saying goes, there's a lot of bang for your buck.
On the road, it drives like the saloon or hatchback with the powerful engine delivering plenty of acceleration and the excellent torque keeping this up right through the rev range.
The six-speed automatic gearbox slips through the cogs seamlessly and there is enough power on top to handle all situations.
The ride is firm, even sporty, but not uncomfortable and you can take corners with supreme confidence.
Acceleration is brisk, the Tourer hits 60mph in around 8.5 seconds and claimed economy of 57.6mpg and emissions of 129g/km are impressive, even if in the real world mpg it is nearer 50mpg.
It really scores on the motorway with that excellent torque, top class soundproofing and lack of wind noise. There is tyre noise especially from the wheels, depending on road surface, but overall its a supremely comfortable drive.
For those looking for premium quality, but not looking to pay premium price, the Mazda6 estate is quite an option.
Mazda6 2.2 Tourer 175ps Sport Nav Auto Diesel
Mechanical: 175ps, 2,191cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 23
C02 emissions: 129g/km
Bik rating: 25%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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