Mazda saloon with

looks

Mazda6 saloon, dynamic2
Mazda6 saloon, dynamic
Mazda6 saloon, front
Mazda6 saloon, front quarter
Mazda6 saloon, profile
Mazda6 saloon, rear
Mazda6 saloon, rear quarter
Mazda6 saloon, interior
Mazda6 saloon, boot

DON'T judge a book by its cover they say.

You wouldn't be happy to buy a tome with a collage of delicious recipes on the front only to discover when you got home it was an illustrated guide to 17th century slaughterhouse techniques.

No one wants to part with their hard-earned cash for a copy of Sports Cars down the Agesonly to find a workshop manual for the Trabant.

If I spot a publication called The Best of British Oratory I don't expect to find anything included which was said at the last election.

Therefore, I recommend the Mazda6 - what you see on the outside is more than supported by its content.

We have here the diesel turbo 2.2-litre, 150 Sport Nav, recently updated and costing£26,795, depending on haggling skills, for which you get a lot of room, medium-rare performance, the promise of excellent economy and a lot of equipment.

More to the point the update brought with it exterior tweaks that give the car accomplished lines well above its pay grade.

Inside reduced button count and quality of finish has taken the Mazda to another level with a deep centre console covered by a sliding lid and faux-metal inserts which actually do look like a brushed alloy and not escapees from Toy Story.

On the technology front the navigator and infotainment screen which gives this 6 its name is touch sensitive while you are parked up behind the shops sneaking in a cheeky latte and then only operates on a rotary control once on the highway, so no trying to poke the eyes out of Steve Wright while turning Radio Two off on a bumpy road.

Will that road be all Jiggly Joe?

Well the 19-inch alloys fitted were always going to show up how impressive investment the UK road surfaces has been, as in not but fun to drive despite being such barge.

The comfortable command position helps miles vanish, SKYACTIV Vehicle Dynamics for integrated handling and vehicle control, not a subscription sports channel, with G Vectoring keeps everything nicely in line.

You can specify a six-speed automatic but this was a positive six-speed manual and while there are two-litre petrol options the 2.2 diesel will attract most interest.

In this case it was the less powerful 148bhp version which will jog along to 62mph in nine seconds with a possible fuel figure of 67mpg giving a tank range of 917miles, CO2 of 107g/km and an annual tax bill of £140.

Nothing out of the ordinary there but it all comes together well as a package, certainly if you have a high-mileage life.

People who know about these things tell me the 6 is lacking for the want of Apple CarPlay, I wouldn't worry personally.

On the other hand a forward camera to activate the autonomous braking I care about along with traffic sign recognition.

Memory seats, folding mirrors, parking sensors, head up display and air con add to the package.

There is plenty of room even if rear seat passengers suffer from sloping roof syndrome, something they won't get with the Wagon version coming under review in a month or so.

At the end of the day, between 4pm and 5pm doing the sales paperwork in a Little Chef, it is a rep mobile destined to know where every 50mph restriction is and how Plod calculates the point at which he prosecutes.

Therein lies the struggle.

Four-doors are in a shrinking sector as the crossover tightens its vice-like grip on the public's purse.

Meanwhile speed monkeys seeking out a fast saloon will continue to look to Germany and pay the price.

Those who want looks and a lot more than they may expect with a boot should consider the Mazda, a maker which currently has the most sensible and faultless range since Al Fresco and the Spam Fritters played Litherland Town Hall in '63.

A good read inside an attractive cover.

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