Mazda6 2.2D Tourer

Sport Nav

Mazda 6 Tourer, front quarter
Mazda 6 Tourer, profile
Mazda 6 Tourer, dynamic
Mazda 6 Tourer, rear quarter
Mazda 6 Tourer, interior rear
Mazda 6 Tourer, interior rear
Mazda 6 Tourer, interior

OTHER than the MX-5 roadster it's probably fair to say that Mazda is not the first name which springs to mind when pondering buying a new car of any size or shape.

It's also fair to say that those who eventually stumble upon one and give it a go are pleasantly surprised by what they find.

The Mazda6 Tourer is a perfect case in point, with mainstream offerings from Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Skoda probably being seriously considered before the more exhaustive researchers cast their eyes in the direction of the Japanese option.

Those that do, though, will find a motor that combines the pre-requisite space and practicality of an estate car with some sleek design, an engaging drive and decent levels of economy.

A small but versatile engine line-up features a choice of four units: 145ps and 165ps 2.0-litre petrols, plus 2.2-litre 150ps and 175ps diesels, all of which feature Mazda's efficiency-boosting Skyactiv technologies.

The lower-powered oil burner in the car I drove is probably the sweet spot of the range in terms of balancing performance and economy, combining a respectable turn of pace - 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds and a top speed of 130mph - with claimed average fuel consumption of 64.2 miles per gallon.

It is also quiet and refined and offers smooth and relaxed cruising on the open road with decent throttle response when a quick burst of speed is needed, for overtaking, for instance.

Thanks to something called G-Vectoring Control (GVC), the 6 is one of the sharpest handling estates on the road too.

By monitoring steering input and throttle position when you enter a corner under power, GVC momentarily tweaks the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, which allows them to turn more precisely.

This helps the car stay settled in bends and there's surprisingly little body lean for an estate, with good grip helping to inspire confidence and make this an enjoyable car to drive.

It is also comfortable and spacious, with the sort of interior fixtures, fittings and finish that you'd expect for a car which is aimed at the demanding business market.

There is ample head and legroom for five adults to travel in comfort on all but the longest journeys, although anyone sitting in the middle rear seat will have to negotiate a sizeable transmission tunnel.

The boot offers 522-litres of cargo space which rises to a generous 1,664-litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat, a simple procedure using either the convenient levers located on either side of the load bay or the standard release buttons on the seatbacks themselves.

Familiar Mazda specification grades of SE, SE Nav, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav are available with standard features across the range including alloy wheels, multi-function leather steering wheel, push-button start, Bluetooth, automatic stop/start system, air-conditioning, cruise control and hill hold assist.

All cars also get a user-friendly seven-inch colour touchscreen multimedia system, incorporating digital radio, which can also be controlled via a BMW-style rotary commander in the central console.

Stepping up to the range-topping Sport Nav trim of my test car adds more muscular design touches, bigger alloys and such niceties as a colour head up display with traffic sign recognition, electrically adjustable heated front seats with memory function on the driver's side, heated steering wheel, satnav, premium Bose sound system, privacy glass, reversing camera and Mazda's Smart City Brake Support automatic emergency braking system.

FAST FACTS

Mazda6 2.2D Tourer Sport Nav

Price: £27,895

Mechanical:150ps, 2,191cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions:116g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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