THE stylish Mazda6 Saloon and Tourer range is a popular choice for private buyers and it has just been given a major revamp to keep it fresh.
With an upgraded cabin, revised styling, improved technology and a new engine, prices start from £23,195 and go up to £33,585.
There are 25 models to choose from across four trim levelsand a selection of petrol and diesel models including a newSKYACTIV-G engine which makes its UK debut.
It is a direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine which switches smoothly between four and two-cylinder operation to improve economy without the loss of performance.
It is already in service in some other markets and in UK 6 models it is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Thankfully the exterior changes to the car have notspoiledits great looks but you will notice the new grille which is deeper than before and features new mesh designed to give the car a more muscular look.
The LED headlamps have also been revised as has the redesigned lower bumper and new air intake. At the rear the Saloon gets a new boot lid while both it and the Tourer get new bumpers and revised lights.
In addition there is a range of new alloy wheels and a fantastic new Soul Red Crystal metallic paint colour which really makes the handsome lines of the car stand out.
Inside the cabin changes are more dramatic and represent a real leap in quality.
New materials, more tech and other refinements combine to give the 6 premium quality and a sense of luxury. Everything feels well built and solid and there is plenty room for five to travel in comfort.
On high spec versions there is nappaleather and real Sen wood trim and in all models there is a new centreconsolelayout.
Every model in the range gets a head-up windscreen display and there is a new larger eight-inch centre display screen while top models also get digital instruments with an extra display.
All versions are well equipped for the money and Mazda has boosted the amountof safety equipment. All models now feature a range of i-ACTIVSENSEtechnology including blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, Mazda radar cruise control, lane keep assist and advanced city break support.
Owners of the new cars will also notice that it is much quieter than before thanks to the use of more noise insulation panels and materials. Even at high speeds there is very little noise inside the cabin making it ideal for long distance journeys.
The Mazda 6 has always provided a smart driving experience and steering and suspension updates make it still the best in its sector for driving fun. The sharp steering is great on country roads and places the car exactly where you want it.
The 2018 6 is on sale now with a choice of two petrol engines and you will have to wait till September if you want to stick with diesel power. That is when a choice of two more powerful turbocharged units will arrive equipped with selective catalytic reduction.
I sampled both the standard 2.0-litre and the new 2.5 191bhp petrol units on the launch and both provided excellent performance and decent economy.
The 2.0-litre is linked to a slick six-speed box and provides stacks of driver enjoyment while the new power plant is linked to an automatic which turned out to be a bonus when I was stuck in a major traffic jam for a considerable amount of time. You certainly don't notice the engine switching between two and four cylinders to save fuel but the claimed 42.2mpg seems a little optimistic.
It has a top speed of 138mph and can tackle the sprint to 62mph in 8.1 seconds and is only vocal when pushed really hard. The 2.0-litre feels just as nice but I still like the grunt of a diesel and would probably wait until they arrive in a couple of months' time.
For the past five years more private buyers have purchased a Mazda6 rather than aMondeoand this significant refresh will mean that it will retain its loyal following.