FASHIONS and fads come and go and whilst the current vogue is for SUVs, rrossovers and the like it's good to see the traditional estate car is still alive and kicking.
Not that car makers call them estate cars anymore because either Touring or Tourer appears to be the label for them nowadays yet in essence they still do the same job as previously which simply means load luggers with that extra space in the rear.
Take the Mazda6 for example. The Tourer version has around 522 litres of luggage room in the back with the rear seats in use which then shoots up to 1,648 litres when those seats are folded down.
Years ago most estate cars didn't have all the home comforts and equipment levels either as their saloon counterparts but motorists today demand exactly the same package and that's clearly evident in this latest Mazda6 Tourer.
This Japanese contender too looks really smart on the outside - thanks in part to Mazda's renown Kodo design concept - with its flowing body lines, bold grille, stylish wheel arches and in many aspects in my view it's more attractive to the eye than the saloon sister.
Past estate cars also didn't have too much rear passenger seat room for three normal sized adults but in this latest Mazda6 it's exceptionally capacious with a decent amount of head room too.
Engine wise there's a choice of a 2.0-litre engine with a choice of either 143bhp or 183bhp with just one bigger unit - a 2.5-litre 191bhp- sitting in the GT Sport Nav with a six-speed automatic gearbox driven here.
Below the GT version there are two other trim levels - the SE-l Nav and the SE-L Lux Nav - but the good news for would-be buyers is that the amount of standard equipment on all three is highly impressive.
This includes adaptive cruise control, twin zone air conditioning, good eight-inch infotainment touch screen, full sat nav and smartphone connectivity and much more.
Naturally move up to the dearer top spec GT Sport Nav and the buyer gains much more for the money which included Nappa leather upholstery with Japanese sen wood trim, heated front and rear seats, parking sensors and an extremely useful 360-degree view with a bird's eye view monitor for safe manoeuvring.
For the driver all the control and dials are so sensibly placed making it so simple to drive and there's cruise control, LED headlights and that so helpful head-up display in front of the driver's eyes which again keeps a check on the car's speed without the driver having divert their eyes to the dashboard dials.
Obviously the GT Sport Nav gives a more potent performance than the two-litre engine but it does so in such a subtle way with a quick and quiet acceleration when needed, particularly for that extra push needed for more comfortable mid range overtaking.
The six-speed automatic is also a joy to use with quick and efficient up and down gearchange and the GT Sport Nav offers manual paddle shift gearchange is the driver wants to be more in charge of gear changing but in reality leave it in normal automatic and it does the job quite comfortably.
For that extra sports performance there's a sport setting button which can be operated on the move and yes it does make a difference in performance.
On board too is Mazda's clever Skyactiv technology which allows two of the engine's four cylinders to be cut off when up at cruising speed which is turns makes the car much quieter whilst also helping to improve fuel economy.
This latest Mazda6 is built on an excellent chassis which helps make the car have exceptional road manners whatever the surface condition or car's speed making it a truly comfortable and relaxing estate car to both drive and be a passenger.
As for which version to choose that's as usual down to individual needs and budgets but the GT Sport Nav is well worth the extra outlay because you do gain several pieces of extra equipment and that sporty performance.