Mazda6 Tourer 2.5 GT

Sport Auto

Mazda6 Tourer, front
Mazda6 Tourer, front
Mazda6 Tourer, side
Mazda6 Tourer, rear
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, interior
Mazda6 Tourer, 2018, boot

STAND back and scan the spec of the elegant Mazda6 Tourer and you soon realise that it's swimming somewhat against the tide...distinctly retro in an era of electrification and hybridisation.

What's more, most families are currently being tempted towards SUVs rather than estates, and small engines that are boosted by an electric motor tend to be the order of the day.

The latest Tourer gets a whacking 2.5-litre lump without even a glimmer of an electric assistance.

Yet despite its reluctance to tow the fashionable line, it's a cracking all-purpose family wagon offering unusual refinement, decent space for passengers and their baggage and strong performance.

The 6 has been around in various for about two decades and the stylish estate or Tourer, as Mazda prefers it, has long been a favourite in UK, especially since the saloon has no hatch option now.

A couple of years ago, it was treated to a new mesh grille, ride improvements and a more modern facia. Also the 2.3litre petrol engine was upgraded to 2.5-litre.

The four cylinder engine packs 194bhp, but don't get the idea this is a fire-breathing , traffic-light grand prix star.

On the contrary, its forte is relaxed and near silent cruising rather than performance. To complement the relaxed gait, there's a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Considering the size of the engine, mid-range torque is less than expected. Well chosen gear ratios of the automatic gearbox help compensate, however.

In keeping with Mazda's emphasis on driving dynamics, the 6 Tourer feels firmly planted on the road and rolls little during fast cornering. There's little sign of front drive steering tug and adhesion levels are up there with the best.

It flows well through bends, absorbing poor road surfaces without too much vertical suspension movement but sufficient to safeguard passengers' comfort. Crisp controls and well-weighted steering add to the driving enjoyment.

Roomier estate cars do exist - such as the VW Passat, Skoda Octavia and even the old favourite Ford Mondeo - but the 6's 522 litre boot is probably big enough for the majority of families. And this expands to 1,640 litres when the rear seats are flipped down.

Passenger space is ample in the front and quite adequate in the rear, even for six-footers. Seats, which are leather covered in the GT Sport version we drove, are well shaped and supportive. Front seats are electrically adjustable.

Back seat passengers may, however, find the presence of the raised centre tunnel to be a bit intrusive when carrying three abreast.

It's impressively packed with safety kit including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and heads-up windscreen display.

As you might expect, there's a price at the pump to be paid for the big four-pot engine. But we did not consider the 34mpg average we obtained over the 400 mile test to be a deterrent in selecting it.

It may not be in its first flush of youth and is undoubtedly a non-formulaic answer to family motoring, but the 6 Tourer remains one of the most appealing models in its sector, particularly so if you have driving satisfaction as a priority.

£33,710

2,488cc, 194bhp 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

139mph

8.1sec

41.5

27

172g/km

37%

3yrs/60,000 miles

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