Elegant Mazda estate has all-round 6 appeal

The Mazda6 Tourer is a stylish estate with a load capacity to match its good looks.

The Mazda6 Tourer is a stylish estate with a load capacity to match its good looks. - Credit: Mazda

The Mazda6 is a real style e-statement, boosted by loads of space and practicality, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

I've always been a big fan of estate cars and not just because they have loads of room and practicality.

The modern load-lugger is now very often the most stylish model in the range and that's the case with the Mazda6 Tourer. One of the smartest estates on the road, the slippery Mazda6 Tourer looks the business. And when it comes to carrying cargo, it does the business too.

With the latest generation 6, Mazda has dropped the popular hatchback as customer trends change and now offers only saloon or Tourer and that is driving a lot more people to the estate.

If you're going to use an estate to its full capacity the 2.2-litre turbo diesel is the best bet with outputs of 150 and 175PS. There's also 145 and 165PS 2.0-litre petrol units. The SkyActiv family of engines, designed to maximise MPG and minimise emissions, have been further enhanced to make them even more environmentally friendly with a new brake energy regeneration system, standard on most models, joining engine idle stop-start.

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The 150PS diesel is a little noisy when cold but refined once warmed up and will meet most needs given its punchy performance – with a healthy dose of low-down pulling power from 1,800rpm, comfortable cruising and 55mpg in real-world mixed motoring.

The Mazda6 lives up to the promise of its dynamic looks when it comes to the all-round driving experience – provided you don't mind a ride being on the firm side. The suspension does a good job of dulling big bumps but you are always aware of what's going on beneath the tyres with a buzz accompanied by road roar on badly-worn surfaces.

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If you are an enthusiastic driver it's something you will happily live with for the hugely-entertaining handling. Ever since Mazda launched the MX-5 a quarter of a century ago it has made its 'bread-and-butter' family cars so much more rewarding to drive. The latest Mazda6 does not disappoint with its blend of finely-balanced poise, flat cornering stance and light. responsive steering.

It's a family car that isn't going to leave keen drivers feeling they have had to compromise but nor does it sacrifice space for a sporty driving experience so neither will passengers feel they have been short-changed when it comes to accommodation.

This is a roomy load-lugger, whether people or cargo, with huge legroom so six-footers, both front and back, can stretch out in comfort.

The boot can comfortably carry their luggage with a shapely 506-litre loadbay with the rear seats in place while a wide high-rise tailgate and a lightweight tonneau cover, which rises with the tailgate and can be stored under the boot floor, make loading and unloading easy. The Tourer's Karakuri 60/40 split rear seats move foward and drop to fold into a flexible flat cargo bay, with a maximum capacity of 1,648 litres and some underfloor storage, by simply pulling the levers each side of the boot or release buttons on the seatbacks.

The whole thing is designed to be functional rather than unnecessarily fussy and fancy and that's the overall impression of the interior – the fit and finish are up to the mark, clear dials and controls are user-friendly, especially the touchscreen, but while easy on the eye it lacks flair despite good use of brightwork and gloss black trim.

Three trim levels – SE, SE-L and Sport, each with a Nav version with satellite-navigation – provide good levels of equipment for the money whichs helps make the Mazda6 popular with fleets.

It's not difficult to see why Mazdas find favour with many drivers and have a loyal following – the Mazda6 doesn't stand out in any one area but all its talents combine to make it an attractive all-round package.

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