We have long been admirers of this sleek family car in both saloon and estate forms, but does the Tourer version have the substance to back up its style – and back up Mazda’s ambition to pitch it as a premium product?
Our Car: Mazda6 Tourer 2.2d 150PS SE-L Lux manual
List price when new: £28,095 OTR
Price as tested: £29,245
Official fuel economy: 62.8mpg (EU Combined)
December 17, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 56.1mpg
A series of meetings meant a busy day’s driving, taking me from south London to Stratford-upon-Avon, then back down to Goodwood in West Sussex before returning home again. It was a good chance to see how the Mazda would cope with long-distance motorway travel – a crucial part of the repertoire of a car like this.
I made use of the adaptive cruise control through the foggy rush-hour traffic on the M25. It’s a good system that accelerates and brakes for you smoothly and in good time. My car being a manual 6, you have to change gear for it yourself, but the system takes account of that and doesn’t shut off when you dip the clutch to change up or down, unlike some.
Of course, if I had an automatic, the cruise control would be able to maintain the car’s acceleration and braking in stop-start traffic; in the manual car, this isn’t possible, so it shuts off at around 15mph and allows you to retake control. Nevertheless, given that most of my driving at this point was above this speed, the adaptive cruise did most of the work, and that meant I found myself relaxed and refreshed by the time I arrived in Stratford.
For the next slog, back down the A34, M3 and M27, I plugged in my phone and made use of Apple CarPlay. Smartphone mirroring doesn’t come as standard on the 6 – it’s a £350 option – but it’s worth every penny. It can get a little confused when you plug your phone back in after a short break, but otherwise it works well, and the ability to stream music through Spotify using the car’s native controls is welcome.
What was more, I found myself using the Waze app for navigation, rather than the car’s standard sat-nav, which proved a godsend when it informed me there was an accident and a traffic jam ahead, and routed me around the worst of the traffic.
By the time I arrived at Goodwood, though, I had found a problem. I was developing a dull but irritating ache in my lower back. I drive with the lumbar support out to its fullest, but even with it set that way my back feels concave and slouched. It simply doesn’t extend out far enough to provide decent lower back support – and while that isn’t a problem if you’re only in the car for an hour or less, on longer drives it starts to become noticeable.
Despite this, on the journey back from Goodwood, the Mazda won me back. By now I was tired, it was dark and the roads were busy. Yet with the heated seat and steering wheel turned on, the Mazda was cosy and cosseting. What could have been an irksome and arduous drive went by quickly, and the last motorway leg with the cruise control doing its thing and the whole car feeling stable, settled and secure was as easy as could be.
In all, then, it’s proved its mettle as a capable motorway cruiser – I just wish it had a bit more lower back support to make it perfect.
November 27, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 55.3mpg
It’s a rare thing that someone asks a motoring writer for their advice on which car to buy, then actually buys the car they suggest. In asking, more often than not, people really want confirmation or validation of a choice they’ve already made. But every now and then, someone does actually go out and spend their hard-earned on a car you’ve recommended. At which point your satisfaction at having helped a friend or family member to arrive at a good decision quickly segues into nerves; ‘Good grief,’ you think. ‘I hope they like it. And I hope it doesn’t break down on them.’
On one of these occasions, the car in question was a Mazda6 Tourer. I needn’t have fretted, because it gave its owner faithful service, hauling him and his family around comfortably and efficiently and remaining rock-solid and terrific to drive for every minute of his three-year custodianship.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the 6. Fun to drive, yet also comfortable; efficient, yet also punchy; handsome, too, in a way you only notice when you stop to admire it. This latest facelift only improves matters, if our recent drive in the saloon is anything to go by, thanks to its terrifically executed interior – one which suggests Mazda’s aspiration to lift the 6 into the ranks of its more premium rivals is more than just marketing bunk.
It’s a big ask, mind you, especially from a car that is now just over five years old beneath the recent nip-and-tuck. Can it make good on those upscale aspirations? And if not, does it still stack up as a mainstream choice?
I’ve got six months to find out. So, without further ado, time to introduce you to ‘our’ 6 Tourer. First things first: we’ve gone for a diesel. Yes, yes, diesel is supposedly the devil’s fuel now, and diesel sales are consequently taking a nosedive, which is why Mazda will now sell you a 2.5-litre petrol alongside the 2.0-litre petrol option that’s always been available. Nevertheless, in cars of this sort of size and above, petrol alternatives are still just a little too thirsty for many to make the switch, so more buyers than you might think are sticking by their diesels.
That’s why we, too, have gone for an oil-burner; the 148bhp version of the 2.2-litre engine, to be precise, whose quieter running and good spread of power make it nicer to drive and live with than the more potent 181bhp option. We’ve also gone for the SE Lux model, one up from base, which benefits nevertheless from a pretty extensive kit list including leather seats, heated up front and matched to a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and even adaptive cruise control.
The only extra available, in fact, is smartphone mirroring (£350), which we’ve added – we’ll report back on whether it’s worth having before too long. And of course, we’ve opted for metallic paint at £800, too, the Soul Crystal Red paintwork adding an extra lustre to those Voisin-esque – as my colleague Mr English once put it – front wings.
The next six months, then, will give us a chance to work out whether the 6 Tourer’s beauty is more than skin deep. It’ll be pressed into service hauling people, dogs, luggage, garden waste and probably more besides. We’ll also try to work out whether diesel still is worth considering, or whether its time has now passed. But along the way, I also hope to find out whether this is still a car I’d recommend to a friend, five years on.
*Lease price from list price shown in the article is correct as of 04/12/2018 and are based on 9months initial payment upfront. Prices exclude VAT and are subject to change. Ts and Cs and Arrangement Fees apply.
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Mazda6 Tourer on long-term test: looks good – but is a diesel still worth considering? have 1518 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at December 18, 2018. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.