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Mazda 6 facelift Test Drive Review

Date: 19 February 2015   |   Author:

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £23,240
Key rival: Hyundai i40
On sale: February 2015
Equipment: 6 airbags, 17in alloys, halogen headlights, privacy glass, front and rear parking sensors, DAB, 7in touchscreen, USB/iPod connectivity
Engines: 145hp/165hp 2.0 petrols, 150hp/175hp 2.2 diesels
Trims: SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport Nav
Transmissions: 6-sp manual, 6-sp auto

Mazda has a busy year coming up with new launches and refreshes, and this latest facelift makes some changes to the 6, the brand's upper medium model, following customer feedback.

The manufacturer's fleet sales increased by 33% in 2014 and its best fleet seller has, since its launch in 2002, been the 6.The 2015 model year 6 brings with it some subtle exterior changes, the majority of which
are on the top-of-the-range Sport Nav model.

There have been some tweaks to the front grille, with some more chrome and distinctive lighting giving the car more presence on the road at night. The rear lights have had a small tweak too, but the majority of Mazda's focus has been on the inside.

The brand has come under criticism in the past for the quality of its interior, and the steps it has taken have moved things on. Updates include a new integrated seven-inch touchscreen, which looks similar to something you might find in a Mercedes.

The graphics on the touchscreen have been given a major overhaul also, and the way you interact with the infotainment system is via a dial, much like you would with a BMW. Mazda has clearly been taking some design cues from successful German rivals.

The introduction of DAB as standard at the request of customers brings the 6 in line with mainstream competitors, and an electronic handbrake makes for more space and less clutter in the cabin.

While there are changes on the inside, there's no change to what is under the bonnet, with the same line-up of capable petrol and diesel engines featuring Mazda's efficient Skyactiv technology. It says a lot that in a market where most brands are downsizing there engines, Mazda's 2.2-litre diesel unit is still competitive on efficiency and running costs, despite its larger displacement.

The 6's CO2 output of 106g/km puts the diesel saloon into the 17% benefit-in-kind band and means a 20% tax-paying corporate customer pays just £66 a month.

The improvements Mazda has made are expected to boost total 6 sales by 15% over the previous model to 9500 units in its first full year. The saloon will take 60% of sales and 80% of all sales will be diesel.

Despite the 6 having a really strong engine, as well as an interior that can now compete with rivals, the difficulty Mazda has in this sector is that corporate customers can choose any mainstream manufacturer that still offers an upper medium model and get something comfortable, well-specced and affordable to run.

On paper, this model can stand against the best in the sector, but there is literally just pennies between the Hyundai i40,

Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo on a cost-per-mile basis. It means the 6 doesn't stand out, although it is absolutely a capable upper medium vehicle worth considering.

Mazda 6 2.2d Skyactiv SE-L 150

Model price range                                  £19,796-£28,795
Residual value                                                         32.6%
Depreciat­ion                                                          £15,665
Fuel                                                                          £4285
Service, maintenance and repair                             £2310
Vehicle Excise Duty                                                     £55
National Insurance                                                   £1732
Cost per mile                                                             50.4p
Fuel consumption                                                 72.4mpg
CO2 (BIK band)                                          106g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month                                         £66/£132
Warranty                                                     3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max)                                  981/1698 litres
Engine size/power                                         2191cc/150hp


Some welcome tweaks should put the Mazda 6 on more choice lists
  • Quality improvements make the 6 even more attractive to fleets
  • With so much choice in the segment, does it stand out?