Motorists purchasing a new Mazda 6 may assume they are getting a worthy, although rather dreary, family car. In reality, the 6 is a thrillingly entertaining package that is practical, reliable, and more versatile than a Swiss army knife. So, let's consider this fantastic car in detail.
The second generation Mazda 6 was introduced in 2008 in hatchback, estate, and saloon guise. Although not vastly superior to its predecessor, this Ford Mondeo rival is more refined than the late model and has more interior space. Rear occupants gain 20mm extra legroom, and the estate now carries 1,751 litres of luggage. The estate also has a luggage covering tonneau that automatically opens and closes with the tailgate.
The Mazda 6 is available with various engines, but the pick of the bunch is the 2.2-litre diesel. This smooth unit has outputs of 125, 163, and 185bhp, and the latter reaches 60mph in 8.2 seconds and returns a cost cutting combined average of 50mpg. Buyers can also choose the 2.5-litre 167bhp petrol engine that has similar performance to the largest diesel, but only averages 34mpg.
Right, that deals with the engines – now for the Mazda 6's party piece. Despite looking like the kind of car driven by geography teachers, the 6 has sporty, entertaining, and engaging handling. The steering is borrowed from the RX-8 Coupé, so it feels sharper than a cocktail stick dipped in vinegar. This complements the capable chassis which provides plenty of traction and inspires tremendous confidence. The only downside is a firmer than average ride, but this is a small price to pay considering the benefits.
The Mazda 6 impresses further with its comprehensive equipment list. This includes the stability control system, key-less entry, cruise control, start/stop button, parking sensors, and electric leather seats. This is all wrapped up in a robustly constructed package that is listed in Motoring.co.uk's new car database from £14,995. Who says family cars have to be dull?