When you think mainstream family saloons your mind is instantly driven to Ford, VW and Vauxhall being your only viable options. It's a fair assessment to make given the stranglehold on the market that the Mondeo, Passat and Insignia have had over the years. However, that does the Mazda 6 a huge injustice to the Mazda 6 as it has been quietly and understatedly getting stronger and stronger, which continues to make it a great alternative if you want to standout on the motorway. For those in the know this is no real surprise and here's how the Mazda 6 has come up in the blind spot of its more lauded competitors in the segment:
Styling was a big opportunity for Mazda to make up ground as its key rivals are hardly inspiring in the looks department. Mazda leapt on this chance by designing a good-looking saloon that edges more toward premium styling than the mainstream. There is the sense that Mazda has put a lot of time and effort into the design to make it prettier and more desirable; offering a handsome front end, sculpted bodyline and wide and imposing rear-end. This is aimed at bringing it closer to the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes and distancing it from the sometimes humdrum more affordable options; which on finance at Carbase makes a Mazda 6 a true bargain.
Japanese build quality is never in question, so the cabin of the Mazda 6 does inspire confidence and is expertly put together. However, it does lack the finesse and premium finish expected of the market. It does feel cheap in comparison even to Ford and Vauxhall, which have both upped their game. As a car geared at driving enthusiasts the seating position and console is focused nicely towards the driver. Meanwhile, practicality is not an issue with plenty of room front and back combined with some clever touches to help boost versatility and spaciousness.
The Mazda 6 will not let you down in the performance stakes being pleasingly responsive, smooth and vigorous when the mood takes you. A turbo-diesel option will make more sense in a car destined for the motorway with an impressive economical return and lacking none of the punch; but the petrol engines will not let you down either. Engineering is what Mazda do best and there is no disappointment as the Mazda 6's performance and economy beats anything in class by going quietly, cheaply and reliably about its business.
Everyone that sits behind the wheel of a Mazda 6 secretly hopes that it drives like the MX-5 and it kind of does. It is a remarkable achievement to manufacture a car that has the big car feel, but has a nimble and lightweight agility expected of much smaller cars. You may lose out on some of the comfort in the ride, but that is not enough to wipe the smile off your face as you drive it.