Driven: all-new Mazda 6

We were so eager to get behind the wheel of the all-new Mazda 6 that we almost missed the stunning details. We say almost…

Walking up to the new family-friendly Mazda – no matter whether it’s in saloon or estate guise – it’s difficult not to be wowed by the design.

Striking, bold and sharp creases give way to flowing, organic curves that lend the body a serious visual tension. It’s imposing and arresting but subtle and stylish all at the same time. A very difficult trait to pull off indeed.

Mazda 6 Tourer in grey

All the same, Mazda has. And it’s a similar story with every area of sensory feedback. The interior boasts a nice degree of style and flair – interesting to look at without compromising ergonomics – while material and build quality is excellent. You get the feeling this thing is properly screwed together.

And once you turn a wheel the same sensation of solidity filters back through the controls. It feels thoroughly well engineered, with light but talkative steering and a composed ride.

Mazda 6 tourer interior

The chassis is agile too and means you can exploit that composure if you fancy engaging the Mazda 6’s balanced dynamics.

It’s certainly entertaining, with the 150hp 2.2-litre Skyactiv-D turbodiesel engine delivering more than enough pace to make progress, thanks to its punchy mid-range urgency.

It’s mated to a nice six-speed manual gearbox that immerses you in the action further still, but with enough torque so as not to require constant gear changing, it gives the best of both worlds.

This SE-L Tourer will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds, but its superb refinement and smoothness mean it’s a great cruiser too – happy to sit for hours on the motorway or trundle around town.

Fitted with stop-start as standard and available with Mazda’s optional i-ELOOP energy recovery system, the Mazda 6 estate will return impressive fuel economy of 64.2mpg combined with 116g/km CO2 emissions – superb performance for a family-sized vehicle.

Mazda 6 Tourer in grey

And given that you’ll potentially be transporting your loved ones around it’s a boon to know the Mazda 6 is rock-solid safe.

The firm’s Skyactiv chassis technology – a combination of lightweight but super strong steel – gives rewards in driving dynamics and efficiency, but also absorbs impacts and dissipates energy in a sophisticated fashion to reduce potential injuries.

That’s if you even have a crash – our Mazda 6 SE-L Tourer came fitted as standard with the Japanese firm’s Smart City Brake Support.

The system is designed to help avoid or minimise the effects of low speed collisions, such as when driving in town. Using lasers to determine what’s in front of you, the technology continually monitors the gap to the object ahead and applies the brakes if it sense a crash is imminent. It works at speeds of up to 20mph, too.

Thankfully, we found no need to test it, but we trust it works 100%.