MOTORS REVIEW: A step closer to greatness

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The Mazda6 had long felt like a car with elements of greatness that just lacked the ploish to beat the best.

This third generation car edges the Japanese company closer to class leadership with sharper styling, better attention to quality and some very economical engines.

Factor in a lot of kit and accessible pricing and we’d understand you choosing it.

It really can’t be emphasised enough how much the SKYACTIV programme of reducing the weight of this Mazda6 has benefited this model in terms of the way it drives. It’ll accelerate quicker, stop more sharply, corner more keenly, the suspension will be able to its job more effectively and you won’t be exacting such a huge demand on brakes, transmission and tyres.

The petrol engines comprise 145 and 165PS versions of the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder direct injection unit, even the lower powered variant making 62mph from rest in 9.5s on the way to 129mph. The 165PS version improves those figures to 9.1s and 134mph. In both cases, drive goes to the front wheels via a slick six-speed manual gearbox, unless you want to pay a bit more and go for a six-speed auto.

The Mazda6 achieves exactly what it has set out to do and almost without reservation. It’s bigger, safer and better looking than before yet drives better.

Equipment levels and build quality have gone up, emissions and fuel consumption have come down.

It earns a standout scorecard. We’d like to see an even more powerful petrol engine that really takes advantage of this excellent chassis, but that could well be in the works.

As it stands, the Mazda6 is a car we’d recommend without a qualm.

FACTS

CAR: Mazda6 2.0 range

PRICES: £19,595-£24,265 - on the road

INSURANCE GROUPS: 16-19

CO2 EMISSIONS: 129-136g/km

PERFORMANCE: [145PS] Max Speed 129mph / 0-60mph 9.5s

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [145PS] (combined) 51.4mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Six airbags, ABS, ESP

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Heightmm 4870/1840/1450mm