Car Review - Mazda 6

Mazda 6

Mazda 6 - Credit: not Archant

Faye Sunderland drives the newly launched Mazda 6

There’s no denying that the Japanese have led the way when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles – the iconic hybrid Prius and the 100% electric Leaf from Toyota and Nissan are the poster boys of the green car movement.

Likewise, Honda has been an early adopter of hybrid power, with their Civic Hybrid, Insight and CR-Z joining the ranks of alternative fuelled vehicles.

In contrast, Mazda has walked a different path – for several years they’ve poured money into a variety of fuel-saving technologies, all grouped under the umbrella term SKYACTIV.

The first fruits of years of hard work materialised in 2012 with the launch of the CX-5. As a showcase for what the Mazda research and development teams had achieved it was a remarkable success – a lean, mean, fuel-saving crossover.

Fast-forward to 2013 and Mazda has just launched a new generation Mazda6 – available in saloon and estate form – built using the same SKYACTIV principles as the CX-5. The result provides a new benchmark for CD-segment cars; knocking the BMW 320d Efficientdynamics off the top spot of lowest CO2 emitting car in the sector.

In its most efficient configuration – the 150PS 2.2-litre diesel manual saloon – the car emits just 108g/km of CO2 with a combined fuel economy figure of 67.3mpg. CO2 emissions remain low across the entire range however, with even the petrol automatics coming in under 140g/km, at 136g/km.

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There’s also been a quantum leap in style too. The previous Mazda6 was easily lost in a sea of Vectras, Mondeos and Insignias, its aesthetics too indistinct to make much of a lasting impression. That has unequivocally changed with the new model – even when stationary it looks alive. The purposeful front, with strong grille, makes way to beautiful fluid lines and a long sweeping roofline. Even the estate doesn’t ruin it, with the Mazda designers combining good proportions with added load space.

With bags of room, style, performance, and equipment the new Mazda6 has established clear water between itself and the non-premium pack. In fact, it is so good even the BMWs, Audis and Mercedes-Benzs of this world will be looking over their shoulder and fearing Japan’s undisputed eco-saloon champion.

At a glance:

Price: From £19,595

CO2 emissions: 108g/km

Combined fuel consumption: 67.3 mpg

As standard: Cruise control, engine push start and electric windows

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