Mazda’s 6 was unlucky to compete against the Superb 4×4. If it wasn’t for the Skoda, the Mazda would have been a contender for class honours.
Every driver was impressed by just how stable the 6 was, right up to the legal limit and beyond. There was the slightest twitch from the caravan when slowing from high speeds, but without the Al-Ko ATC system to monitor the outfit’s behaviour, it might not have been noticed.
Through the lane-change manoeuvre the Mazda took charge, holding the intended course even while the van swayed around behind it. Sporty, firm suspension helped, but this does give a rather stiff ride.
The Mazda was quick along the straights as well as through the cones, going from 30-60mph in 13.1 seconds. The 2.2-litre engine is a recent addition to the range. It’s quieter than the old 2.0-litre, although there is more road noise to disturb the peace than in the Skoda.
Unfortunately, our practicality testers weren’t as impressed with the Mazda as the driving judges were. While the boot was big enough for a full load of luggage, the absence of a spare wheel was a black mark. Instead, there’s a puncture repair kit, which Mazda doesn’t recommend for use when towing.
With such a keen price, good economy and strong resale values, though, we still rate the Mazda highly.