The Mazda 6 has been facelifted since we last reviewed it. It’s still one of the most stylish family tow cars, but the average standard is now very high and the 6 isn’t quite among the class leaders.

The strength of the Mazda’s 2.2-litre engine is one of the highlights of towing with the 6 Tourer. Unlike some family diesels, it’s not just strong in the middle of the rev range – it keeps on pulling hard at high revs, which contributes to the swift 30-60mph time of 10.4 seconds.

The 6 feels stable at the legal limit too, although the Mazda began to move around a bit when the wind picked up, and was more prone to gentle swaying when slowing down from high speeds than the best mid-sized tow cars.

For a front-wheel-drive car with a manual gearbox, the 6 handled the hill-start test well. The electronic parking brake held reliably, and so long as the clutch and throttle were balanced carefully, the Mazda pulled to the top of the 1-in-6 slope without fuss.

In solo driving, the 6 Tourer is very capable. The steering is light but precise, and body movements are tightly controlled. The ride can be choppy over poor surfaces around town but settles down on the motorway.

Our practicality judges were disappointed that – despite being an estate car – we didn’t find space for all our holiday luggage. And although there’s a useful reversing camera, some more towing-related driver aids would have boosted the car’s score.

Running costs should be reasonable, although resale values aren’t as strong as a Skoda Superb‘s.

2019
Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners
2018
1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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