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.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
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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