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.