Despite their obvious similarities, the Mazda 6 Tourer has a very different personality to that of the Volkswagen Passat Estate. While the VW is anonymous but thoroughly competent, the Mazda makes a more immediate impression but doesn’t tick quite so many boxes.

Beneath the distinctive looks is a very fine tow car. Up to the legal limit the 6 hardly seemed affected by crosswinds, but when pushing up to 70mph it began to move around more than the VW. In the lane-change test, too, the Mazda puts most cars in the shade, but it isn’t as assured as the Volkswagen, with bigger steering inputs needed from the driver to pull the caravan straight again when swerving aggressively.

Mazda drivers have a conventional handbrake rather than the electronic parking brake fitted to the Passat, and it needs to be pulled on firmly to be sure the outfit won’t roll backwards. But with such a strong engine, tackling the slope in first gear is easy enough, although the clutch tended to smell a bit in reverse.

Whether towing or driving solo, the 6 has a firmer ride than the Passat, and it’s not as quiet at speed.

Our practicality testers were happy with the Tourer’s 506-litre boot, but less impressed by the poorly installed towing socket.

The list price is very keen for such a large, well-equipped car, and running costs should be , thanks to official combined economy of 64.2mpg.

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2019 Up to 1400kg

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2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

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2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

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2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

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2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

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Ford Focus Estate

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BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

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

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Skoda Octavia

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2.2D Premium Luxury


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2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

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Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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