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Mazda 6 Tourer review


The Mazda 6 Tourer is one of those cars we've always felt a bit sorry for. Of course, it is not a premium brand, but the truth is, that's really the only thing that’s been holding it back.

It has forged a reputation for being one of the best-handling estate cars on the market – and it comes with a generous level of equipment as standard. Even better, due to the lack of a German badge, it is excellent value for money – especially when leasing.

Select's rating score* - 3.6 / 5

At a Glance

The Mazda is also very good looking. It may lack the aggressive chiselling seen on some cars, but instead, it presents a more modest and sophisticated appearance while remaining sporty and stylish.

The front looks somewhat Jaguar-esque. It is dominated by the grille, which is more rounded than you’d see on British manufacturers’ cars. But, like the Jags, the grille is the centrepiece of the front end. A chrome border, which surrounds the lower portion of the grille, curves up along the sides and tucks into the triangular headlights, creating a mean frown. The smaller lower grille beneath it is largely hidden behind the number plate. Meanwhile, two subtle air intakes are carved in either side to add more shape and definition to the front end.

Side on, the Mazda appears a little restrained. Other than the roofline, which slopes down from the midpoint of the car towards the rear, there isn’t much to write home about. That said, a crease in the lower sections of the doors adds at least a bit of character.

At the back, it’s a modest affair once again. The rear lights wrap around from the sides, tapering inwards to just above the number plate in the middle. The lights are linked by a horizontal chrome strip that runs along the space between them.

It is a handsome car if a little unassuming. Mind you, its unpretentiousness arguably sums up the Mazda 6 quite well: solid, reputable, and competitive, but it doesn’t make a fuss about it.

Key Features

The Mazda 6 is available in both saloon and estate form, and both are available with four trims, known as ‘grades’. 

Entry-level SE-L grade features 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, premium black cloth upholstery, a DAB radio and electric-adjustable heated folding door mirrors. It also comes with adjustable driver lumbar support, LED headlights with high-beam control, privacy glass and radar-guided cruise control. What’s more, you get ‘stop and go’ in the automatic, which will bring you to a halt if traffic comes to a stop ahead of you.

Sport grade increases the size of the alloys to 19-inches and includes black leather upholstery with heated front seats and an upgraded Bose surround sound system. There are also electric front seats (with driver seat memory), adaptive headlights, a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel, smart keyless entry, a reversing camera, and a front wiper de-icer.

Kuro Edition features 19-inch black alloys and burgundy leather with heated front seats.

The flagship GT Sport features 19-inch alloys, brown Nappa leather with heated and ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats. You also get a black roof lining with Japanese Sen Wood trim detailing on the upper dashboard and doors, a seven-inch digital instrument screen and a 360-degree camera. An electric sunroof and advanced smart city brake support (which senses an imminent collision and prepares the brake system to apply maximum stopping power – and will automatically jam on the brakes for you, if you fail to react – to avoid hitting the car in front at lower speeds) are also part of the package.

The engine selections are slightly different depending on whether you choose the saloon or the Tourer estate, but it’s the latter we’re focusing on.

Each of the grades comes with a choice of one front-wheel-drive petrol engine from Mazda’s SkyActiv-G range – there are no diesels available (and no hybrids, for that matter).

SE-L, Sport and Kuro Edition grades come with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a six-speed manual gearbox, producing 145PS in the entry-level grade and 165PS in the other two.

GT Sport, however, has a bigger 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 194PS, with a six-speed automatic ‘box – and that’s what we’re driving.

Performance & Drive

Given our high hopes, our first impressions were a disappointment. The 2.5-litre engine promises much but doesn’t deliver. The automatic feels like it’s holding back the combustion engine, and, as a result, it doesn't ever seem to really get going.

Zero to 62mph takes 8.1-seconds, and the car will top out at 139mph. None of these figures is terrible, but lower down the rev range, it's sluggish to make progress and will be frustrating for those who regularly find themselves in a hurry. There is no turbo offered either, so there’s nothing to give it a much-needed boost. And the lack of an option for a manual ‘box means there’s little you can do to influence the performance delivery yourself, other than floor it and hope for the best. But, if you do that, the engine will become rather raucous.

Fuel economy is helped by cylinder deactivation, which means two of the engine’s four cylinders can be turned off when not required. As a result, it is a very smooth transition between two and four-cylinder driving, and we never noticed the switchover once. Therefore, Mazda has done a fine job in that department.

But the reality is that it’s not much quicker than the entry-level engines of its rivals, which are smaller and have better fuel economy figures anyway. So, you’re paying for a lot of engine capacity that it doesn’t make the most of, and, as a result, it doesn't live up to its potential.

Even though the other petrol engines on lower grades are slower, the manual gearbox supplied with them will at least occupy your attention and enable you to influence the performance more. Choosing a lower trim will also save you some money.

When not accelerating, the 6 is fine on the move, and, as a comfortable cruiser, it's at its best.

In fairness to Mazda, the SkyActiv engines are designed to optimise fuel economy and emissions. Consequently, the trade-off is far less performance than you’d expect from, in our case, a 2.5-litre engine.

In terms of the chassis performance, it's awe-inspiring, though. It has light and pinpoint steering, which is helpful as the handling is excellent. As a result, it's pretty enthusiastic on twisty B-roads and fun to drive. The ride feels well-controlled, and the body roll is limited. Therefore, you feel like you can stick the 6 into a corner at a decent speed and be confident you’ll be pointing the right way at the other end of it. It also handles poorer road surfaces reasonably well.

The Mazda feels full of personality, although that comes at the expense of the ride comfort, which is on the firm side. It would be an exaggeration to say it’s uncomfortable, but some rivals offer a more relaxing ride. This point may be something to bear in mind if you're a sales rep making a lot of long-distance motorway journeys.

Despite the car’s shortcomings, the engine is best compared with rivals’ smaller engines due to the fuel economy and emissions figures. And, given Mazda has done an outstanding job in optimising the chassis, it's a shame we don't see many 6 Tourers on the road.

Running Costs & Emissions

Our 2.5-litre unit produces 37.2mpg, with an emissions figure of 172g/km of CO2, which is notable for a powertrain of this size.

By comparison, the 2.0-litre variants manage 41.5mpg, producing 155g/km CO2 – and it’s the same figures for both 145 and 165PS versions.

Naturally, servicing costs will depend on various factors, but the larger engine size of our test car is likely to mean it's on the more expensive side.

Just for info, Mazda gives the 6 a three-year warranty as standard, limited to 60,000 miles. But as you're leasing, you may not be too fussed about this aspect of the car.

Interior & Technology

The Mazda 6 Tourer's interior looks very nice, and it's comfortable, too. Mazda has done an excellent job, indeed.

There are many plush, soft-to-the-touch surfaces, while gloss surrounds on the centre console and some silver trimmings make it stand out. The cabin has a premium feel that brings the Mazda into line with some of the best in the class. The two-toned upholstery in our GT Sport version looks superbly upmarket, too.

The 6 doesn’t feel quite as solidly built as some of its challengers, but if looks are what you’re after, then Mazda has you well accommodated.

Our top-of-the-range model means we have a powered eight-way adjustable driver’s seat along with lumbar support. So, finding a contented driving position is straightforward, plus you can save your seat position thanks to included memory settings.

The infotainment system is user-friendly, with menus laid out in a way that is stress-free to find your way around. Indeed, it’s one of the easiest to use that we’ve come across. While you can use the touchscreen, a rotary dial can also navigate through the menus, and there are handy shortcut buttons near the gear lever. The graphics aren't as crisp as the Mazda’s rivals, though, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are incorporated.

The digital instrument display adds some modernisation over the retro-looking physical readouts in the rest of the Mazda 6 Tourer range, too.

Practicality & Boot Space

The driver visibility is good – the door mirrors are generous, while the pillars aren't incredibly thick. The Mazda 6 Tourer offers a superior rear view compared with the saloon, too.

There is plenty of space inside, especially in the front, where you won't struggle for head or legroom.

The roofline begins to slope from midway along the car towards the back, but headroom in the rear is still sufficient. The legroom is okay, although taller passengers in the back may struggle. A Skoda Superb Estate offers quite a bit more space, which is worth factoring in if you’re likely to be carrying passengers regularly.

There are a lot of places to put things, too. The door bins are large, there’s enough room in front of the gear lever to put your glasses case, a bag of sweets or your mobile phone, while the centre console’s cubby is a decent size, too. Even the glove compartment is on the generous side.

Boot space measures at 522-litres, which should be more than adequate. It is bigger than a BMW 3 Series Touring (500-litres), though it’s lagging significantly behind the Volkswagen Passat Estate (650-litres) and the Skoda Superb Estate (660-litres).

Thanks to two easy-to-reach levers, you can easily fold the rear seats in a 60/40 split, increasing the available boot space to 1,664-litres.


The Mazda 6 Tourer was tested in 2018 and was awarded a maximum five-star rating.

It scored memorably high marks, too – a whopping 95 per cent for adult occupants, 91 per cent for children, but only 66 per cent for pedestrians and 73 per cent for safety assists.

Euro NCAP made its testing criteria more stringent in 2020, though, so the car wouldn’t score as favourably if re-tested today.

Safety kit includes the radar-guided cruise control we mentioned earlier, while the advanced smart city brake support is also fitted on all models as standard.

Sport grade and above includes a reversing camera, too.


There are numerous optional extras available for the Mazda 6 Tourer, most of which are to do with exterior styling – and some of which are a tad strange.

A rear roof spoiler can be added inexpensively, while a rear bumper step plate is also easily affordable, should you want it as an optional extra.

17-inch wheels can be added as well, though, bizarrely, it means paying quite a chunk to downgrade, given the GT Sport comes with 19-inch alloys as standard. It costs about the same to choose different 19-inch wheels, too, which seems rather unfair.

What also seems unreasonable is that you have to pay for a car key cover. You can choose various colours and finishes, including a carbon fibre look. Surely, if the standard car key isn’t that attractive, Mazda should just improve it?

A tyre pressure sensor kit can be added for a minimal sum, while aluminium pedals can be bought, too. Strangely, you add them separately rather than as a complete set, while puddle lights that project the Mazda logo onto the ground can be had for a snip.

Some rather interesting choices here!

Rival Cars

We have already mentioned the main competitors – and while the Mazda 6 Tourer has drawbacks, we’re nevertheless comparing this in the same bracket as a BMW 3 Series Touring, a Skoda Superb Estate and the Volkswagen Passat Estate.

The Mazda isn’t quite good enough to beat any of these overall – but against most others, it is undoubtedly a cut above.

Verdict & Next Steps

The latest Mazda 6 Tourer is attractive and stylish but in a modest sort of way.

It is unassuming, with good looks that are satisfying rather than head-turning – and it has a nice interior.

Sadly, the GT Sport grade is badly let down by the automatic gearbox, which limits the engine’s performance. Unfortunately, a lack of alternatives means we can't recommend it, especially given it’s significantly more costly than the other grades.

The entry-level petrol engine is more than sufficient – you’ve more control thanks to the manual gearbox, and that makes it more fun to drive.

Alas, this means going for a lower grade – which means you lose a lot of the tech that could make the GT Sport worthwhile, including the different safety systems and the digital cockpit.

It handles well but, despite this, other rivals still offer more. For example, an entry-level BMW 318i M Sport Touring is cheaper than the GT Sport. Yet, despite the smaller engine, it offers similar performance, better fuel economy, even healthier emissions, and a more entertaining ride.

The Mazda 6 is still a good vehicle – even excellent, in some areas – and we are talking about it in the same conversation as Volkswagens, BMWs and the (very much living up to its name) Skoda Superb. But it’s hampered by its shortcomings which, regrettably, are some of its rivals' most significant strengths.

Mazda’s SkyActiv powertrains may be designed for economy over performance, and that would’ve been great just a few years ago. But, the reality is most manufacturers nowadays are finding they can boost both at the same time by adding in an electric motor and offering the same car as a hybrid, something the Mazda 6 doesn’t.

Hybrids exist elsewhere in Mazda’s catalogue, including some plug-in versions, so the lack of hybrid options in the 6 Tourer means a refresh of the powertrain line-up can’t be that far away.

In our case, we’ll be waiting it out to see what it comes up with because, when it does, the Mazda 6 Tourer will become a serious contender.

Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Mazda 6 Touring

**Correct as of 25/02/2022. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2,630.79  Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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