Review: Mazda 6 (2013)

Rating:

Nimble and agile handling. Spacious cabin is very well made. Huge improvements to refinement and steering from October 2016

On 19-inch wheels suspension of 2012-2016 cars can feel firm at low speeds. Rear headroom in the saloon is limited for adult passengers.

Mazda 6 (2013): At A Glance

The Mazda 6 puts the Japanese firmly among the frontrunners in the family car class. Thanks to Mazda’s attention to detail and commitment to weight reduction in order to improve economy and emissions, the 6 is good to drive and easy on the wallet.

Mazda’s SkyActiv programme is the over-arching name for the push towards lower emissions and fuel consumption. Rather than any one single technology, SkyActiv looks to make savings anywhere and everywhere, working on the basis that a lot of small savings add up to one large overall saving.

It’s a system that works and means the entry-point 2.0-litre petrol engine offers 51.4mpg claimed average consumption, while the most frugal diesel delivers an official 67.3mpg. Both of these figures are very competitive for the family car class and are coupled to reasonable emissions too.

Further helping to mark out the Mazda 6 is the way it drives, which is also helped by the weight-saving obsessiveness of the SkyActiv approach. The 6 easily bears comparison with the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, though some might find the ride quality of the Mazda a little on the firm side.

The upside to this is the 6 has excellent handling manners and feels very lithe. Its petrol and diesel engine range are very well matched to the car’s abilities and they offer good refinement unless pressed right to their red lines.

Just about the only glaring fault with the Mazda 6 is it’s not offered as a hatchback, where most of its rivals are and this is the preferred body style for most in the UK. Still, the saloon is spacious inside, the Tourer estate is very practical and both are extremely well made.

What does a Mazda 6 (2013) cost?

List Price from £24,400
Buy new from £21,558
Contract hire from £219.14 per month

Mazda 6 (2013): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4865–4870 mm
Width 1840 mm
Height 1450 mm
Wheelbase 2830 mm

Full specifications

A mild makeover at the beginning of 2015 introduced an even cleaner look to the Mazda 6 cabin. This was largely achieved with a new centre console and instrument panel that have a more integrated feel. There was also a new 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system that is much easier to navigate than the previous one. While only a relatively small change, the refresh gives the updated 6’s cabin a more premium feel.

This upscale feel is underlined by the quality of fit and finish inside the 6, which is up there with the very best in class. Also, the unhindered view of the instruments from the supportive driver’s seat also helps further the 6’s cabin appeal.

There’s more than sufficient adjustment in the driver’s seat and the steering wheel for all shapes and sizes of driver to be comfortable, while the Tourer estate gives excellent all-round vision. In the saloon, there is a blind spot over the left shoulder when reversing or changing lane which is more noticeable in the saloon 6 than other hatchback competitors.

Even so, the Mazda 6 saloon offers up a large and useful 489 litres of boot space. The Tourer extends this to 506 litres with the seats up and 1648 litres with the 60/40 split and fold rear seat tipped forward. Lowering the rear seat is a doddle thanks to the release handles in the sidewalls of the boot.

Access to the boots of the saloon and Tourer is good thanks to wide openings. It’s also easy to get in and out of the two body styles of Mazda6. When inside them, rear legroom is excellent, but the slope of the saloon’s roof means headroom is limited for adults travelling in the rear of this model.

Across both the saloon and Tourer models, there are five trims for buyers to choose from. Entry point is the SE, which comes with air conditioning, cruise control, electric front windows, driver’s seat lumbar adjustment and cloth upholstery.

The SE-Nav and SE-L Nav models, unsurprisingly, add satellite navigation with three years of free map updates from Mazda. SE-L trim does without sat-nav but comes with electric rear windows, climate control and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

At the top of the range, the Sport Nav trim provides keyless entry, a Bose stereo system, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat adjustment and heated front seats. The Sport Nav also comes with Mazda’s head-up display that projects important information on to a screen in the driver’s line of sight.

Child seats that fit a Mazda 6 (2013)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mazda 6 (2013) like to drive?

Ask any engineer how to make a car drive well and they will explain all manner of different attributes. Speak to Mazda’s engineers and they have a simple answer: make it lighter. So, this is exactly what they have done with the Mazda 6, but not through the expensive use of aluminium. Instead, Mazda has simply worked out how heavy a component should be and then made it to that weight and no more.

The 6 is still no featherweight, with a kerb weight of 1465kg, but that’s less than many rivals and the benefits are immediately obvious when you drive it. There is a deftness to the 6’s controls that you simply don’t find in many family class cars. The steering turns with ease but also accuracy when you direct the car into a corner, so the feeling of control is always present.

As you go round a corner, the 6 continues this sensation of being light- and surefooted. It’s not easily deflected from its intended line by ruts or ridges and there is more than enough grip for almost every driving situation.

When the road is less than glassy smooth, you will notice the 6 has a firmer suspension set-up than some rivals, notably the Ford Mondeo. While this means you will feel more bumps at lower speeds, it does settle to give a very comfortable motorway ride. As the 6 is aimed primarily at the fleet sector, this is an acceptable trade-off but it’s a shame Mazda could not have made the car a little more supple at lower speeds.

Regardless of speed, the Mazda 6 is quiet and gets on with the duties of going from A to B with minimal wind, road or engine noise. Press the accelerator pedal all the way down and you will hear the engines become more vocal, but few will treat the car in this somewhat pointless manner.

There are four engines in total in the range, comprising a pair of petrols and diesels. The 2.0-litre petrol comes in 145PS and 165PS versions and both offer adequate performance, economy and emissions. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard for all of the engines, though the less powerful petrol is available with a six-speed automatic that gives a claimed 47.9mpg and 136g/km CO2 as a saloon compared to the manual’s 51.4mpg and 130g/km.

Most buyers will opt for the diesel-powered Mazda 6 in saloon or Tourer estate forms. We reckon the 150PS 2.2-litre diesel is the one to have thanks to its broad-shouldered power delivery that give 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and 380Nm of pull at 2000rpm. If you tow regularly, the extra 40Nm of shove from the 175PS 2.2 diesel will be useful but it makes little difference in daily driving. Both diesels can be ordered with the manual or automatic gearboxes.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 51 mpg 9.5 s 129 g/km
2.0 145 51 mpg 9.5 s 129 g/km
2.0 145 Automatic 48 mpg 10.5 s 136 g/km
2.0 165 48 mpg 9.1 s 129 g/km
2.0 Automatic 48 mpg 10.5 s 136 g/km
2.2 72 mpg 9.0 s 104 g/km
2.2 D 69 mpg 9.0 s 108 g/km
2.2 D 175 63 mpg 7.8 s 108 g/km
2.2 D 175 Automatic 59 mpg 8.4 s 127 g/km
2.2 D Automatic 59 mpg 9.8 s 127 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mazda 6 (2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

74%

Real MPG

28–62 mpg

MPGs submitted

449

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mazda 6 (2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Relaible and practical family car for under £30k?

I need a large family car for under £30,000. I need good legroom and a boot capable of taking golf clubs and family luggage. I do about 14,000 miles a year. Ideally, the car should have comfortable heated seats and cruise control. Performance is not a necessity, but reliability is a must. What do you recommend?
I'd recommend a Volvo V60 or, if you need more space, a V90. They're both very comfortable cars and your budget will get a well-specced model from 2019. If you'd prefer something brand new, consider another Mazda 6 or a Volkswagen Passat.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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