The new Mazda6 Diesel Saloon is a top-notch family car that’s becoming a firm favourite up and down the country. It’s affordable to run, fun to drive and it looks fantastic.
It’s also plugging a gap in a sector of the market that’s nowhere near as fertile as it used to be. If you’re one of the outliers that doesn’t want a crossover or an SUV, this large saloon might have the answers.
Interested in finding out more about this Japanese automotive company who released their first car in 1931? Read more in our history of Mazda.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Mazda6 Diesel Saloon review
Overview of the Mazda6 Diesel Saloon
On the Road
As ever with a Mazda these days, this saloon offers a very enjoyable driving experience. It’s a real drivers car that’s lots of fun, with Mazda working hard to offer it similar agility to their MX-5 Roadster. Naturally, this car is much heavier but its gearbox, pedals and steering are all so well-weighted that it feels almost as engaging. Almost.
Ride quality is one of its few weaknesses as it’s on the harsher side of things. The car performs well on smoother surfaces but coarser ones will present it with a problem – a problem that will be felt by you and your passengers.
On the flip side, a harsher ride usually means better handling finesse, and that’s the case here. Agility is excellent and there’s plenty of grip on offer.
If an awesome driving experience isn’t the be and end all for you, you’ll need to overlook the Sport model and its 19″ alloys.
Standard on all models is a new G-Vectoring Control system that listens to your steering input before tweaking the engine output accordingly. It’s tech like this that makes the Mazda so engaging to drive, and it also makes the car more stable.
In terms of its engines, there is just the one diesel available, although it’s offered in two separate power guises. The smaller of the two develops 148bhp and has a 0-62 time of 9.2 seconds.
That will most likely be more than enough power for most buyers. Should you want more performance, Mazda upgraded the 173bhp variant of the same engine in 2018 so that it now develops 181bhp. That’s enough to get you from rest to 62mph in 7.9 seconds. As part of its upgrade, Mazda have added a balancing system to reduce noise.
How reliable are Mazda vehicles? In our honest and unbiased assessment, we look at the statistics so you don’t have to.
Mazda6 Diesel Saloon Interior, Design and Build
A spacious and smartly designed cabin is the order of the day here, and it further represents just how far the brand has come in recent years where interior design is concerned. This is a modern cabin that’s got all the latest updates to keep buyers happy.
Supportive, adjustable front seats will certainly keep the driver and their passengers happy, and insulation has been improved thanks to laminated side glass and better door seals.
The entry and mid-range models miss out on a fabulous 7″ colour display and instead have to settle for the usual speedometer. This colour display isn’t quite on par with, say, Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit system, but it’s easy to use and looks great.
Standard on all models meanwhile, is a head-up display, as well as an 8″ colour screen. Other than that, most models have a traditional analogue dashboard. It’s also worth mentioning that the colour screen isn’t compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
Is the Mazda6 Diesel Saloon practical? It’s a stylish car, and it’s indeed so stylish that you can’t help feel Mazda have been a tad guilty of putting style before substance.
Only a tad mind, because it’s still reasonably useful. The cabin is roomy and there are a good amount of storage solutions to ensure you keep the place clean and tidy. Visibility is fine, and we like the shape of the door pockets.
It’s a large car though, which means it will be tricky to park. However, despite its size, you’ll find that it isn’t all that spacious for those in the rear. Headroom is compromised by the slick sloping roofline, while a central tunnel means that four adults will be far more comfortable than five.
The boot meanwhile, measures 480-litres, which is actually 20-litres less than last time. It does come with a few useful features, such as a flat floor and two handles, and it extends to 1,632-litres when you fold the rear seats.
Equipment and Safety of the Mazda6 Diesel Saloon
Standard kit is excellent across the range, with all models coming with keyless start, cruise control, Bluetooth, USB connection, and a multifunction steering wheel. It’s rare to find so many gadgets on the basic model in this sector.
The four-speaker standard stereo is a bit of a letdown, however, as is the fact that neither Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are available.
The Sport model rounds things off impressively with sat nav, climate control, adaptive xenon lights, and electrically adjustable heated leather seats.
In terms of how safe the car is, it enjoys a five-star safety raising rating and its standard safety kit includes traffic sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking, a forward facing camera, tyre pressure monitoring and electronic stability control.
Costs of the Mazda6 Diesel Saloon
Prices for the new car start out from £21,495 and rise to £23,695. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, this is a big, hefty car, but it’s also remarkably frugal. On a good day, the 2.2-litre 148bhp entry-level diesel engine can return as much as 68mpg while emitting 107g/km of CO2.
The bigger diesel, meanwhile, can manage returns of 62.8mpg at best and emits 119g/km of CO2. Impressive stuff.
Opt for the manual gearbox for either engine and economy dips, though not by a great deal.
Insurance-wise, the entry-level model sits in group 18, while the range-topping diesel occupies group 23 out of 50.
Pros and Cons of the Mazda6 Diesel Saloon
Good to drive
This is a drivers car that can rival even the likes of a BMW when it comes to driver involvement.
It’s one of the most stylish mainstream saloons on sale.
Value for money
It’s not too expensive, it’s well kitted-out and running costs are good.
Ride quality is a definite weakness and the ride will be too firm for some.
Not the most practical
Its large size makes it difficult to park, and it’s also not so roomy in the rear.
Mazda6 Diesel Saloon vs Ford Mondeo vs Volkswagen Passat
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Mazda6 Diesel Saloon review.
Mazda6 Diesel Saloon vs Ford Mondeo
The new Ford Mondeo is not as much fun as it used to be, with the brand going for a quieter, more relaxing and efficient affair.
On the road, then it’s more comfortable than last time, but previous Mondeo buyers will be sad to learn that it’s no longer as entertaining. Its steering is lighter and faster, but it’s not as communicative. This ultimately means that you don’t have the confidence to throw the car into bends that you would have had previously.
The suspension meanwhile, has been set up to be more comfortable too, but it also encourages extra body lean. All in all, the Mazda is now the car to turn to if you want some fun.
In terms of the engines, there are a couple to choose from. A 1.5-litre diesel engine kicks things off, but while it’s quiet enough and offers a healthy dose of performance, most buyers are likely to overlook it in favour of a bigger 2.0-litre diesel engine.
This unit is available in two separate power guises. The smallest of the two develops 178bhp and has a 0-62 time of 8.3 seconds. It never feels quite as fast as that and it can sometimes be a tad inflexible in the towns and cities.
A 207bhp bi-turbo variant is also available and it can get you from rest to 62mph in 7.8 seconds. It’s smooth and very easy to drive and live with. It’s quiet too.
Running costs? The 1.5-litre diesel engine is remarkably frugal and can return as much as 78.5mpg on a good day while emitting just 94g/km of CO2 if you pair it up with the optional ECOnetic fuel-saving tech.
The 2.0-litre diesels meanwhile, return between 68.9mpg and 59mpg economy.
Inside, the new Mondeo sports its best cabin yet. No longer as dowdy and plain Jane as it was, it even feels a bit upmarket. Go for the range-topping Vignale trim and it is upmarket. However, that trim is competing with the likes of BMW, as opposed to Mazda.
The standard model feels pretty plush too, and all models come with an 8″ infotainment screen. Insulation is good, and the car is comfortable.
Is the Ford Mondeo practical? It’s bigger than ever and thus more spacious than ever. Headroom is the only issue but apart from that, there’s plenty of room for everyone.
The wide opening doors make access easy, and there are lots of storage spaces on offer.
The boot meanwhile, is bigger than last time and measures 525-litres. Fold the rear seats and it extends to 1,630-litres.
Mazda – £25,535 – £32,115
Ford – £20,995 – £32,095
Mazda6 Diesel Saloon vs Volkswagen Passat
The new Volkswagen Passat is one of the standout cars in this class. With a premium interior, affordable running costs and acres of space, it can seemingly do no wrong. However, it looks a lot duller than the Mazda.
It might look rather unexciting, but it’s more fun to drive than it’s ever been. Its new underpinnings benefit from less weight and more strength to boost its driving dynamics.
Body lean in bends isn’t as big an issue as it once was, the steering is precise and there’s lots of grip on offer.
In terms of the engines, a 1.6-litre diesel kicks things off. It will have enough performance for some buyers and there’s a good amount of punch on offer. Ultimately though, a lack of refinement could cost it.
As such, you might find yourself looking at the 2.0-litre diesel unit. It’s available with 3 power outputs, with the smallest developing 148bhp. It’s refined and smooth, while a 187bhp variant tops you up with more of the same and a bit more power.
Rounding things off is a rapid 237bhp variant that can get you from rest to 62mph in just 6.1 seconds.
Running costs? The 1.6-litre diesel has claimed economy of 76mpg. Because it needs to be worked hard, we expect most buyers will struggle to return this on a regular basis.
The 148bhp variant of the bigger engine is good of 67.3mpg, while the manual version of the 187bhp posts the same figures.
Inside, the Passat boasts an outstanding, upmarket interior that’s head and shoulders above the Mazda in terms of build quality. Insulation is excellent, as is comfort.
Top notch plastics make up the dashboard, there are lashings of chrome here and there, and the design is both stylish and minimal.
Is the Volkswagen Passat practical? It’s even longer than last time, which means that interior space is cavernous. Head and legroom is brilliant up front and in the rear, with only the middle seat compromised by a transmission tunnel.
Storage areas are plentiful and include large door pockets, while the boot is bigger than ever and now measures a whopping 586-litres.
Volkswagen – £22,300 – £36,980
Verdict of our 2018 Mazda6 Diesel Saloon Review
This car scooped an Auto Express award for Best Family Car for two years in a row, and it remains one of the top picks in a competitive sector. It’s great fun to drive – a rarity for such a car – running costs are very reasonable, and it’s priced competitively. It’s not the most practical in this class, but if you can cope with the deficiencies we’ve gone over in this review, it’s highly likely that you’ll be more-than-satisfied with the new Mazda6 Diesel Saloon.