Mazda 6: Don't believe the hype (but this Mazda's all right)

 

Price: From £19,595 (£22,595 as tested)
Engine capacity: 2.2-litre diesel Power output (PS @ rpm): 150 @ 4,500
Top speed (mph): 131
0-60 mph (seconds): 9
Fuel economy (mpg): 67.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 109

Inoffensive isn't a word that car manufacturers like to hear about their wares. They retain the services of expensive creative agencies and social-marketing firms to come up with buzzwords, campaigns and slogans to convince us how much character and personality they have.

But these slogans are meaningless. Seat, for example, leads the way in this nonsense with the term "enjoyneering", while Peugeot has the almost equally nonsensical "motion & emotion" tagline for its range of small French cars. I'm sure I'm not alone in having no bloody clue what these mean. And let's not forget Vauxhall "don't blend in" for the ever-so-bland Mokka SUV or Suzuki's menacing take on "the never-ending test drive" for its city cars. It's all marketing claptrap but sometimes it gives away something telling.

The tagline of choice for the new Mazda 6 saloon does that. It is "defy convention" and presumably the convention is that if you need a family car or are picking a company car, you'll nearly always opt for something with a Ford, Vauxhall or VW badge on the front.

Mazda's marketing chaps obviously think you're wrong and should buy one of theirs. And don't get me wrong, the all-new Mazda 6 isn't a bad saloon but it's just as bland an inoffensive as its big-boy rivals. Yes, it's well-priced, loaded with more kit than you'd expect, economical and comfortable enough for plenty of motorway miles, but it does little for the heart. It's more like a generic version of a saloon car – the sort of thing you'd see in a computer game that hasn't paid for licensing rights – than a ground-breaking design.

I understand most reviewers seem to like its sleek lines and Mazda's new "Kodo – Soul of Motion" design language (there they go again). It's just that I find it a terribly hard car to get excited about. It's the same with most of its rivals and one reason saloon sales figures have been flat lining for years. Today's drivers want funky crossovers like the Skoda Yetti or Nissan Juke and aspirational brands like Mini and Audi, not run-of-the-mill saloons with dull design language.

It's a shame for the Mazda 6 though, as inside and on the road things are much better. The model I tested, the smaller diesel engine of the range, is a very pleasant place to spend time thanks to its quiet cabin, refined ride and smooth engine. It gets Mazda's latest SkyActiv technology too, so returns an mpg figure in the 60s with ease and emits just 109g/km. These are impressive figures that 20 years ago would have been unthinkable for a family saloon or company car. What's more impressive, though, is that Mazda hasn't got there with expensive hybrid technology but by refining and continuing to develop combustion engine efficiency in its SkyActiv technology.

This savvy approach is one of the reasons I still have a soft spot for Mazda (the other two are the excellent CX-5 crossover and the MX-5 sports car), it's just that its new saloon doesn't really defy convention. It's a likeable and efficient tool and just like a Mondeo, Passat or Insignia I'd be happy to take one as a company car. But I'm sure I'd get to the end of my 100,000 or so miles with it and walk away without looking back and feel absolutely nothing for it at all.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    Commercial Litigation Associate

    Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

    Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

    Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little