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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

    £38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

    Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

    £35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

    Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

    £15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea