Us, most of the time

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - ROAD TEST -

Sim­ple and ele­gant, it gives the 6 a pre­mium looks that is re­in­forced by a smart front end and a bum that you don’t need — or want — to hide. It’s the same in­side, where the plas­tics have markedly im­proved, the feel of the switchgear is bet­ter un­der the fin­gers and the am­bi­ence is more up­mar­ket.

Rear legroom is huge and the car over­all has grown by more than 130mm over the old one. But — and it’s a big one — the boot is shal­low thanks to the full-size spare. It takes 438 litres and the rear seats can be dropped as the need arises.

SAFETY

The 6 is so new it hasn’t yet hit the safety wall. The pre­vi­ous model was a five-star car, so ex­pect the same. The stan­dard six airbags are housed in a stronger chas­sis and the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of safety soft­ware is linked to the ABS brakes.

Opt for the Atenza model and Mazda has all the toys, from lane de­par­ture and blind-spot warn­ing to auto cruise-con­trol and front ob­struc­tion alert.

DRIV­ING

The Mazda6 is a bet­ter car for gen­eral du­ties than the pre­vi­ous ver­sion — right up to the point where you flog it mer­ci­lessly. At the limit it isn’t quite as quick to change di­rec­tion or com­pose it­self, but it’s a su­pe­rior package in terms of be­hav­ing it­self on the road.

The slightly softer sus­pen­sion is bet­ter over bumps and the noise sup­pres­sion is a huge im­prove­ment. Steer­ing is marg- in­ally more re­laxed on cen­tre, mean­ing there are a few mil­lime­tres of play be­fore the front wheels start to turn. The con­trols are well laid out and easy to learn and ex­tra in­te­rior space is ap­pre­ci­ated when friends or fam­ily are in tow.

VER­DICT

Big­ger is bet­ter when it comes to the Mazda6. Driv­ing en­thu­si­asts are the only ones who won’t ap­pre­ci­ate the re­fine­ments, given they come at a mar­ginal ex­pense to out­right han­dling. For the 99 per cent of peo­ple look­ing for a mid-sized sedan with plenty of toe, is com­fort­able and not Ger­man-priced, the 6 has the edge over Honda’s Ac­cord Euro.

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