Premier League class

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan COVEN­TRY TELE­GRAPH

THE sport­ing arena reg­u­larly sees teams and com­peti­tors at­tempt to step up a level only to be found out as the re­quired jump in per­for­mance proves im­pos­si­ble to achieve.

Whether it be Cham­pi­onship foot­ball sides pro­moted to the Premier League, or horses at­tempt­ing to emerge from the also-rans to Grand Na­tional star­dom, the new de­mands placed upon them of­ten prove too much to bear and they drop back from whence they came.

Mazda re­cently gave the 6 sa­loon and tourer a re­vamp, tak­ing the flag­ship GT Sport Nav+ model into the mo­tor­ing world’s Premier League by break­ing the £30,000 bar­rier for the first time.

Does it make the grade in this rar­i­fied at­mos­phere?

Well with the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior both ben­e­fit­ing from ma­jor re­vamps – plus the in­tro­duc­tion of the su­per smooth 2.5-litre, 194ps SKY­AC­TIV petrol en­gine linked to a slick six-speed au­to­matic gear­box – it jus­ti­fies the premium price in ev­ery re­spect.

The Tourer model, or es­tate to you and me, is a sump­tu­ous af­fair with su­per sup­port­ive leather seats and an eight-inch dis­play screen indica­tive of the new ma­te­ri­als and tech­nol­ogy that have been in­tro­duced.

The driver ben­e­fits from one of the best head-up colour dis­plays on the wind­screen I’ve en­coun­tered, giv­ing clear in­for­ma­tion on speed as well as traf­fic warn­ings and direc­tions from the sat nav.

Other crowd-pleasers en­sur­ing a safe, re­lax­ing time be­hind the wheel in­clude au­to­matic cruise con­trol as well as rear cross traf­fic alerts and a lane keep­ing as­sist func­tion. There is also a blind spot mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and a 360-de­gree cam­era.

Mazda’s far east her­itage is cel­e­brated through real Ja­panese Sen Wood trim in the dash and on the doors and the ef­fort to fuse mod­ern tech­nol­ogy with that na­tion’s tra­di­tional crafts­man­ship works well.

There is plenty of room for five adults as well as lots of cubby hole space and drinks hold­ers mak­ing the Tourer fam­ily friendly.

The ex­te­rior adopts a fresh de­sign for the front end cen­tred around a new natty grille cre­at­ing a more so­phis­ti­cated mus­cu­lar face.

The LED head­lights are also spruced up while the lower bumper has a sleeker pro­file and an aero­dy­nam­i­cally ef­fi­cient air in­take. The rear looks the busi­ness with a well de­signed bootlid giv­ing good ac­cess to a 552-litre stor­age area – ex­tend­ing to 1,664 litres with the rear seats folded.

The Mazda6 has al­ways han­dled well and the lat­est ver­sion in­cor­po­rates a num­ber of chas­sis im­prove­ments to in­ten­sify the chal­lenge to premium-badged ri­vals when it comes to dy­namic ap­peal.

The ride is smooth as silk on even the worst of what passes for roads these days thanks to an ef­fi­cient sus­pen­sion, while the han­dling is sure-footed – aided and abet­ted by con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing lev­els of grip.

The 2.5-litre power unit is a sprightly in­di­vid­ual pro­pel­ling the Tourer from a stand­ing start to 62mph in a shade over eight sec­onds on its way to a top speed of 138mph.

Fuel econ­omy is helped by stop/ start and cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion leav­ing the GT Sport Nav+ es­tate with an of­fi­cial rat­ing of 41.5mpg and emis­sions of 156g/km which in the real world equates to a fig­ure in the mid 30s to the gal­lon.

The en­gine makes the car a re­fined drive with the au­to­matic gear­box also able to be op­er­ated man­u­ally thanks to pad­dle shifters be­hind the steer­ing wheel. A drive mode se­lec­tor al­lows you to switch the car into a sports set­ting, mak­ing a marked dif­fer­ence to its per­for­mance.

It all adds up to a premium pack­age that leaves Mazda a Tourer with even more 6 ap­peal.

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