By Bill McCarthy
SPORTY estate car almost seems like a contradiction in terms, but when designed with some care and attention and called a tourer, a desirable product can be delivered.
Which is important in the SUV/crossover era where estate cars struggle for traction, if you’ll pardon the pun. But if you’re looking for a good looking, roomy, practical estate with a premium feel, the Mazda has plenty to offer. It is also one of the most reliable brands on the road.
Roomy and practical yes, but this is no big barge of a vehicle. Instead it features a sleek coupe like silhouette with eye-catching alloy wheels, wide and deep grille and smart light clusters with LED running lights.
The interior too has an upmarket, executive feel, offering plenty of space for five passengers, good head and legroom, admittedly tighter in the rear seats, and cavernous stowage capacity.
All Mazdas are well equipped, which makes them good value for money. But there are some nice touches from Sport trim upwards. This model features powered and heated Nappa leather seats, with seat heating for the outer seats in the back, 11-Speaker Bose surround sound system, powered sunroof and head-up display.
An eight-inch centre display is the main feature, and functions are controlled by a rotary knob on the centre console. This operates infotainment, navigation and connectivity for smartphones.
This model also features a TFT LCD colour dial set, while the storage compartment beneath the rear centre armrest features a pair of USB ports that let occupants charge portable devices.
On the road, Mazda’s Skyactiv technology 194bhp power unit propels the car to 60 mph in just over eight seconds, via the six-speed automatic gearbox. That is pretty sharp performance, but for an even more engaging drive, switch to sport mode and the gearchange paddles.
Fuel economy in the real world, according to WLTP figures, is 37.5 mpg, that is decent economy for a large petrol engine powering a 2.1 tonne vehicle.
On the road, the latest tweaked suspension and direct steering deliver sharp handling and the car acquits itself on country lanes. The ride is on the firm side but is still comfortable and easily soaks up all but the very worst our potholed roads can offer.
Stowage space features a large loading bay that expands from 522-litres to 1,664 when 60:40 split rear seats folded.
They collapse into a flat cargo area using a simple procedure using either the levers located on each side of the boot or the standard release buttons on the seatbacks themselves.
Safety features are comprehensive and include a 360 degree parking camera, adaptive LED headlights, assisted braking, full complement of airbags.
Mazda6 Tourer 2.5 GT Sport Auto
Mechanical: 194PS, 2,488cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via a 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 139mph
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
Combined mpg: 37.2
Insurance Group: 27E
C02 emissions: 172g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles