The Mazda 6 Estate has always been one of the best family wagons, and this latest version promises to be the most practical yet, despite its sleek looks and a change of name to the Mazda 6 Tourer.
True, the rival Ford Mondeo and VW Passat estates offer slightly more luggage space, but the Mazda is still huge and its boot features several thoughtful touches designed to make life easier.
As a bonus, the 6 is the latest Mazda to get the company’s Skyactiv technology, which improves fuel consumption and cuts CO2 emissions through a combination of lightweight construction and efficient engines and transmissions.
Cabin space is just as impressive; there’s enough legroom to keep six-footers happy, plus those in the back don’t have to slouch like they do in the saloon model thanks to the Tourer’s flatter roofline.
Meanwhile, the driver gets a supportive seat with lots of adjustment, and a smart, well-ordered dashboard.
Only the new touch-screen infotainment system lets the side down a bit – it looks like an aftermarket fitment.
You do hear the engine when you put your foot down, and wind- and road noise aren’t as well supressed as they are in a Ford Mondeo, but the 6 is still a pretty quiet cruiser.
Instead, it’s comfort that most disappoints. Even on the smallest, 17-inch wheels there’s a decidedly firm edge to the ride around town, and things don’t improve a lot at speed, where you feel too much patter.
The firm suspension does at least keep the 6 composed on twisty roads, although the steering is a little vague around the straight-ahead.
The new Mazda 6 Tourer is a practical estate that combines class-leading fuel economy and emissions with strong performance.
Most estates are used as family cars, though, so the 6’ overly firm ride stops us recommending it over the Mondeo.