THE Mazda6 received a facelift that was much more than skin deep as I discovered in a recent drive, writes Allan McIntyre.
The model scores top marks for looks in the highly-competitive family car sector with the new sharper front and rear design enhancing its appearance.
Available in estate or hatchback form, I sampled the 2.2 D five-door Sport hatchback.
The Black Mica colour made this model look sleek and menacing and it didn’t disappoint inside either.
There is a high level of standard equipment level in the four trims – S, TS, TS2 and Sport – with interior comforts in the top-of-range model including heated driver’s and front passenger’s seats, smart black with silver lined partial leather/cloth trim, aluminium pedals and a BOSE sound system with six-CD changer and eight speakers.
Mazda models have a history of handling well and this one continues the trend.
There’s a choice of petrol or diesel engines with the powerful 2.2-litre 178bhp unit in the test model.
The power surges through a smooth six-speed manual gearbox and it really delivers.
Press the start button and you can then race off the blocks and reach 62mph in just 8.7 seconds in this Mazda6 which is capable of reaching 135mph.
The engine is just as happy pottering about town though, much more quietly than you would imagine.
On the open road it grips the tarmac in a sure-footed manner and really is a pleasure to drive with its overall handling and ride qualities.
You tend to forget this is a diesel-powered car with its performance and there’s also the bonus of super fuel economy figures of 54.3mpg combined, 40.9mpg urban and 62.8mpg extra urban.
Interior comforts are good with lots of space in the front and back where’s there’s plenty of leg and shoulder room.
There also a lot of luggage space with the boot area’s 510 litres extending to 1702 litres if you fold down the split rear seats.
There are cheaper models in the range but the test car’s on-the-road price of £24,095 gives buyers a family car that has all the trimmings and an engine superbly matched to this Mazda6 for all-round driving enjoyment.