From November 2010 issue

List price when tested: £22,795
Kerbweight: 1555kg
85% match: 1322kg
Max towing weight: 1600kg
Towball limit: 75kg
30-60mph: 10.9seconds
30-0mph: 10.3m

THE MAZDA 6 has been one of our favourite family cars for some years, and recent changes have improved fuel economy and emissions. Tweaks to the suspension and steering promise a more engaging drive, too.

Driven solo, that’s just what you get. Show the 6 a corner and it rubs its hands together and gets stuck in. It feels agile and light on its feet. The Mazda has quite a firm ride but the latest round of suspension fettling has smoothed over one or two rough edges.

The well-judged springs and dampers lend themselves well to towing. We hitched the Mazda up to a Swift Expression 470 with an MTPLM of 1310kg. At motorway speeds stability proved very good indeed, and the Mazda coped ably with the lane-change test, too.

Short work of hauling the van

Our test car came with the most powerful diesel engine in the range, with 178bhp. Unsurprisingly, it made short work of hauling the van from 30-60mph, taking just 10.9 seconds. The powerful engine is matched by strong brakes, which needed just 10.3 metres to bring the outfit to a halt from 30mph.

So far, so good, but we do have some reservations about the car. Compared with the likes of the Skoda Superb, too much road noise enters the cabin at speed. It’s not noisy enough to make long trips a chore, but it is noticeable. The 6 is a little lighter than some rivals, too. You’ll need to tow a van weighing no more than 1322kg to stay within 85% of the kerbweight of the car, the figure usually recommended as the maximum for safe and stable towing.

We can forgive the Mazda, though, since it’s well equipped, keenly priced and holds its value well.

We say
Towing: 4/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 4/5 – A quick and desirable towcar. Good value, too.

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