Motorcheck Used Car Guide: Mazda 6

Mazda 6 1 Red front and side image driving on a road
Posted by Michael Rochford on 31 October 2018 in Used Cars

 

 

Years built: 2013 to date

 

Bodystyles: Saloon, estate

 

 

What is it?

 

Mazda 6 3 2018 Platinum model red front view on black backgroundGenerally speaking whenever a new model of a car is launched, it gives us as good excuse to look back over the previous version, sussing it out as a second hand purchase. That’s the case with the Mazda 6, which sees a new version go on sale this month, but it’s not quite so clean cut as that. There is a new Mazda 6 but it’s not an all-new model. Rather it’s a heavy update of the current version, which has been on sale since 2013, and which has been updated and modified many times since. Which can make for a bit of a confusing model lineup, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the best second-hand buys around…

 

Which one should I buy?

 

Mazda 6 2 Blue front and left side view on white backgroundIn once sense, the Mazda 6 lineup is simple. It has only ever been offered with four engine choices — a 2.2-litre diesel in either 150hp or 175hp forms, and a 2.0-litre petrol with 141hp or 165hp. It also comes with only two gearbox options — a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. After that, it all starts to get a bit confusing…

Mazda’s line-up of trims has stayed pretty steady — there’s always been Executive and Executive SE models, there’s occasionally a Sport or Sport Nav version, sometimes an SE-L, and more recently there’s been a range-topping Platinum model. Not surprisingly, standard equipment gets better the more recent a model you can buy, and it’s definitely worth stretching the budget to post-2015 facelift model, which looks the same on the outside, but which got a much-improved interior. You can tell it apart by the free-standing seven-inch touchscreen on top of the dashboard (earlier models had a smaller screen, inset into the centre of the dash). Quality levels got a big bump up with this facelift too, bringing the Mazda into contention with the best German sports saloons.

The best all-round engine is the 150hp 2.2 diesel. It’s not the most naturally economical engine, though, so you do need to work your own driving technique a bit to get the best from it, but once you do a solid 45mpg in day-to-day driving should be doable. The more powerful 175hp diesel engine isn’t really worth the extra cost, and it is thirstier. While the automatic gearbox is fine, it would mean missing out on the lovely, tactile quality of the manual six-speed gearshift, which Mazda says it modelled on that of the MX-5 sports car. The 2.0-litre petrol isn’t a bad option for townies, but they’re thin on the ground and not the most responsive engine to drive.

The Tourer estate is definitely the one to go for, if you can track one down. It’s exactly as good to drive as the saloon (and that’s very, very good indeed) but much more versatile out the back. Plus, it sits on a slightly longer wheelbase, which means there’s more legroom in the back seats.

There was another facelift in 2016, which brought along a slightly altered radiator grille, more interior sound insulation, and a new electronic traction control system which brakes the inside front wheel in a corner to make the steering feel more responsive, and which gives the car greater agility.

How much should I spend? Somewhere in the region of €15-17,000 will get you a 2.2 150hp diesel on a 2016 numberplate, with the facelifted interior.

Here’s one we found:

2016 Mazda 6 Tourer 2.2d Sport, one owner, 146,000km, €15,900 from an independent SIMI dealer.

 

What goes wrong?

 

Mazda 6  4 Mazda 2016 Saloon interior view - right hand driveMazda has a terrific reputation for reliability and solidity, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on servicing. That ‘SkyActiv’ diesel engine runs to very fine tolerances in search of greater efficiency, and that means you need to look after it. Consider budgeting for a total oil change every year, at least, and make sure it gets regular runs on a long motorway drive to keep the diesel particulate filter up to temperature. There was a report that a small batch of 2.2 diesel engines had turbo damage from faulty valves, but most should have been picked up by now and replaced or repaired under warranty. The 6 can be quite heavy on its brakes, so check carefully for warped discs and worn pads and be prepared to pay for regular pad replacement.

 

Anything else?

 

Mazda 5 2018 White Sport GT Hatchback front and side viewMazda has never made a sporting version of the current-shape 6, but if you fancy something a little different, there is an option. The just-facelifted 2018 model does come with the option of a rather lovely 2.5-litre petrol engine. It’s not available in Ireland, but it is in the UK, so you could consider one for personal import, and it’s a terrific engine — smooth and willing and surprisingly economical. Make sure you get its background checked out properly if you’re importing, though.

And when you’ve found your perfect Mazda 6 don’t forget to get it history checked by motorcheck.ie.

 

 

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