The result is that the 141bhp unit, mated to the six-speed gearbox, allows for both relaxed motorway cruising and strong over-taking when required. The gearbox, however, has yet to loosen as satisfactorily as the engine.
The result is a notchy change between first and second which, when combined with a stiffer than ideal clutch, can make low speed driving fairly erratic.
These grumbles are minor, though, and the overall experience of living with the Mazda6 is very pleasant.
It has a great driving position with excellent seats and good steering adjustment, while visibility is very good, too. Cabin materials have a quality feel and finish, with all switch gear well engineered and intuitive to use.
Equipment levels are impressive throughout the Mazda6 range. As ours is a TS2 model, as well as automatic climate control, softer upholstery, and a leather trimmed steering wheel, it features a premium audio system, dash-mounted six-CD autochanger, electric sunroof and traction control with an electronic stability programme, which all go to make those motorway miles go that bit more pleasantly.
A firm, but not jarring, ride gives a clue to the priority of Mazda’s engineers when developing the 6.
The steering is direct and offers excellent feel. The car seems to respond intuitively to any action from the driver. This isn’t surprising because the steering rack was lifted from the MX-5.
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel, 141bhp @ 3,500rpm, 265lb ft @ 2,000rpm
Efficiency: 41mpg (actual); 47.1mpg (manufacturer figures)
Start mileage: 40
Current mileage: 8,162
Test period: September 2006-September 2007
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £6,400 (35%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £5,550 (31%)
Likes: Engine, handling, comfort, driving position, well equipped
Dislikes: Notchy gearbox, stiff clutch