If you were asked to think of a prestigious, luxury saloon or estate (or tourer as some call them) you might look towards Germany’s brands.
But BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz have quickly become a bit, well, common! Nothing makes them really stand out like they did in the 80s or 90s!
BMW’s 3 Series has sold more units than Ford’s Mondeo for about a decade. And all Audis look the same – from the A1 saloon just looks like an A8 that’s been too long in a hot wash.
So if you want saloon luxury and a car that’s fantastic to drive, and that’s also a little different from the norm, what about a Mazda?
Mazda6 has always been a good looking set of wheels, but this facelift from the Japanese firm (which is on sale now) adds even more luxury.
Externally, it’s a not a huge redesign – but that’s because it didn’t need it. The meaningful and pretty face and the sleek lines of its predecessor were already eye-catching, but the subtle tweaks add a bit more purpose. Though you may struggle to see the changes unless you park the new model next to an old one.
The most clear update is inside the Mazda6 (the lack of a space between the name and number aren’t a mistake, dear reader, but some kind of marketing “thing”) where there is a much more cosseting and purposeful interior.
The bold new instrument panel and centre console design means you feel like you’re in the seat of a much more expensive car.
A new 7-inch, full-colour, centre console touch-screen incorporates DAB radio and MZD Connect, which has won many friends in the 6’s sister the Mazda3.
It makes functions such as smartphone connectivity better and you can also use social media. Hopefully while stationery!
Overall, the new dash looks superior to its old counterpart and not a million miles from something from Audi – but without the price tag.
Mazda has also worked on better ride comfort and quietness. Mazda’s 6 has always been a great car to drive and the new one will be even better with its extra comfort, while it maintains the grippy, fun driving that defies a saloon of its size.
And you get all this from just £19,795! For that you get the SE trim with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and six-speed gearbox. With emissions of 129g/km it’s not expensive to tax either. Add £700 for the SE Nav and you get extra toys, such as, as the name suggests, sat nav.
The SE also comes as a 2.2 diesel manual for £22,295. The six-speed manual engine emits just 104g/km of CO2, so you’ll only pay £20 in road tax!
For me, I’d pick a Mazda6 because its subtly perfect. It’s a great drive, looks smart, is well priced and because it has that gorgeous front and sleek lines, it stands out in a crowded market