Used Mazda6 Review (2012-present) MK3

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Red Mazda 6 Exterior Front Driving

Mazda6 (2012-present)

Inexpensive to run and well-equipped as standard, the Mazda6 is a brilliant alternative executive car to its more common rivals

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  • High build quality
  • Comfortable and refined ride
  • Efficient powertrains
  • May feel outdated
  • Rivals are more swish
  • No sporty variant
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What's the Mazda6 like?

The comfort of the latest Mazda6 puts it right at the top of a very competitive class that includes the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, and Volkswagen Passat.

It’s also beautifully put together, with the kind of build quality that means it will last and last.

As well as that excellent ride, which means occupants will remain comfortable over many hundreds of miles, refinement is also top-notch.

Wind, road, and engine noise are all very subdued, which means there's no problem talking to rear seat passengers at motorway speeds.


The engine range is limited to two sizes and four power outputs. The excellent and very tuneful 2.0-litre petrol unit comes with either 143bhp or 163bhp, while the 2.2-litre diesel offers 148bhp or 173bhp.

The lower powered models of both petrol and diesel are the better buys because they’re going to be cheaper, and they still offer good performance.

In manual form, the petrol is good for 0 to 60mph in around 9.4 seconds, and the diesel covers the same sprint even quicker at just 9.0 seconds. Best performer is the 173bhp diesel, which does the acceleration benchmark in 7.8 seconds.

6-speed manual gearboxes are standard, but the 6-speed auto, while very smooth and easy to live with, cuts acceleration times by about a second.

Petrols are good for about 40mpg in everyday driving, which is fantastic for such a big car, and the diesels can reach over 50mpg according to owners.

Driving Experience

But these are cars that drive so beautifully it’s difficult to keep your foot off the loud pedal, and therefore some owners may not reach these figures.

The supple ride might suggest a penalty to be paid in handling and roadholding, but not so with this one.

There's loads of grip, and the balance, even when pressed very hard around a circuit, is excellent.
Peter Hayward

There's a bit of body roll, but it never gets too uncomfortable. Steering is responsive and direct, adding to the enjoyment.

This is a car that’s every bit as good to drive as a Mercedes-Benz, while not quite matching up to the all-round ability of the BMW 3 Series.


The level of equipment is excellent, surpassing many others. Lowest SE gets alloys, electric mirrors with puddle lights, start/stop, cruise, air con, multi-function leather covered steering wheel, front fog lights, LED rear lights, and CD audio aux in and USB.

Early models had a 5.8-inch touchscreen, but this became 7.0 inches from 2015, and other kit includes Bluetooth, driver’s lumbar adjustment, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

The 2015 update also added an electric parking brake, see you home headlights, Mazda’s Multimedia Commander control system, a DAB radio and the MZD Connect system, which allows access to the internet while on the move.

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The Mazda6 is a well-built executive car that provides a comfortable ride and excellent levels of equipment as standard. The competition may have more kerb appeal, but rivals will struggle to match the Mazda6 when it comes to value for money, reliability, and running costs.