New 2018 Mazda 6 review – facelifted family car a hidden gem - Design

Forget about SUVs. The Mazda 6, particularly in estate form, is proof that brilliant mainstream family cars still exist

Evo rating
  • Energetic, excitable drivetrain, good chassis, sophisticated design and impressive interior
  • Engines needs to be worked to perform

Design

Whereas the interior has received the full attention of Mazda’s design team in this facelift, the exterior changes at first appear a little less dramatic. That is no bad thing in these eyes however, as the Mazda 6 has always been one of the best looking models in the class.

Granted, the mid-sized saloon and estate market is hardly awash with beautiful options, but the current generation Mazda 6 has always stood out due to its interesting proportions. Look at the car side on and you’ll notice that it looks almost rear-wheel drive. Of course it isn’t, but the generous distance between the front wheelarch and the front doors is far longer than usual on a front-wheel-drive car, a conscious decision made by Mazda when this generation of Mazda 6 was first introduced in 2014. The rest of the design then follows suit, its complex, yet subtle surfacing ebbs and flows within those dramatic proportions, only refined with the facelift’s new LED lighting signatures and ornate, yet subtle detailing.

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The car’s general lack of superfluous design elements and general cohesiveness reek of ‘premium’, something commonly overlooked by actual premium rivals. The overall effect is very sophisticated, executed with a finer touch than the Vauxhall Insignia, and miles more interesting than the dull Volkswagen Passat.

The new Peugeot 508 is an attractive rival, and executed with a certain French joie-de-vivre that only Peugeot could pull off underneath its current design leadership. But even it, with its own ornate lighting, clever surfacing and frameless doors is still at the mercy of a set of proportions that are unresolved and nose-heavy in comparison to the Mazda 6.

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Be sure of one thing, though, the days of mainstream saloons and estates looking like the 407 (talk about messed-up proportions) or the previous model Passat (so dull, you probably can’t even remember what it looks like) are well and truly over. The new Mazda 6 seems to operate on its own playing field, one not necessarily executed to a better standard than some rivals, rather, with a more concise and well-formed aesthetic ethos at its core.

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