Fleet News

Mazda6 2.0d 143 TS2

Mazda

Review

TWO weeks ago, I stopped driving the Honda Civic and took over the Mazda6 – and I miss the Civic.

While the 6 is acknowledged as being a good car to drive, thanks to its sport-biased chassis, elsewhere it does little to ignite any passion.

Unlike the Civic, which does everything in its power to stand out on the road, the 6’s Eurobox shape helps it blend into the background.

It’s a car you could drive for three years and 60,000 miles and instantly forget about after handing the keys back.

Part of the reason for this is its reliability and capability. A colleague described it as being ‘solid and reliable’, which to me seems like a great case of damning with faint praise, but in this sector these are values that any fleet manager will want for a hassle-free life.

And reliable it certainly is, as exclusive research for the Fleet News FN50 proved. We asked the top 50 contract hire and leasing companies in the UK to rate cars and brands for their reliability, and Mazda came seventh, outscoring marques such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The survey involved nearly one million cars and the 6 came 12th in the model table.

While the looks may be getting a little dated now (such is the pace of change that the 6 has gone from having the ‘wow’ factor at launch in 2002 to looking dated now), at least the build quality is up to date. The interior is old-fashioned but, on the upside, it is extremely hard-wearing – which should spell good news when it comes to defleet time.

The only fly in the ointment is the little dashboard cupboard door, which refuses to stay shut.

However, if you can put this aside and look at the immediate practicalities of the car then there is much to commend it.

The longest journey I have done in the Mazda was a return trip to Birmingham from Peterborough with three passengers which was achieved in comfort and with ease, with plenty of leg-room and headroom all round helping lead to an ache-free trip.

The engine is unflappable with sensible driving and, despite the paucity of long journeys in the last few weeks, I’ve managed to achieve a respectable combined fuel economy figure of 36.9mpg.

The six-speed gearbox goes a long way to keeping the engine calm at motorway speeds, is ideal for a car such as this, which spends the majority of its time pounding the UK’s roads.

Fact file

Price: £18,250 (£18,575 as tested)
Mileage: 10,899
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £76 per month
Insurance group: 9
Combined mpg: 47.1
Test mpg: 36.9
CAP Monitor RV: £5,300/29%
Contract hire rate: £378
Expenditure to date: £23 (filler cap)
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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