Towcar review: Mazda 6 Tourer

Can a more powerful engine turn the Mazda6 Tourer from a practical family estate into a towcar capable of pulling a sizeable caravan? Lesley Harris finds out.

The Mazda6 Tourer has always been a practical family estate, but it now boasts a more powerful engine, revised styling and an updated cabin. Let’s take a closer look...

Comfort – 85%

The latest incarnation of the Mazda6 Tourer has a new grille featuring a deeper-positioned mesh, while revised LED headlamps and fog lights have been incorporated into the headlight cluster. A redesigned bumper adds the finishing touch to a sleek, more aerodynamic look.

Step inside and first impressions are good. Our GT Sport Nav+ model is certainly very well-equipped. For starters, the Nappa leather seats up front incorporate heating and cooling systems (rear passengers benefit from heated seats as standard). The seating is more comfortable than before, courtesy of increased side bolstering along with thicker and wider cushioning. And with plenty of adjustment, you should find your perfect driving position.

The Japanese Sen wood inlay gives the interior a an elegant feel, while neat little touches impress – the side ventilation louvres extend into the door trim to enhance the flow of the fascia, for example. Tactile suede is used across the dash, door and armrest, contrasting nicely with the satin chrome detailing. And there’s a decent amount of stowage – a large glove box and plenty of cubbies for all your bits and bobs.

A smart dash – which is part digital, part analogue – is easy to read, and comes with Active Driving Display (heads-up display to you and me). Standard across the range, this works really well. Information is projected directly onto the windscreen, including turn-by turn navigation, speed and speed limit details.

And of course, there’s an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates all the usual sat-nav, DAB radio and phone connectivity functions you would expect. There’s also a handy rotary control located in the central console that is much easier and safer to use, especially when driving.

Moving into the rear, you’ll find plenty of both head and leg room for your passengers. There’s lots of under-seat space for feet, although a fairly high transmission tunnel restricts the middle passenger a little. Again, that stylish satin chrome detailing adds a touch of flair. Drop the armrest and you reveal the heated seat controls, two USB ports and drink holders. The rear door bins will also accommodate a decent-sized bottle.

Driving – 85%

The new Mazda6 is the first Mazda to benefit from the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre petrol engine with Cylinder Deactivation technology. The engine seamlessly switches between two and four cylinders depending on the load situation, which, in theory, should improve your fuel economy without affecting performance. It’s also quieter when travelling – which has to be a good thing!

This new unit puts out 191bhp at 6,000rpm and has a maximum torque of 258Nm at 4,000rpm (a 2.2-litre diesel engine is also available).

There’s no manual option on this GT Sport Nav+ model, which comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Generally it works well although it is a little hesitant when pulling off the line. That said, on the motorway the Mazda6 Tourer is a very relaxed cruiser with little engine, wind or road noise.

The steering is light and precise and, for a large car, it’s surprisingly nimble. There’s good response from the steering, with sharp turn-in, while body control is kept in check and the car copes with both swooping corners and town driving alike.

Towing – 80%

The Mazda6 Tourer gets off to a good start in the towing department as the 360˚ bird’s-eye reversing camera with clear graphics makes hitching a doddle. However, it wasn’t always completely happy hauling the caravan (bearing in mind I was towing a unit at the upper end of its weight limit). Around town and at lower speeds I experienced a little tugging and bouncing, although on the open road and motorways, the ride was much smoother. 

There was enough power for overtaking, although such manoeuvres did need a little thought and anticipation. There was little buffeting to upset the unit when passing larger vehicles. Visibility was generally good although the small rear windscreen lets the side down a bit. A large boot – 522 litres with seats in place – will easily accommodate all your towing gear. This expands to 1,665-litres with seats folded. 

Verdict – 83%

Overall the Mazda6 Tourer 2.5-litre GT Sport Nav+ is a very practical family car with plenty of space and loads of standard tech that deserves consideration as a towcar too.