Spring has started to leap into existence, snowdrops and daffodils are brightening the countryside and the weatherman is already declaring ìrecord breaking temperaturesî. Coincidentally, in a bid to illuminate the Mazdaís interior for the update photos you see here, I remembered to reach up and push back the black sunblind into its recess. ìOh yes, the 6 has a sunroofî I recall thinking to myself.
Not a panoramic affair that became so popular with models like the Range Rover Evoque, and now seems to be available on almost every crossover and SUV. Nope, this is a traditional ñ almost dare I say it ëquaintí ñ tilt and slide item above the driver and front passengerís bonces. Appearing little bigger than a few sheets of A4 paper, it also comes as standard on the GT Sport Nav+ trim, rather than being a pricey optional extra. Despite its diminutive size, it does indeed let some light inside though, and while pre-photoshoot it would only have served to remind me how badly the ësixerí needed a good vacuum, now it was rather nice to see the Mazdaís wooden trim and leather in a new light.
And while it might not quite replicate the experience of driving a Mazda MX-5, opening the roof means you can hear the birds tweeting in the hedgerows, smell the fresh air and feel a gentle breeze stirring the back of your neck. The experience is also impressively unspoilt by any diesel clatter, which just goes to show that the SkyActiv-D unit is a genuinely quiet and smooth engine thanks to the way itís engineered, and not just a clattery powerplant suppressed by a cocoon of thick sound deadening material.
Of course, Britain is a country of contrasting conditions, and the summery drive with the sunroof open was just weeks apart from spells of heavy snow. Here, the Mazda didnít fare too badly, but I wouldnít exactly call it a snow machine either. Weighing a hefty 1,706kg, the Mazda 6 Tourer is no Caterham. Pair this momentum with wide Bridgestone summer tyres and 328lb ft of torque, and it can quickly feel like thereís a lot of car to keep heading in the right direction.
Along with far more grip, fuel consumption seems to have improved slightly in the warmer weather too. It hasnít been long enough to nudge my overall average up much from 43mpg yet, but Iíll be keeping an eager eye on it. Interestingly, when the Mazda arrived it had an official fuel consumption figure of 58.6mpg, but this was under the old NEDC test. Check the specifications now and it has been retested to stricter WLTP standards, and the new official combined figure of 51.4mpg should better reflect real-world driving. Iíd say that this new figure should be quite achievable with longer spells on A-roads or on the motorway and some more careful, economy-focused driving on the other roads.
Date arrived 6th September 2018
Fuel economy 58.6mpg (NDEC combined) 43.9mpg (on test)
Arrive in Continental Europe and you can easily switch the instruments to km/h.
However, that also means you get fuel economy in l/100km, which us Brits find difficult to fathom out.