Mazda shows it's got real 6 appeal
How things have changed.
Three years ago if I told you that a large family saloon with a powerful 2.2 litre engine would be cheaper to run than a 1.0 litre city car, you'd be calling for the men in white coats.
Yep, size mattered back then and it cost dearly -- in fact, the road tax over the 10-year life of the car was a whopping €8,300.
Throw in the depreciation and day-to-day running costs and the dream of owning a decent car with the latest safety features slowly disappeared.
Thankfully Mazda have changed all that and with the 6 they've even tweaked a further 400 things to bring us this super slick saloon.
The front and rear have been re-styled to give a more luxurious and sportier look which is complimented by 18 inch alloys and boot spoiler.
But it is under the bonnet where major changes are converted into cash savings.
Subtle technical tinkering - like the use of smaller turbo chargers that reduce lag while boosting torque - sees the emissions plummet to 138g/km.
In Layman's terms it means that this 2.2litre 129bhp falls into tax band B and €156 per year road tax while returning nearly 50mpg
Safety also gets the red carpet treatment with standard equipment on all models including Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, EBD, front, side and curtain airbags and Emergency Stop Signal (which warns cars behind of sudden braking by automatically flashing the hazard lights).
A major revamp of the suspension gives greater handling stability, better steering and less vibration.
Inside the cabin gets an upgrade too giving a more luxurious sporty feel adding to the whole driving experience which didn't disappoint despite the excellence of its smaller brother, the Mazda3 - my top saloon of last year.
It is as an older sibling should be -- bigger, quicker and a little more confident and my initial fear was that it wouldn't be enough to justify the extra couple of thousand.
Not so. The Mazda6 is worth every single cent and unlike other Japanese saloons, doesn't spoil with age.
Bluetooth is now standard on all Executive, Executive SE, Sport and Z-sport models. Prices begin at €25,485.