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Review – Mazda 6 Sportbreak 20th Anniversary (2024)

March 14, 2024

The D-segment is a tough market for non-German brands. Indeed, experience shows that consumers in this class want to drive primarily “German. Brands from other countries usually kick in with a small market share. Still, the Mazda 6 manages to hold its own. It does not top the sales charts, but it has secured a permanent place in them. However, the car is now starting to age a bit. Is it still such a good offer? And what if we literally take it into the territory of its German competitors, the Autobahn?

Mazda 6 20th Anniversary

It is not the least version Mazda has ready for us. This is a Mazda 6 Sportbreak in 20th Anniversary trim. This is a special edition that was introduced last year along with a model year update to mark 20 years of Mazda 6. You’ll recognize the 20th Anniversary by special logos, shiny silver 19-inch alloy wheels and the model-specific body color Artisan Red. That color is optional, though, with standard white the only other option. Our advice: always check Artisan Red. For that extra 150 euros, this really “completes” the 20th Anniversary.

Inside, you are greeted by beautiful light brown Nappa leather with 20th Anniversary logo on the headrests. Further finishes include suede, aluminum and even a bit of real wood. In terms of equipment, the 20th Anniversary offers “everything. Just about the entire option list of the Mazda 6 is checked as standard. Just a few highlights: adaptive LED headlights, eight-way power-adjustable and ventilated front seats with memory function, seat heating in the rear (and front, of course), sliding/tilting roof and a Bose Premium audio system. The only remaining options are accessories such as protective mats and transport and storage options. With that, the 20th Anniversary does come with a hefty price tag, about which more later in this review.

Powertrain Mazda 6 20th Anniversary

As a 20th Anniversary, the Mazda 6 is always equipped with the SkyActiv-G 194, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with, as the name suggests, an output of 143 kW (194 hp). Torque is 258 Nm. Cylinder deactivation helps reduce consumption at times of low power demand. The current Mazda 6 always has front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. For completeness, the standard engine for the 6 is a 121 kW (165 hp) and 213 Nm 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Space aboard the Mazda 6 Sportbreak

Time to go on a trip. We travel with two people, and our luggage, of course, easily finds room in the 506-liter luggage compartment (measured to parcel shelf). The luggage of an entire family would have easily fit as well. In the back seat, it is also roomy. At 1.80 meters tall, we can sit just fine “behind ourselves” without our knees touching the front seat. Headroom is adequate. You don’t have to be much taller than 1.80 meters – or sit a little lower – but we have seen tighter cars in this segment. Also not unimportant: the seating comfort of the back seat itself is also quite good.

Mazda 6 is timeless – or is it?

So although the first Mazda 6 was introduced (over) 20 years ago, the model is still only at its third generation. The current model entered the market in 2012, so it also has its own anniversary behind it. Still, the Mazda 6 manages to hide its age very well. The car has never had a truly radical facelift and yet it does not appear outdated by any means. Not even next to recently introduced Mazda models. That’s pretty clever.

In one respect, however, the Mazda 6 does not manage to hide its age, and that is the infotainment. By today’s standards, the 8-inch LCD touchscreen is quite small and the menu design looks dated. The fact that you can only operate the touchscreen when stationary is also out of date. Instead, the center console does have a rotary and push button, and it has to be said: that actually operates much nicer than directly through the screen anyway. Although the menus look a bit outdated, the menu structure is logical and intuitive. Modern things like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also just there.

Mazda 6 as a comfortable cruiser

On Dutch highways, the Mazda 6 is a comfortable cruiser. Tire and wind noise are only gently present and are soon drowned out by conversation or the good sound of the Bose audio system. The suspension handles longer bumps well. Smaller bumps are felt but not uncomfortable. The seats continue to provide good support even on long trips. At one point we took a break anyway because the inner man asked for it, in terms of seating comfort we could have lasted a few more hours.

Driving Assistance

The Driver Attention Alert, by the way, thinks otherwise. At seemingly completely random moments, we are advised to take a break. We did not discover a connection between driving time and/or conditions… Speaking of assistance systems, the Lane Keep Assist in itself does its job nicely subtly, without annoyingly pulling on your steering wheel. Still, to our liking it intervened just a little too often and we turned it off. Handy: the Mazda remembered that on the next drive. Of the presence of the other safety systems, we did not notice anything positive.

Mazda 6 on the Autobahn

By now we have reached the German Autobahn. The higher cruising speeds the Mazda finds no problem, but it does prefer to climb to that higher pace at leisure. This is partly because the engine does not release full power until 6,000 rpm. Under normal conditions, you don’t reach that rpm. You have to push the gas hard for that, and then the engine does make itself heard, whereas normally it stays neatly in the background.

No problem. Once quietly climbed to a cruising speed of 150 to 160 km/h (where it could be done, of course), the same calm prevails on board as at 100 to 130 km/h. In that respect, the Mazda 6 feels as much at home in German territory as it does on Dutch highways. Should you want to join the race for top speed on the Autobahn: the Mazda 6 Sportbreak 20th Anniversary should reach 223 km/h. So then you just shouldn’t mind revving the engine considerably.

Mazda 6 on Landstraßen

We follow the Autobahn into Bavaria, where we spend several days. The Mazda 6 also feels perfectly at home on rolling Landstraßen. The character of the engine is not one for attacking corners (and that is not our intention at all now), but the Mazda allows itself to be steered tightly through the beautiful countryside. The steering has a pleasant heaviness and the steering wheel sits nicely in the hand.

Practical consumption Mazda 6 SkyActiv-G 194

The days in Germany will, of course, be followed by another Autobahn and highway ride back home. After a trip totaling nearly 2,000 kilometers, we recorded an average consumption of 7.3 l/100 km, or 1 on 13.7. In itself, not bad for a large family car without an electrified powertrain. Incidentally, the official WLTP consumption for the tested version is 7.6 l/100 km (1 on 13.2). So despite the long stretches at Autobahn pace, we drove more economically than the theory consumption!

Prices Mazda 6

Finally, the price tag, to which we would return. For the Mazda 6 20th Anniversary, the brand is asking a minimum of 60,590 euros. Turn that into a red Sportbreak – our test car – and you’re at 62,540 euros. That’s quite an amount. On the other hand: grab a competitor of a German brand, select some options and you’re also soon at a similar amount – or higher.

Besides, it could be quite a bit more economical. Indeed, to be fair, compared to the Takumi, the highest regular trim level, the 20th Anniversary offers only some additional visual embellishment. For the Takumi, you pay 59,240 euros (61,040 euros as a Sportbreak). Saving even more is also possible, as even the standard Centre-Line trim level is already anything but a bare entry-level vehicle. That also already provides you with all kinds of luxury and comes from 47,340 euros (49,840 euros as Sportbreak). For the most current list of prices and equipment, please visit


The Mazda 6 showed us this week that, except in the area of infotainment, it still holds up well to its mostly newer competitors. Okay, electrified powertrains are missing from the offerings, but as long as electric driving is not an option for everyone, that is not necessarily a problem. A hybrid version might be a good addition, though. Otherwise, in terms of equipment, ride comfort and handling, the Mazda 6 is still right up to date. Pretty clever, twelve years after introduction.

Future Mazda 6

Which brings us to the very last point of the review. The 20th Anniversary is primarily an anniversary model, but also a bit of a farewell model. In fact, it is already known that production of the Mazda 6 will end after the current 2024 model year. That’s not a bad thing after a long and successful career. It is just not yet known what comes next.

Will there be a new Mazda 6? And what kind of car will that be? Will quirky Mazda stick with the traditional sedan and station wagon, or will the brand’s SUV models take over after all? We hope the former, but the latter is the trend. Mazda still has not announced anything about succession.

So until then, you still have time this year to order a brand new Mazda 6. In “ultimate” form as 20th Anniversary, or in one of the other versions. Indeed, despite its age, the Mazda 6 remains a very good and fine car.