It’s been six years since the immensely attractive Mazda 6 went on sale, and it has just been given its third and most extensive facelift. Question is, is the Mazda 6 better for its changes?

The first thing you’ll notice is how it looks. Mazda vehicles enjoy a strong reputation in the looks department, and they’ve thankfully resisted the urge to go too full-on with exterior tweaking. The mesh of the grille sits a little deeper and the chrome surround extends outwards to highlight tastefully revised LED headlights. You might also note that the lower front bumper has been reprofiled. If you’re wondering why the vehicle has a touch more stance, look to the wide-bore exhaust tips now edged further apart.

The biggest changes are found under the bonnet; this marks the debut of Mazda’s direct-injection 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine. It’s here to offer a greater array of choices for drivers moving away from diesel. Naturally aspirated, its generates up to 191bhp. That makes it the most powerful engine to feature in a UK-spec 6, but it uses cylinder deactivation to cut down on fuel consumption. Combined fuel economy is rated at 42.2mpg on the new WLTP cycle.

If you don’t get the new engine, you’ll get revised versions of the existing 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine to make either 143bhp or 163bhp. That engine is mated to a six-speed auto gearbox with paddle-shifters

Besides updates to power, Mazda has made alterations to the MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear, and the front steering knuckles have been lowered to achieve more linear steering. Overall, the Mazda 6 feels better to drive than ever.

Looking inside, you’ll find things surprisingly plush, especially in the GT Sport Nav+. Features include a 7-inch TFT screen, Nappa leather seating, and wood trim. The cabin feels a little wider thanks to a revised instrument panel. That’s all great, but it’s hard to deny a few problems. Electric seat operation is still too loud, and the infotainment system isn’t as intuitive as it should be, especially considering how far we’ve seen the menus in rival models come.

Overall, the new Mazda 6 lives up its name and then some. The cabin is sumptuous, and your standard specs and features are mighty generous, even if there are a few drawbacks. It’s a smart and comfortable saloon that continues to outpace rivals in terms of style and handling.