On the Japanese motoring front the two big players in the UK are Toyota and Nissan. In fact Toyota is the biggest manufacturer in the world.

You know you’re getting a good deal when you get one of their vehicles, totally reliable and good value for money.

Going down a couple of notches are two more great models – Honda and Mazda. They might not sell in such vast numbers here in the UK but they are still excellent cars.

I’ve had a Honda for seven or eight years and I reckon it to be one of the best cars I’ve ever had. And if it wasn’t for the Honda, I’d have a Mazda outside my home like a shot.

My reason for that is I drove up to Scotland for a holiday and came back in one hit – Kyle of Lockalsh to Swindon, a journey of 10 hours driving of almost 600 miles.

Sure I stopped for drinks and things but it was the car that impressed me, more than the landscape.

It was a Mazda6 saloon and guess what? There is a new version on your dealer’s forecourt and naturally it’s better than ever.

Priced from just over £23,000 the new Mazda6 Saloon and Tourer arrived in the UK last month and there are 25 models across four trim levels with the top price being £33,500.

Featuring an upgraded cabin, revised styling and enhanced technology, plus the UK debut of Mazda’s cylinder deactivation SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre petrol engine, the updated Mazda6 also sees the popular SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel engine benefit from a power upgrade to 184ps.

Mazda seem to get more out of their engines than any other manufacturer – like a normal horse against a thoroughbred. The new Mazda is exactly the same.

With a cylinder deactivation system, this direct-injection four-cylinder engine seamlessly switches between four and two-cylinder operation to improve real-world fuel economy at no cost to performance.

Ask how it works and someone did it explain it to me but I was none the wiser. However it does work.

Fitted in the large Mazda CX-9 SUV the 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G makes its UK debut in the new Mazda6 where it’s paired with Mazda’s SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic gearbox in both Saloon and Tourer models.

There’s also no mistaking the visual enhancements that mark out the latest Mazda6. The 2018 car adopts a fresh frontal design focused around a new grille, which has the mesh positioned deeper within the surround to create a more sophisticated and muscular face.

The revised LED headlamps integrate signature wing tips from grille surround to underscore their predator style, while the redesigned lower bumper features a sleeker profile and an aerodynamically efficient air intake Topping off the styling updates are fancy new alloy wheel designs and the new metallic paint, which increases brightness by 20 per cent.

Step inside there are new materials and technology combined with refinements to the cabin; fine craftsmanship applied to every detail and a larger eight-inch centre display screen and the adoption of a full colour windscreen projected active driving display.

The dashboard and door trim designs have been redesigned and the flagship GT Sport Nav+ features Mazda’s signature high-end interior finishes including real Japanese Sen Wood trim, brown Nappa leather and suede to deliver a cabin that fuses modern technology with the beauty and simplicity of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

Designed to improve ride comfort at the same time as maintaining the Mazda6’s famed driver engagement, the new Mazda6 benefits from suspension fine tuning and component upgrades.

Suspension was always brilliant with the Mazda6 and the boffins reckon bump stop characteristics have been revised, the front dampers have increased in diameter and rebound springs have been added, while a new urethane rear damper top mount has been fitted, all resulting in smoother vehicle behaviour and improved ride quality.

With an increase in standard active safety equipment across the range, all models now feature a huge range of advanced i-ACTIVESENSE technology including Blind Spot Monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Advanced Smart City Break Support.

Give me one now and I’ll drive up to the Kyle of Lockalsh without break, spent the night there and return tomorrow. No problem.