HOW’S THE RIDE?
You get one engine option in the Mazda6, but it’s an impressive one.
Specifically, it’s a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission (a manual transmission is also offered on the Sport and Touring trim levels for those who want to shift the old-fashioned way). Output is 184 horsepower, and 185lb.-ft. of torque.
The Mazda6 is a front-wheel drive vehicle only. There is no all-wheel-drive option, which is a deficiency since the Subaru Legacy and Ford Fusion are among competitors who do offer AWD.
The shifting in the Mazda6 is on point and smooth with the automatic transmission, and paddle shifters are also included. The cabin is not overly noisy, but some road noise seeps in at times. Handling is a high point here, with the Mazda6 being one of the more responsive sedans you can find.
This Mazda sedan is speedy when you want it to be (especially when you put it in sport mode), and it carries on the Mazda tradition of offering fun vehicle to drive. This is in large part due to Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, which focuses on cutting weight in all areas of the vehicle to increase the ride quality and sportiness of their vehicles -- the key differentiator between Mazda and its bevy of competitors in this segment and others.
At the center of the Mazda6 is the MazdaConnect infotainment system, which features a 7-inch color touchscreen and functions very well via a control dial in the center console. Just a few minutes maneuvering around the system and you pretty much know how it works. Simple but effective and it’s easy to use without distraction even while driving.
Among other tech features are standard Bluetooth connectivity and standard rearview camera, plus LED lighting.
Among other options (and standard on upper trim levels) are excellent safety features like lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
There are also high government safety ratings across the board, which offers peace of mind.
Official fuel mileage numbers on the Mazda6 are are 27 city/35 highway/30 combined. In my test I was just a hair shy of that (29 mpg to be exact), but I wasn’t exactly driving it for max fuel mileage. If I was, I’m sure I would have landed somewhere in the early to mid 30s.
This is very good mileage for the class, either the very best or close to it, so you can put the ability to extend a gas tank in the plus column when weighing whether the Mazda6 is for you.
My test vehicle was the top trim level (Grand Touring), which starts at $30,695 and came to just over $34,530 with options. The basic Sport model starts at $21,945 (with manual transmission); Touring model starts at $24,195.
There’s also a reliability conversation that factors in when comparing vehicles and their pricing. And while historically it hasn’t been ranked as high as some competitors, Mazda is a brand whose reliability ratings have been on the rise and are not a cause of major concern.
While the Mazda6’s sales numbers are not at the level of most of its competitors, that isn’t a judgment of its merits in any way, shape or form.
It’s like the high-quality movie that debuts at No. 5 at the box office behind all the summer blockbusters with lots of CGI effects. Despite its place on the list, it’s arguably the best option for you to check out.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.