The Mazda 6 has long been one of our favorite mid-size cars, but it's had a hard time hitting its stride in a segment of the market that's crammed with ever-better -- and ever-better-looking -- sedans. Launched in 2009, the current-generation Mazda 6 is an elegant, modern sedan with flared front fenders reminiscent of the newly departed RX-8 sports car. With imposing presence and upscale looks, the 6's exterior is as handsome as it is conservative--especially when viewed next to some of this segment's more flashy entries. Inside, the 6 is highly functional. Upscale options include a blind-spot monitoring system, touch-screen navigation, keyless go, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a backup camera. The spacious rear seats split and fold, giving access to a very large trunk. Under the hood is an optional V-6 that's the biggest in its class. Originally seen in the CX-9 crossover, the 3.7-liter V-6 found in the uplevel 6s brutalizes the front wheels with 272 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and yet torque steer is commendably well controlled. In reality, the base 6i's 2.5-liter four-cylinder is powerful enough for most drivers, even if its five-speed automatic transmission isn't quite as refined as the V-6's six-speed. The four-cylinder is also available with a six-speed manual, an homage to Mazda's Zoom-Zoom mantra.
Trim levels: Sport, Touring, Touring Plus, Grand Touring
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.5L I-4, 170 hp, 167 lb-ft
3.7L V-6, 272 hp, 269 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5- or 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 101.9 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: 16.6 cu ft
The Mazda 6 carries over unchanged from last year, when it received a face-lift. It's among the biggest cars in its class, designed exclusively for the U.S. market, and is available with either four- or six-cylinder power. This segment is really heating up with the white-hot Hyundai Sonata, the elegant Kia Optima, and an all-new Toyota Camry, but the 6 rewards its driver with some of the best handling in the class.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 18-21 mpg city/27-31 mpg highway
- Roomy and elegant
- Good handling and steering
- Powerful engines
You Won't Like
- No hybrid or diesel option
- Fuel economy lags behind
The Mazda alternative to the mainstream sedan.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Hyundai Sonata
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry
- Volkswagen Passat