Overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued, the Mazda 6 is not only a bargain, but an exceptional family fun sedan with a frisky disposition, above average fuel economy, and a responsive engine. If you enjoy driving and still have frugal family obligations the Mazda is a must drive. For example, if you opt for its I-Eloop system you can get over 30 miles per gallon, and this isn’t a hybrid. And you don’t sacrifice quickness either as the 6 is energetic, maneuverable, and nimble. The steering is excellent as are the brakes. The downside of the Mazda 6 is two-fold. First, the ride can be a bit rough for roads that have been deprived of taxpayer funding. Secondly, the competition is staggering. There are the Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Kia Optima, and Toyota Camry tugging at the buyer’s dollars. However, none of them are as fun to drive as the Mazda, although each has its own attributes that make this segment of the market a treasure trove of choices for buyers.
Mom’s view: Finally, a sporty looking family car. The Mazda 6 comes in three flavors, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. We tested the premium packed Grand Touring. Standard safety features included anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat and side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Our test car also came with a rearview camera, parking sensors and blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring.
The 6 also had Mazda’s frontal collision mitigation system with forward collision warning system. Crash test scores were good as well. I feel saddened that this Mazda is overlooked by so many. It does everything well and yet few people even know what a “6” is. Perhaps Mazda should consider going back to naming their vehicles instead of giving them numbers to help people identify. Everyone knows what a Miata is, but a MX-5 even though it is the same car? Different vibe. The interior is functional, but not without much charm. The aluminum trim pieces are well placed and the 7-inch screen on our test car was easy to read and use. The touchscreen has a knob controlled on the center console that helps with interactions, but it takes time to master. The trunk is ample with a fairly low lift-over and the doors open wide enough to make entry wearing a dress worry free. Plenty of storage areas and comfortable seats. Overall, the Mazda 6 is your morning cup of coffee that keeps you going.
Dad’s view: Peppy and personable, the 6 is a front wheel drive sedan powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and can even be ordered with a manual transmission if the six-speed automatic transmission isn’t to your liking. It isn’t blistering fast, but it will keep up with most anything in daily driving and still provide 30 mpg in mixed driving. The Mazda 6 feels light on its feet with a sporty feel that can be stiff at times. The engine is very responsive and eager to please. Quiet, efficient, and easy to love, the Mazda 6 is athletic and appareling to those stuck in daily grind who enjoy driving home in something that isn’t an appliance. This is one of the few family sedans you can order with a standard transmission. Basically, this is a five passenger Miata. I liked everything about it except for the GPS interface. I found it better to utilize Waze. The fact that it is available with a stick shift is noteworthy and tends to deliver on the Mazda zoom message. Fun and practical.
Young working woman’s view: There is an abundance of standard features such as air-conditioning, cruise control, 60/40-split rear seat, mufti-information display, Bluetooth phone, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod /USB interface with axillary audio jack. I would recommend the Grand Touring with keyless ignition and entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sliding console armrest and a six-way power driver seat. For the 6 Touring there’s an option package that adds a sunroof, an upgraded 11-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio. The Technology package that features LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, heated front seats and a collision mitigation system with automatic braking. I would also opt for the rear parking sensors. The Mazda 6 would probably be on my short list of family sedans.
Young sort of working male’s view: Back to school and working part-time makes one appreciate the advantages of being rich. Until that day arrives I must scuttle my dreams of a new Lexus and remind myself of the benefits of such cars as the Mazda 6 that can offer the non-lottery winners affordability, dependability and not a total bore to drive. The rear seat is actually usable and the trunk can hold nearly 15 cubic feet of Amazon Prime bargains. The base version is listed just over $20,000, but options can push the price over $30,000. My sage advice, look for deals with the loaded Grand Touring model. The added safety options are worth it.
Family conference: Mazda has a hidden gem in the 6 and that is too bad because this family sedan appeals to those who love to drive, but need the practicality of a four-door. The technology is current, the option package attractive and the pricing competitive. Besides, the sharp looks makes it easier to spot in a parking lot.
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Photo courtesy of Caricos