The 2017 Mazda6 sedan is excellent, and about to get better
Mazda is generally considered a niche automaker, and is mostly famous for its popular Miata sports car these days. But if you're shopping for a mid-size family sedan this year, you really need to take a close look at the Mazda6. This sedan is generally overlooked compared to the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima, but it is a dramatically better car than any of those competitors.
It starts with Mazda's commitment to an excellent driving experience. Mazda takes everything they learn from producing great sports cars and brings that knowledge to the Mazda6. For example, Mazda has an industry-exclusive feature called G-Vectoring Control that modulates engine torque in response to your steering input. When you turn the wheel to take a corner, the Mazda6 shifts its weight slightly forward to help the front tires grip the road. This gives the Mazda6 the most responsive steering and handling of any mid-size car.
Mazda powers the Mazda6 with a 2.5-liter engine, rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. But it feels more like a V6 because Mazda has done a masterful job of making the gear ratios in the 6-speed automatic transmission match the power curve of the engine. And as a sports car manufacturer, Mazda also offers the Mazda6 with a 6-speed manual transmission.
The Mazda6 is available in several trims, and its base price is less than the Camry, Accord, or Altima. Even in the most basic Sport trim, you'll enjoy a 7-inch Mazda Connect touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, rearview camera, keyless entry, and pushbutton start. That's all included in the base price.
If you decide to move up to the Grand Touring trim, you'll get heated and power-adjustable leather seats, navigation, auto-leveling LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, an 11-speaker Bose surround sound system, adaptive cruise control, head-up driver information display with traffic sign recognition, and more.
The thing that will amaze you about the Mazda6 compared to its competitors is the driving experience. Mazda's SKYACTIV engine offers smooth power throughout its range, and the ride quality is smooth yet firm, with a relaxed confidence that comes from precise control. This is a car that deserves your consideration, and a test drive.
Mazda has announced that the 2018 Mazda6 will be revealed later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Among many updates, the 2018 Mazda6 will be available with a surround-view camera and a turbocharged engine good for 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Those features will put the 2018 Mazda6 in competition with premium brands, but at an economy price.
2017 Mazda Mazda6
Base price: $22,820
Price as tested: $34,695
Type: Mid-size sedan
Engine: 2.5-liter inline 4 (184 hp, 185 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
EPA estimated mileage: 26/35
Overall length: 193 inches
Curb weight: 3,250 pounds
Final assembly: Hofu, Japan