The Mazda 6 takes that whole zoom-zoom thing to heart, proving that an affordable sedan can still be a fun and sporty drive.
It starts with a sexy, updated exterior that is backed up by a comfortable, well-appointed interior. Trim levels move from the base Sport to Touring to Grand Touring but you don’t need to go to the top of the line to be driving in comfort.
We drove the Touring which falls smack in the middle of the range and can be yours for a base price of $23,845. Add-ons like a cargo mat and net, special Soul Red paint, rear bumper guard and door sill trim plates brought our tester up to a final MSRP of $24,515, not including destination charge.
The Mazda6 is a sedan, but one look tells you it has no intention of being a boring one thanks to the all-new design that debuted with the 2014 model. There’s a wide front grille that challenges you take it for a drive and its long, low design brings to mind sports cars, not family cars. Yet, this is most definitely something that can hold the whole family, with plenty of room in the back for kids or for adults.
Trunk space is also roomy with a wide opening to 14.8 cubic feet of space and a 60/40 split rear seat that allows for all kinds of options. We happened to purchase a new television during the testing period and not only did it fit in without any trouble, but we didn’t even have to take the 49” screen out of the box. We were sorely tempted to go back and see just how big a television the thing could swallow.
It’s got good looks, comfort, and space, but the real star of the show is the Skyactiv 2.5L 4-cylinder engine which puts out 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. That engine allows for impressive fuel efficiency numbers of 25 city/37 highway/29 combined which we actually beat with a combined 30.2 MPG in driving that leaned heavily toward city roads.
If its fuel efficiency is impressive, its drive is even more so. Steering is tight and well-weighted with nothing sloppy or loose so you’re always in control. High-speed corners are easily managed with minimal body roll and sure braking. You’ll find yourself seeking out every wide, sweeping corner you can find just for kicks.
The Mazda6 is also fast, remember that zoom-zoom we mentioned, and it begs to be let loose. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting hard off the line or trying to accelerate and merge into heavy highway traffic. The car responds quickly and aggressively making it pure fun. This is the very definition of an affordable sports sedan.
It also ups the sport ante by being available as either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission, something that’s becoming increasingly hard to find in sedans. We had the good fortune to test the manual and found short throws that easily snapped into place and pedals that were compliant rather than stiff which made stop and go traffic much more manageable.
Take another look at that $24,515 price tag now, and instead of feeling reasonable, it feels like an outright bargain. In addition to a stellar driving experience you get a whole host of premium features including 19” aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, rearview camera, 6-way power driver’s seat, leatherette seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
There’s no shortage of tech either, with an infotainment system that the connected set will love. AM/FM/CD/MP3 with 6 speakers, a 5.8” color touchscreen, HD Radio, and Pandora all standard in the Mazda6 Touring. The system is intuitive, a big plus, so you won’t find yourself lost within menus trying to make it all work.
The Mazda6 delivers on the promise of a sports sedan. It has the practical sedan side covered with room, comfort and fuel efficiency, but it also delivers on the sport side with handling, power and a healthy dose of zoom-zoom.
2015 Mazda6 Touring
Base Price: $23,845
Price As Tested: $24,515 (not including destination charge)
- Spacious trunk
- Available manual transmission
- Sporty drive
- Heated seats only in Grand Touring
- Navigation only as an additional package