Mazda enjoys a richly deserved reputation for building fun to drive cars. From the RX-7 to the MX-5 and on into the company’s hatchbacks and sedans, you can always count on Mazda to infuse a car with qualities conducive to enjoyable driving.
With the Mazda6, the company offers a sedan that is also handsome and comfortable. Leading the market with attributes such as a steering wheel sized just right to feel nice in your hands, along with a sporty and practical interior design, the Mazda6 really ought to be a best seller in its segment. We say ought to be, because, well it isn’t.
You see, its segment also includes America’s best selling four-door sedans; Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. These cars are formidable competitors for the Mazda, because more shoppers in this category care more about arriving than driving. Thus, for most car buyers, the Mazda6’s virtues have gone largely unobserved.
Introduced in 2002 as Mazda’s mid-size sedan offering to replace the outgoing Mazda 626, the Mazda6 has been offered in four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and station wagon variants. The Mazda6 first arrived on American shores in 2003 with a 189-horsepower four-cylinder engine as the base offering. A 3.0-liter, 220-horsepower V6 was positioned as the upper offering. In reflection of the driver-oriented nature of the car, both manual and automatic transmissions were offered with either engine.
Reviewers were enamored with the styling of the new Mazda6 as well as the athletic nature of the driving experience the sporty looking sedan offered. Power accessories, cruise control and a nice grade of cloth upholstery were among the standard offerings. Options included foglights, a sunroof, leather upholstery, and a more elaborate audio system teamed with a CD changer.
The second generation Mazda6 debuted in 2007 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Largely equipped similarly to its predecessor, it introduced a more curvaceous styling language with sharper edges. Considered good looking by most reviewers, this generation of Mazda’s mid-size offering also won kudos for its road manners.
Power was sourced from a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 167 ft-lbs of torque. The 3.0-liter V6 engine made 272 horsepower and 269 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission was standard with the four-cylinder engine, although a five-speed automatic was available as an option. The V6 could only be had with the six-speed automatic.
For the 2014 model year, the third generation of the Mazda6 debuted with new styling and a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The V6 engine option was dropped, however a 2.2-liter diesel powerplant is anticipated for late introduction.