First off, I don't want a car everyone else has -- so that knocked off the fusion, accord, and altima (which are also terribly boring to look at or be in). After a 1,300 mile trip I can say a few things with certainty:
The car does not drive as stiff as many reviews say, even with 19" wheels. I'd say if anything it's an average ride quality -- you do feel the road, but it's not like driving over a washboard gravel lane. It's not a luxury car, but in general, it feels like one more often than not (our last two cars were Acuras).
Is there a car in this segment, including luxury, that has a more sinuous and seductive styling than the Mazda6? If you were to ask me, I'd say no, that Mazda absolutely has created a car that is as much function as it is form. However, the car is much more than just the belle of the ball. It is a family hauler that is as much practical as it is athletic. With a few, albeit very minor, complaints, this car is the closest you will get to a German made equivalent without breaking $30,000. It's clear that Mazda spent
The Mazda6's performance is better than what I would expect in it's class. Most people that are complaining about the lack of speed are likely referring to it's drag racing numbers. It's acceleration will not wow you like a Hellcat Charger or Chervolet SS, but that's not what it was designed to be. It is not a drag strip sport sedan, nor was it designed to be. For less than $23,000 after tax, title, and license, the Mazda6 is the car that has very peppy acceleration and an automatic transmission that you'd swear was dual clutch with how smoothly it shifts. It rides the road like it is on rails and teases you to push it harder on winding roads. It's like a large, practical Miata in many ways. It's not a numbers car, but that doesn't matter when it comes to driving it. It's a sedan that is fun to drive. It's a driver's sedan and is made for the person that doesn't mind taking the longer, windier way to work. While I'm sure it wouldn't be less enjoyable to have more power from the engine, the car is faster than others in it's segment and price and is balanced with how much power it has.
The interior is a large upgrade from older models and has a very clean appearance. There is leather and aluminum accents throughout the body, replacing much of the cheap, hard plastics from the past. The leatherette seats in the Touring trim are very comfortable, being just soft enough without feeling like a recliner. The rear seats have plenty of room for a car that isn't a full sized sedan and the fronts seats comfortably fit someone who is over 6' tall. The trunk is quite spacious and leaves little to complain about.
The media console and screen is a love it or hate it piece of equipment. Using it and the iPod like wheel makes it clear it is designed to distract from the driving experience as little as possible. While the car is in park or not moving, you can use the display's touch capabilities. While the car is in motion, you have to use the wheel in the middle of the center console. This can be annoying for passenger's that want to change the radio station or hook up their phone, but it's so simple and easy to use with the wheel, it's not a dealbreaker of an annoyance, at least not for me. The wheel has tactile feedback and you can easily begin to remember how many clicks in a turn it takes to get to whatever menu you are looking for. The shortcut buttons around the wheel are thoughtful and are the most common options you are going to navigate to. *I didn't choose to have navigation enabled on my car, so I can't make any comments about it's capabilities. You can enable it after the fact by buying Mazda's SD card and inserting it in the slot in the storage bin in the center console.
All-in-all, you have a very attractive car that performs better than others in it's class and price range and is thoroughly enjoyable to drive. It is comfortable and spacious (as spacious as a mid-sized sedan can be), but drives like it's a much smaller car than it is. I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a car in this segment. I would not recommend this to a person who is looking for a performance sports sedan, such as a WRX or Chevrolet SS, as it's straight away speed is not going to blow you away. But, again, this is not a car designed for that. It provides a comfortable ride with more than peppy performance and a great driving experience at an amazing price for the package.
After 20,000 miles it is clear that the car is solid and well built. It corners well, the steering feels planted and pickup is adequate for city driving. In mixed driving achieved 30+ mpg. The electronics work well and are intuitive. I really appreciate the lane change warning and backup camera. Also plenty of room front and back and a nice size trunk. Back seats easily fold down for quite a bit of storage.
After a year the car has been reliable; zero warranty work, no recalls. I use the sport switch occasionally when entering a highway as it significantly improves pickup. There is no need to have it on and reduce economy during normal driving. Passengers don't complain about the back seat during long trips. There can be some interior noise, which I believe has been improved for 2017. This is all the car I need. Plus I like the way it looks. Easy to recommend.
This is a terrific car and great value in many ways, but beware these cars develop interior rattles and buzzes after the first few months of ownership. Check the Mazda Owners' Forum. If you can live with some vibration, buzzing, and rattling in the interior, you will be very pleased with the Mazda6. If these types of issues really annoy you, you will be unhappy with the vehicle. Unfortunate because the car handles so well, is nicely designed, priced fairly, and the interior materials appear of higher than usual quality. It's all just not screwed together as tightly as some buyers will want. A son helped pick out the car and planned to buy it for the lease residual purchase price. Given the buzzy dash, center stack, and console, he plans to pass and I will be relieved to turn the car in at lease end. By the way, the dealer and Mazda USA customer satisfaction are not able to correct these problems and don't particularly extended themselves for the customer.
I drove a new VW for the previous 12 years (leasing, turning them in on the next model) and thought I'd be a VW driver for good. Then, the Mazda 6 caught my eye. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was bored one Saturday morning and thought - what the heck - go drive one. I had no intentions of ending my VW lease early. Well, after I drove it - it was game over (in my head). Thought I had to at least listen to the salesman since they were nice enough to let me drive one. Turns out, it was more affordable than I would expect and I left with a 2016 Mazda 6. It was about $5,000 less expensive than the VW and had twice as many "toys". Far better safety accessories like lane change warning, back up camera, etc.
It's a VERY comfortable car to drive and to ride in. The gas mileage is phenomenal compared to the VW - took a trip to the beach and averaged nearly 38 mpg!
If I HAD to come up with a criticism or complaint - it would be that the glare from the front and rear windows is a bit much, making it a little difficult to see clearly on a bright, sunny day and the side view mirrors could be moved forward on the doors just an inch or two. I'd also rather be able to tilt the display down when not really in use - it sticks up kind of high and is permanently affixed there. Other than that - I LOVE this car, it had me at hello.