Even as crossover SUVs win over more and more buyers seeking family-friendly transportation, the midsize sedan still has a strong place among car shoppers. In this class, there is no shortage of choices worthy of your consideration, but the 2017 Mazda 6 manages to stand out from the crowd for a number of reasons.
In keeping with Mazda's reputation, this sedan is unique for its sportiness, both in relation to styling and performance. Its graceful styling gives it a sleek appearance, and the strong engine and athletic handling ensure it's not all for show. Even if performance doesn't rank high among your priorities, its confident feel on the road can be appreciated by drivers of any stripe.
When you add in loads of comfort, admirable fuel efficiency and an abundance of standard and available features, it's easy to see why we awarded it an "A" rating. It's few downsides are a lack of a hybrid model for those who need maximum mileage and no all-wheel-drive option for those in cold-weather climates.
Of course, the 2017 Mazda 6 isn't without some strong competitors that are also fine choices. Other Edmunds "A"-rated sedans include the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and the related Kia Optima. You certainly wouldn't regret going with any of these alternatives, but we're confident that after driving the Mazda 6, you'll agree that none in the group offers the same level of driver engagement and surefooted handling.
Standard safety features for all 2017 Mazda 6 models include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera, automatic emergency notification and rear parking sensors are also standard. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision mitigation are standard equipment on Touring and Grand Touring trims. The Grand Touring trim also receives a lane-keeping assistance system, automatic high beams and forward collision warning.
In Edmunds brake testing, Mazda 6 Touring came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is average for a midsize sedan. A Grand Touring model stopped in 128 feet.
In government crash tests, the Mazda 6 earned five out of five stars overall, with five stars for frontal and side impact protection and four stars for rollover protection. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+, with the highest score of Good for moderate- and small-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and whiplash (seats and head restraints) protection. It was also given the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention when appropriately equipped.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Mazda 6 is a midsize sedan with seating for five. It is available in Sport, Touring or Grand Touring trim levels.
Standard features for the Sport trim include 17-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats with lumbar support for the driver, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a rearview camera, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with voice control, text messaging capabilities, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker CD player with auxiliary/USB input, HD radio and internet streaming radio.
The Touring model adds 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, advanced keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery and power driver seat adjustments.
Touring options include a sunroof bundled with an 11-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio, as well as the Touring Premium package that adds adaptive auto-leveling LED headlights, LED running lights, heated mirrors, an auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirror and heated front seats.
At the top of the lineup, the Grand Touring includes the above listed options along with LED foglights, automatic high beams, a rear trunklid spoiler, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping assistance system, steering-wheel-mounted paddles shifters, a traffic sign reader with speed warnings, a head-up display, a universal garage door opener, a navigation system, leather upholstery and an eight-way power driver seat with memory functions (six-way power front passenger seat).
The Grand Touring is also eligible for the GT Premium package that adds Mazda's i-Eloop brake regeneration system that increases fuel efficiency. Also included are active grille shutters, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, premium leather front sport seats, interior ambient lighting, a black headliner and unique interior trim elements.
Powering all 2017 Mazda 6 models is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Sport and Touring models and sends power to the front wheels. A six-speed automatic is standard on the Grand Touring and optional on the lesser trims.
In Edmunds testing, a Mazda 6 with the automatic transmission accelerated to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is quick for the class. The manual transmission trails slightly, needing 8.1 seconds to reach 60 mph.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway) for models with the manual transmission. The automatic increases efficiency to 29 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway) or 30 mpg combined with the GT Premium package.
Mazda has carved a niche for itself as a manufacturer of cars that are more engaging to drive than your typical family vehicle. The Mazda 6 maintains this reputation with a responsive engine that delivers strong acceleration and power that is always on tap. Even when accelerating with a heavier than normal foot on the pedal, engine noise is well managed and actually sounds pretty good. The same holds true for wind and road noise at highway speeds.
Handling is another brand hallmark, and this sedan corners with far more poise than its competitors. The communicative steering further enhances confidence, as does the sporty suspension tuning.
Thankfully, this surefootedness doesn't come at the expense of comfort. Though the Mazda 6 does ride a bit stiffer than rivals, it's not harsh or intrusive. If you prefer a softer feel, stick with the standard 17-inch wheels over the optional 19-inch versions. Whether you're a spirited driver seeking some excitement behind the wheel or simply desire a sensible and comfortable sedan, the 2017 Mazda 6 delivers a strong sensation of competence and reassurance that's hard to find elsewhere.
The 2017 Mazda 6 features an interior that exceeds expectations for the midsize family sedan class. Its overall design is pleasingly modern, and materials quality is excellent. Even the Touring trim's simulated leather is convincing. Front seats provide good support and remain comfortable after several hours on the road, though larger occupants might find them on the narrow side. Rear seats are notably comfortable, too, with plenty of head- and legroom for taller adults.
One of our favorite features in the Mazda 6 is the Mazda Connect infotainment system. It features a central dial controller and large tablet-like display similar to many luxury-branded vehicles. Operation is easy thanks to legible and intuitive menus, all of which help to keep the driver's attention on the road. The display also functions as a touchscreen, but only when the car is stationary.
Storage for your personal items is adequate but not generous, with moderately sized bins and pockets. The same holds true for cargo space, with a 14.8-cubic-foot trunk that is slightly smaller than average for the class. Fortunately, the trunk opening is wide, and remote seatback release levers further simplify loading bulkier objects.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.