The 2017 Mazda 6 delivers something that transcends its position as a mainstream midsize sedan: a sophisticated and exhilarating driving experience. Among all the cars cramming into this market slice, the Mazda 6 is the one that feels directly connected to both the road and the driver. Perhaps those crossover SUVs aren't destined to rule the world after all.
There's a genuine elegance to the Mazda 6's appearance. The fenders sweep up to base of the windshield and then down into doors like waves cresting at the front roof pillar. If it wasn't a Mazda, it would make a fine-looking Maserati. The car's confident appearance almost announces that this car is very special.
On paper, the Mazda 6's handling might not seem like a big deal. Like virtually every other car in this class, the 6's front end is held up on a pair of MacPherson struts and the tail relies on an independent multilink suspension. The steering is, of course, electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion. But it's Mazda's voodoo tuning ability that adds subtlety to how they perform. Many midsize cars feel generic, but this one is precise and specific unto itself. It's not the car for everyone, but everyone doesn't love to drive.
It delivers this driving experience without sacrificing interior room and a large trunk. This is a very comfortable sedan in addition to being a sporty one. And the interior is practically as beautiful as the skin over it.
Every Mazda 6 is powered by a 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine producing 184 horsepower. Mazda has been so obsessed with efficiency in engineering this engine that the "e" on the end of Skyactiv was left off as extraneous. Sorry, make that "xtraneous." Despite the modest output, there's verve and eagerness in the engine that make it engaging. And the Mazda 6 is relatively light compared to the competition, even if the car itself isn't stunningly quick.
The standard transmission is a six-speed manual feeding the front wheels. A six-speed automatic with manual shift and Sport mode is optional, and the choice of most buyers. No, you can't get all-wheel drive. And no, there's no hybrid version either.
Opt for the manual transmission and the EPA mileage ratings come in at 28 mpg combined (24 city/34 highway). Those numbers are bettered by the automatic version that returns 29 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway).
Offered in base Sport, better equipped Touring and nearly luxurious Grand Touring models, Mazda makes shopping for a new 6 straightforward. Still, why take chances? Edmunds.com is here to help you find a new Mazda 6 at a keen price.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.