2016 Mazda6 [REVIEW]

Mazda is known for offering sportier alternatives, but can the Mazda6 find the sweet spot that can help it win over would be Accord or Camry buyers?

2016_Mazda6_Review


The midsize sedan segment has been one of the most competitive segments for years with top players like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry vying for the top spot. But even though these two sedans may win the most signatures at dealers, are they truly the best? There are alternatives in the segment, like the Mazda6 that in some cases may offer more than the typical best sellers. Mazda is known for offering sportier alternatives, but can the Mazda6 find the sweet spot that can help it win over would be Accord or Camry buyers?

2016 Mazda6

The current Mazda6 has been on the market for a few years. The last time we reviewed it was back in 2012, where we found the Mazda6 to not only be one of the more stylish models in the segment, but also one of the most fun to drive. It also helped that our tested was equipped with a manual transmission. This time Mazda gave me the keys to a refreshed 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring with an automatic transmission. Was I just as impressed as I was the first time after my week with the 2016 Mazda6? Almost.

2016 Mazda6

Related: 2015 Mazda3 Five-Door [REVIEW]

One of my biggest complaints about the last Mazda6 that I drove was that its designers seemed to forget all about the interior when they designed it. On the outside the Mazda6 has a sophisticated and sporty exterior with sensuous curves that are hard to ignore. Open the door and it was easy to get let down with an interior that lacked any sort of passion. Mazda took note and for the 2016 model year, the biggest updates to the Mazda6 are on the inside. The 2016 Mazda6 now has a completely new dash with an updated navigation system, better quality materials and an overall design that is much prettier to look at than before. It also helped that my tester had a black and ivory two toned interior.

2016 Mazda6

On the outside the updates are much smaller with the biggest change being an updated front and rear styling. The Grand Touring model also gets new LED headlights

Since my last tester was equipped with the manual transmission, I was eager to see if the sportier nature of the manual Mazda6 wouldn’t completely disappear with the automatic equipped model. Mazda still only offers one engine with the Mazda6, a 2.5L four-cylinder with 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft. of torque. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. While most midsize competitors offer more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder or V6 engines, Mazda is only targeting the meat of the segment with its 2.5L model, which may come at somewhat of a disappointment from the “Zoom-Zoom” brand.

2016 Mazda6

With 184 horsepower on tap, the Mazda6’s specs are comparable to the four-cylinder Accord and Camry models, but if you want something that’s a little more spirited to drive, you’re out of luck here. Around town the Mazda6 has decent power, but push the pedal to the floor and you’re sadly greeted with more noise than speed. This same engine is offered in the Mazda3, but given the fact that the Mazda3 is smaller and lighter than the Mazda6, it works a lot better there. In the Mazda6 it makes the attractive sedan feel under powered and not all that exciting to drive.

2016 Mazda6

Engine issues aside, the Mazda6 still has superb steering feedback and its suspension is firmer than other competitors. There’s also another upside to the engine, my tester featured the i-Eloop regenerative braking system, which helps the Mazda6 get a segment topping 40 mpg on the highway. Even some smaller compact sedans can’t claim that.

2016 Mazda6

At the end of my week with the Mazda6 I was still impressed with its sexy exterior, great handling and its much improved interior. I just wished that it had a bit more power under the hood. Give that engine a small turbo and the Mazda6 would transform into a sexy sport sedan that would give the V6 Accord and Camry a run for their money.

Pricing for the 2016 Mazda6 starts at $21,495, while my Grand Touring with the Technology Package was priced at $33,495.