2010 Mazda MAZDA6
In 2003, the Mazda 6 debuted to rave reviews heralding its ability to distinguish itself from all the mid-size sedans crowding dealership lots. But over the years, towering powerhouses like the Honda Accord grew larger and their engines grew stronger while the Mazda 6 remained at 2003 standards. For their redesign last year, Mazda addressed the serious concerns consumers had with the sedan's size, power and quality compared to the current market. It's bigger, in both cabin space and trunk room, it's more powerful with two brand new engines and most importantly, fit and finish exceeds the interior quality of many of the competing players. And for 2010, the Mazda 6 remains the same save for some packaging changes. The upgrades from the 2009 redesign
deliberately separate it from Mazda's smaller and highly popular Mazda 3
, but the segment continues to grow and the competition is already getting better and more technologically advanced. The Mazda 6 still has its strengths in the performance area, especially when outfitted with the four-cylinder engine, but it might not be enough to stay relevant in this cutthroat class.
What's to Like
Mazda’s racing roots, while slightly diluted, are still apparent in the Mazda 6. The four-cylinder puts out a good amount of power and handling is also impressive for a four-door sedan. Exterior styling sets itself apart from the rest of the mid-size sedan segment and speaks to the sporty buyers.
What's Not to Like
An underwhelming Bose audio system that’s standard in the i Grand Touring will make you want to upgrade the upgrade. Interior styling, while miles better than the last generation, is quickly being outstripped by the newer competition, and gas mileage could be better.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Mazda offers two engine choices with the Mazda 6, and the inline-four and the V-6 are very different beasts where the drive is concerned. The i Grand Touring’s I-4 has more weighty, dynamic handling and generally proves to be the better option in terms of drivability. The gearbox mated to it shifts easily and efficiently with either the five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, and the suspension is compliant, letting you feel connected to the road without being too jarring. Wind noise is greatly reduced throughout the cabin, something the engineers paid particular attention to in last year’s redesign, but a little sound still filters through the door seals. Wheel size makes a noticeable difference in road noise as well, with the 16- and 17-inch wheels smoothing out the road more than the larger 19s available on the V-6.
Engine and Drivetrain
A 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine produces 170 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. The i Grand Touring trim is only available with a five-speed Sport automatic transmission, but other trims can be had with a six-speed manual.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Saving you from potential accidents is the Blind Spot Monitoring system, which will activate lights on the side mirrors to warn you if there’s a car in the lane next to you. If gentle warnings aren’t enough to grab your attention and you still insist on flipping on the indicator, the lights flash and a buzzer sounds. Dual-zone climate control and heated seats are both standard, while rain sensing windshield wipers are an option – a handy invention that ensures your hands remain on the wheel when you hit dangerous driving weather.
Key Technology Evaluation
We really enjoyed playing with the touch screen navigation system. Not only does it make the center stack look even better, but also MP3 player integration and audio displays really shine on the screen. The bass-heavy, 333-watt Bose audio system is good, but not great. Standard Bluetooth connectivity is a plus.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
At 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway for this trim, the i Grand Touring’s inline-four engine is the most frugal setup of the Mazda 6 lineup. However, the sedan isn’t as fuel thrifty as others in the segment, and we’d like to see numbers – especially around town – improve.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Mazda has embraced Japanese influences in little touches like the upscale cloth seat design and cabin trim, giving it a distinct look from rival interiors. Climate controls are in simple dial form, significantly reducing the number of buttons on the dash and making it feel perhaps overly simplistic.
While the appeal of a car is always subjective, we think the Mazda 6's looks are unique and stylish. The sedan retains a distinct Mazda feel with its racing roots blazingly apparent, but there is now a layer of sophistication coating the body design, something that was lacking previously.
Market Segment and Pricing
This car knows its place in the market. Though pricing for the Mazda 6 ranges from $18,600 to $28,540, the top-of-the-line inline-four model, the i Grand Touring, starts at a competitive $26,085. This nestles it between segment leaders like the Nissan Altima
, Toyota Camry
, Honda Accord
, Hyundai Sonata
, Chevrolet Malibu
and Ford Fusion
What We Think
Thanks to the redesign, the Mazda 6 has better build quality, segment-matching engine choices and more room throughout the interior, and the sedan’s upgrades mean buyers have another solid option to choose from in this field. But the segment is dense, and the newer competition has styling and extras that are already better than the Mazda 6’s. Performance is still Mazda’s strongest trait, however, and it should help Mazda’s mid-size sedan stand out.