2021 Mazda 6 Sedan

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Review: Get It While You Still Can

by Gerhard Horn

Look at this magnificent Mazda 6 sedan and weep, for its time in the USA has come to a tragic end. The crossover segment has claimed yet another victim. However, there is some hope that Mazda will be back at some point in the future with an all-new 6 Sedan based on the Mazda Vision Coupe concept, but we digress. For now, we'll focus on the present where you can still buy a Mazda 6. It's available with two 2.5-liter engines. One is naturally aspirated, while the other is helped along by a turbocharger. The naturally-aspirated motor produces 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, while the more powerful engine's figures are as much as 250 hp and 320 lb-ft with premium gas. In both models, the power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The Mazda 6 is one of those cars that is extremely hard to fault, although it doesn't ride as comfortably as rivals like the Honda Accord. Another familiar foe, the popular Toyota Camry, also offers the option of all-wheel drive. Despite these few shortcomings, the 6 Sedan is a joy to drive, and arguably wears a more stylish suit than its rivals. It will be sorely missed when it departs.

Read in this review:

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Mazda 6 Sedan?

The lineup now includes an all-new model called the Carbon Edition. It's essentially a high-spec trim with model-specific Polymetal Gray paint, black exterior trim, and 19-inch black alloy wheels. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, and on trim levels above the Touring, Apple CarPlay is wireless. On the Signature trim, driver attention alert and rear emergency braking are now standard. Unfortunately, Mazda also announced that the 6 would be axed at the end of this year, making this the last year you can buy Mazda's sensational sedan.

Pros and Cons

  • Fun handling
  • Attractive exterior
  • Powerful turbocharged engine
  • Packed with driver-assistance features
  • Premium cabin
  • Not as comfortable as some rivals
  • Noise intrusion at higher speeds
  • Clunky infotainment system

Best Deals on Mazda 6 Sedan

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Sport
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,475
Touring
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$27,075
Grand Touring
2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$30,175
Grand Touring Reserve
2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$32,675
Carbon Edition
2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$32,950

Mazda 6 Sedan Exterior

The Mazda 6 is a beautiful piece of automotive design, which isn't something you often hear in the humble midsize sedan segment. But just look at it closely for a second. Notice the slim headlights, the subtle power bulge on the hood, and the way it tapers down to the understated yet sporty grille. The concave lines above the front wheels are another power play, and they contrast beautifully with the subtle convex lines at the bottom of the front doors. At the rear, Mazda keeps it simple, but we like the way the trunk raises at the edge to create an integrated spoiler of sorts. This Mazda 6 is a car that you can walk away from and turn back for one more admiring glance without most people thinking you've lost it, which is quite an achievement in this segment.

All models have LED headlights with auto-leveling, upgrading to Signature LED lights and adaptive front lighting from the Grand Touring Reserve trim upwards. A power moonroof is also standard on every model except the entry-level Sport. The Sport is also the only model with 17-inch alloys. Other trim levels come as standard with 19s.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Front Angle View Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Rear Angle View Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Front Angle View 1 Mazda
See All 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Mazda 6 has similar key dimensions to its major rivals. The overall body length is 192.7 inches and it rides on a 111.4-inch wheelbase. The maximum width measures 72.4 inches, and it's 57.1 inches tall. The lower trims weigh 3,437 pounds, while the high-end turbocharged models have a claimed curb weight of 3,582 lbs. While the 6 is on par with its main rivals in terms of overall size, it is around 100 lbs heavier than the Camry when their base derivatives are compared. The Honda Accord is lighter than both.

  • Length 192.7 in
  • Wheelbase 111.4 in
  • Height 57.1 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.4 in
  • Rear Width 62.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,437.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The Mazda 6 has a disappointingly small color palette, but all five colors are available on all trim levels. The one exception is the Carbon Edition, which is only available in the model-specific Polymetal Gray Metallic. No-cost options on the other trims include Deep Crystal Blue and Jet Black Mica. Snowflake White Pearl Mica adds $395 to the price, while Machine Gray Metallic will add $495 to the cost of the Mazda 6. Mazda's well-known Soul Red retails for a hefty $595. Despite the small selection of colors, the 6 is such a pretty sedan that it looks fantastic in just about any shade.

  • Jet Black Mica
  • Snowflake White Pearl Mica
  • Soul Red Crystal Metallic
  • Machine Gray Metallic
  • Deep Crystal Blue
  • Polymetal Gray

Mazda 6 Sedan Performance

Mazda knows how to tweak a chassis to get the most out of it. In the ride and handling department, it trounces all of its rivals. This is the company that gave the world the Miata, after all. Unfortunately, Mazda's engine offerings have grown outdated over the last few years. Main rivals now offer more potent engines and hybrid derivatives.

Mazda will still offer the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for its final production year, both with or without a turbocharger bolted to it. The turbocharged engine produces up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, so it's the one to go for, if only because it does a much better job of exploiting the sporty chassis setup.

When you take a glance at acceleration figures, it becomes clear that Mazda is now behind the competition. Independent tests have shown that the naturally-aspirated model takes around eight seconds to get to 60 mph. The turbocharged model's 0-60 mph time is in the mid-six-second range, although it has gotten quite close to the six-second mark in some cases. By comparison, the fastest versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord both dip below six seconds.

Other than the mid-2000s Mazdaspeed 6, the 6 sedan has always been front-wheel drive. This made it less appealing in states that experience more severe winter weather, where customers most likely flocked to all-wheel-drive alternatives like the Camry and Subaru Legacy.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Front Angle View 2 Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Side View Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Wheel Mazda

Engine and Transmission

Mazda uses the same 2.5-liter SkyActive four-cylinder engine on all models. In the Sport and Touring models, it's naturally-aspirated and delivers 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. In the rest of the range, a turbocharger is added to the mix. This increases the power output to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque when running on premium gas, or 227 hp/310 lb-ft on regular unleaded. All models use a six-speed automatic transmission, directing all the power to the front wheels only.

The six-speed gearbox might seem outdated in a world where eight, nine, and ten-speed 'boxes are the norm, but if it works… While the naturally-aspirated four-pot is more than up to the task of powering the 6, its maximum torque of 186 lb-ft is only available from 4,000 rpm. Add a turbocharger and the torque increases to 320 lb-ft from 2,500 rpm.

Both powertrains are smooth and provide adequate power in most situations. The power tends to taper off at high speeds, but that's the only real issue. It's worth remembering that the 6 is not a sports car, but rather an elegant saloon with sporty aspirations. In that context, the turbocharged model works extremely well. The 0 to 60 mph sprint time of close to six seconds isn't spectacular, but it's noticeably more energetic than the base model, and the turbocharged engine and smooth six-speed 'box make light work of most situations.

There are no driving modes, but the gearbox does have a sport setting. In this mode, it merely holds on to a gear for longer, but will eventually shift up. You can take manual control, which you might want to do at times, considering the chassis setup.

  • Engines
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

When it was first introduced as a 2003 model, the Mazda 6 proved that the affordable midsize sedan's default setting didn't have to be dull and tedious. The old NA 2.3-liter four-pot was uninspiring, but the chassis was superb. The grippy front end and the resulting enthusiastic turn-in that rivaled performance saloons costing twice as much made a fine impression.

Over the years, the Mazda 6 has been tamed, but it still has that inherent sportiness that none of its competitors can match. It feels balanced and confident for what it is. While most certainly not a track car, it will liven your commute on a dreary Tuesday afternoon. You can even elevate this built-in sportiness further by fitting grippier tires. On the downside, the ride isn't as refined as its rivals. The firm ride does intrude into the cabin at times, and the sound insulation doesn't match the best, something that's apparent when driving at the top legal speed. For the most part, the Mazda 6 won't have trouble winning enthusiasts over during a test drive.

Mazda 6 Sedan Gas Mileage

While the Mazda's engine and transmission combos might be decidedly old-school, they're still competitive when it comes to how much gas they use. According to the EPA estimates, the naturally aspirated motor is capable of 26/35/29 mpg city/highway/combined. As you'd expect, the turbo motor is slightly less efficient. The EPA figures suggest it should be capable of 23/31/26 mpg.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged Accord returns 22/32/26 mpg but the Accord 1.5-liter turbo easily trumps the Mazda 6 with figures of 30/38/33 mpg. The V6 Camry is the least efficient at 22/31/25 mpg, although that's for the sporty TRD that is a joy to drive. Still, both these cars are available in hybrid format, and it's hard to look past those particular figures. The Honda can do 48/48/48 mpg in hybrid guise, while the Camry leads the pack with gas mileage figures of up to 51/53/52 mpg.

With a 16.4-gallon gas tank, the Mazda 6's range works out to 476 miles for the base model and 426 miles for models equipped with the turbocharged engine.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/35 mpg
* 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Sport Automatic

Mazda 6 Sedan Interior

Mazda did a superb job with the current 6's interior. When it was first launched, it had a center console splattered with buttons and an integrated screen, but Mazda refined the layout relative to what we saw all those years ago. The screen now sits above the main center vents. Below that is a solid piece of interior trim that stretches the entire length of the cabin. And underneath that lovely piece of trim are the climate controls. It's all very simple and elegant in its presentation. Quality-wise, the Mazda 6 sits close to, if not on top of, the midsize sedan pile. What the 6 lacks in space, it makes up for in premium materials. There isn't a single piece of trim that would look out of place in a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Steering Wheel Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Dashboard Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Central Console Mazda
See All 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The 6's interior reminds us why the midsize sedan has been with us for so long. There's loads of space for four adults and you can fit five people at a push. The rear middle seat is only suited to smaller passengers, but as a four-seater, the 6 is ideal. There's loads of room for both front and rear passengers to stretch out and enjoy a long-haul journey.

Legroom is 42.2 inches in the front, and 38.7 inches in the rear. The headroom is 37.4 inches in the front, and 37.1 inches in the rear. However, the front headroom increases to 38.4 inches on the base Sport trim as it lacks a moonroof. The 6 has large doors that open wide and, because it's just a normal sedan, getting in and out is easy. If we had to nit-pick, we'd say the visibility out of the narrow rear screen isn't ideal, but you do get driver-assistance systems to make up for that.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.2 in
  • Front Head Room 38.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Mazda must be commended for the high-quality appearance of the 6's interior materials. The base Sport model is only available with Black cloth, although at least the shift knob and steering wheel are leather-wrapped. Touring and Grand Touring models upgrade to leatherette, available in Black or Sand. Genuine leather upholstery is standard on the Grand Touring Reserve in either Black or an airier Parchment hue. The Signature trim comes standard with Nappa leather in either Deep Chestnut or Parchment as well as Sen Wood and Ultrasuede trim inserts, giving the cabin a wonderfully upscale feel. Finally, the sporty Carbon Edition comes standard with a beautiful Red leather interior with black cross stitching. It also gets attractive red stitching on the center console armrest and the dashboard.

Mazda 6 Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

The Mazda 6 has a 14.7-cubic-foot trunk. It's not bad, considering you can easily fit a month's worth of groceries or a couple of large suitcases and some hand luggage back there. Rivals offer more, though. Toyota's Camry has 15.1 cubes to work with, while the Honda Accord has a 16.7-cube trunk. The Mazda's seats can be folded forward and flat for more room, but for some odd reason, you can only do this from within the trunk.

In-cabin storage is ample and consists of door pockets with bottle holders, dual cupholders for the front passengers, and a center armrest with storage underneath. Rear passengers get seatback pockets on the back of the front seats plus dual cupholders hidden within the rear center seatback.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Dashboard 1 Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Rear Passenger Seats Mazda
2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Interior Overview Mazda
  • Trunk Volume
    14.7 ft³

Mazda 6 Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

The 6 is handsomely equipped even at its base price. The Sport trim comes with keyless entry and push-button start, six-way manually adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. The next step up is the Touring specification, which adds a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and a power moonroof. The Grand Touring trim includes paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors. Stepping into more luxurious territory is the Grand Touring Reserve, which boasts a color head-up display, eight-way power adjustment for the driver's seat with memory, six-way power adjustment for the front passenger seat, ventilation for the front seats, and heating for the rear outboard seats. The Carbon Edition comes with the same features as the Grand Touring Reserve but adds several model-specific touches like those sumptuous red leather seats. The Signature trim sits at the top of the 6 range and adds a surround-view monitor, parking sensors front and rear, and traffic sign recognition. All models come with a rearview camera, active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, city braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

All models are equipped with an eight-inch full-color touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Above the Touring, Apple CarPlay is wireless. Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and compatibility with Aha/Pandora/Stitcher are also standard across the range. All models have a USB audio input but the base Sport misses out on USB charging ports at the back. Navigation is only unlocked on the top-tier Signature model.

A six-speaker sound system is standard on Sport and Touring models, while an 11-speaker Bose sound system is standard from the Grand Touring upwards.

Mazda 6 Sedan Problems and Reliability

The last recall for the Mazda 6 was in 2019, where a software error could cause the engine to stall. It has been recall-free since then, underscoring Mazda's reputation for excellent reliability. Also, because the 6 sedan has been on sale for some time, Mazda has had a lot of time to iron out the kinks.

As standard, the new Mazda 6 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Safety Review of Mazda 6 Model Lineup

Thanks to a wide assortment of active and passive safety features, the 6 fared exceptionally well in crash tests. In the NHTSA's review of the Mazda 6, it attained the full five-star overall rating, while the IIHS gave the 2021 model a Top Safety Pick+ award. There are no restrictions on this award, and it applies to the entire lineup. These Mazda 6 ratings make the sedan a safe place to be in the unfortunate event of an accident.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

On the traditional side, the Mazda 6 comes with six airbags, ABS, EBD, traction and stability control, and a rearview camera. Mazda is also extremely generous when it comes to driver-assistance features. Active cruise control with stop and go, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning are standard across the range. The Signature model adds a surround-view camera, parking sensors front and rear, and traffic sign recognition. Both the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a color head-up display.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan a good car?

Unlike most reviews, the Mazda 6 is a terrible car to write about because it does everything so well. It really takes a nit-picking approach to uncover flaws in what is a great overall package. Here's what we came up with. The infotainment system is a bit dated, but not annoyingly so. The trunk isn't as big as some of its rivals, yet 14.7 cubes is perfectly ample. And yes, the ride is firm, but it doesn't spoil the driving experience. In fact, the occasional bump that filters through is a small price to pay for the overall pleasing driving experience.

The Mazda 6 is nearing the end of its life, yet it still remains competitive against more modern rivals like the Honda Accord. It could have soldiered on for at least another three years. Yes, the Mazda 6 is a good car. It might even be brilliant and perfectly suited to the right customer. Let's say you used to have a hot hatch, but recent additions are forcing you to upgrade to something a little more family-friendly. Instead of opting for a sedate, uninspiring SUV, why not get a sedan with some sporty aspirations?

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan?

The price of the Mazda 6 begins at $24,475 for the Sport, increasing to an MSRP of $27,075 for the Touring specification. From there, the Grand Touring will cost you $30,175 and the Grand Touring Reserve has a $32,675 sticker price. The Carbon Edition retails for $32,950, while the top-spec Signature starts at $35,900. These prices exclude the $995 destination charge in the US.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Models

There are six models in the Mazda 6 sedan range: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, Carbon Edition, and Signature. Sport and Touring models are equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while the turbocharged engine powers the remaining models. A six-speed automatic transmission and FWD are standard across the range, with no AWD configurations on offer. Standard safety features include active cruise control with stop and go, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning.

The base Sport model is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, six-way manually adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system coupled to a six-speaker sound system.

The Touring model adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a more advanced keyless entry system, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and a power moonroof.

Grand Touring specification adds auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted paddles, and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound system.

Next is the more luxurious Grand Touring Reserve. It comes with a color head-up display, power adjustment for both front seats and driver-seat memory, ventilated front seats, and heated rear outboard seats.

The all-new Carbon Edition is essentially one last hurrah for the Mazda 6. It gets several model-specific touches, including a gloss black rear lip spoiler, 19-inch black alloy wheels, Polymetal Gray paint, and red leather seats.

The range-topping Signature trim adds a surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror.

See All 2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Mazda doesn't really do packages, primarily because of a wide selection of models and almost all of the driver-assistance features being standard. There are a few standalone options available, though. An SD card navigation system is available for $400, and a rear lip spoiler costs $350. The only worthwhile addition we can see is rear parking sensors, adding $500 to the price of Mazda 6 models not already equipped with this feature.

🚗What New Mazda 6 Sedan Model Should I Buy?

Now in its final year, Mazda introduced the ultimate 6. The Carbon Edition has all of the features you want, and adds a few nice model-specific touches. It's based on our previous model recommendation, which is the Grand Touring Reserve. Its list of standard equipment includes auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted paddles, an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound system, a color head-up display, power adjustment for front seats, ventilated front seats, and heated front and rear outboard seats.

The Carbon Edition's special touches include a gloss black grille, 19-inch black alloy wheels, and a Polymetal Gray Metallic hue. The contrast between the body color and the wheels is superb. On the inside, you get red leather seats, giving the interior a much racier vibe. With its sporty aesthetics and the turbocharged engine, this model is a genuinely sporty midsize sedan.

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Comparisons

Honda Accord Honda
Mazda 3 Sedan CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mazda 6 Sedan187 hp26/35 mpg$24,475
Honda Accord 192 hp30/38 mpg$24,970
Mazda 3 Sedan 186 hp26/35 mpg$21,500

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan vs Honda Accord

Honda's Accord is newer and more modern than the Mazda 6. This is a big problem for Mazda because Honda is ahead in most departments that matter to customers shopping around in this segment. The Accord is available with two turbocharged engines. The smaller 1.5-liter unit competes with the naturally aspirated 6, while the 2.0-liter turbo goes head-to-head with Mazda's turbocharged four-pot. Both Accord models are faster and more fuel-efficient. Honda also offers a hybrid model for those in search of ultimate frugality. As driving machines, both are entertaining. Top-spec Accord models also boast adaptive damping. The Mazda is at least better in two departments. It has a plusher interior and it's arguably better looking, though we acknowledge that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Neither car is bad, but the Honda is in the lead in all the right places.

See Honda Accord Review

2021 Mazda 6 Sedan vs Mazda 3 Sedan

In previous years, the Mazda 3 was only available with two naturally aspirated engines, but this year, it can also be ordered with the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-pot engine. Essentially, you're getting the same premium looks in a more compact package, brilliant handling characteristics, and a more affordable price. Sure, you'll have to sacrifice some interior and trunk space, but not as much as you might think. Interior quality is on par with the 6, but you do miss out on a touchscreen interface, climate control, blind-spot monitoring, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

So, the only question you have to ask yourself is whether you need the additional space and features included in the 6. If not, a top-spec Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus will cost more or less the same as a mid-spec 6.

See Mazda 3 Sedan Review

Mazda 6 Sedan Popular Comparisons

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2021 Mazda 6 Sedan Video Review

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$24,475 - $35,900
Price Range (MSRP)
Mazda 6 Sedan
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