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 Unfortunately, Mazda's engine offerings have grown outdated over the last few years.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.
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The six-speed gearbox might seem outdated in a world where eight, nine, and ten-speed 'boxes are the norm, but if it works… While the naturally-aspirated four-pot is more than up to the task of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.
|Mazda 6 Sedan Trims||Mazda 6 Sedan Engines||Mazda 6 Sedan Horsepower||Mazda 6 Sedan Transmissions||Mazda 6 Sedan Drivetrains||Mazda 6 Sedan MPG/MPGE|
|Sport||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||187 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||29 MPG|
|Touring||2.5L Inline-4 Gas||187 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||29 MPG|
|Grand Touring||2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||227 hp @ 5000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||26 MPG|
|Grand Touring Reserve||2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||227 hp @ 5000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||26 MPG|
|Carbon Edition||2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||227 hp @ 5000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||26 MPG|
|Signature||2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||227 hp @ 5000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||26 MPG|
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.
|Mazda 6 Sedan Trims||Sport||Touring||Grand Touring||Grand Touring Reserve||Carbon Edition||Signature|
|Mazda 6 Sedan Tank size||14.7 gal.||14.7 gal.||14.7 gal.||14.7 gal.||14.7 gal.||14.7 gal.|
|Mazda 6 Sedan Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||26/35||26/35||23/31||23/31||23/31||23/31|