What it is: The Mazda6 in its current form was introduced as a 2013 model and received a heavy refresh for the 2018 model year: new fascias, wheel designs, redesigned interior, and some shifting around of the various trim levels.
My test model was the top-of-the-line Signature trim, which really raises the bar for mid-size family sedans. It does also raise the MSRP bar, with my test model coming in at $36,045. You are talking German luxury sedans at that price point, but I do think that the Mazda6 delivers the goods.
One of the best things about Mazda vehicles is how fun they are to drive, the steering that is fully alive and suspensions that do a great job balancing between comfort and sport. The higher-trim Mazda6 gets a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates a hefty 250 horsepower. The engine is great and provides lots of fun, but delivers good gas mileage when you keep your foot off of the pedal.
The interior looks and feels very premium. The Signature trim comes standard with Nappa leather in your choice of either Deep Chestnut or Parchment colors. Wood door and dashboard inserts pair with suede and a black headliner to give an ultra-lux feel to the interior.
My one (slight) annoyance was the implementation of Android Audio/Apple CarPlay. The 7-inch infotainment screen looks great, but it’s not a touch screen, so you have to use a wheel-shaped joystick by the cup holders between the front seats. The implementation is clunky and while you may get used to it, I found it grating in my week with the car.
Some other Signature trim features include adaptive LED headlights and heated front and rear seats with ventilation in the front. Smart safety features, like lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking are welcomed and included on the upper trims.
Mazda also has some of the best paint choices available and my test model was painted with Snowflake White ($200 extra), which was stunning. I’m still a sucker for their laser red metallic paint, but the incredible paint is one of the best things about the modern Mazda vehicles.
MPG: 26 combined/23 city/31 highway
Price: $34,750 for Signature. $36,045 with options and destination.
Upsides: Beautiful interior and exterior. Good warranty. Fun to drive.
Wrap-up: Even 10 years ago, most drivers considering a luxury car would not have considered a Mazda, but times have changed. Mazda is happy to sell you a base Mazda6 which has an MSRP in the very low 20s, but now you have some wonderful choices. If you had told me that this was the interior of a $60,000 Jaguar, I would have believed you. For a comparable Lexus or Audi or BMW, you are looking at $5-8,000 more, so if you aren’t dedicated to a certain badge on the front of your car, then head to your local Mazda dealer to be surprised for yourself how far the Mazda6 has come.