2020 Mazda Mazda6

Performance


#4 out of 10 in Midsize Cars

MSRP
$24,100
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mazda Mazda6 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2020 Mazda6 outshines its rivals with a smooth ride and nimble handling. Its available turbocharged engine adds even more zest to the drive.

  • "The Mazda 6 is the performance machine of the usually ho-hum midsize sedan segment. Superb steering, a responsive chassis and a willing engine mean this is a car for people who actually like to drive." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "The Mazda6 provides a sporty alternative to the conventional humdrum midsized sedan. A coupe-like silhouette stands out with eye-catching looks. You probably won't be bored driving the car, either. Quick, responsive steering contributes to agile handling." -- Consumer Reports (2018)

Acceleration and Power

You have a choice of two engines in this Mazda. The Sport and Touring trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 187 horsepower. The other three trims have a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes either 227 or 250 horsepower, depending on the octane level you pump into the fuel tank. Regardless of the engine you choose, a six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

The base engine is capable in most driving situations, but you'll have to keep the engine at higher rpms when climbing steep grades. The available turbocharged option makes for quicker acceleration. The transmission is responsive, regardless of the engine it's paired with.  

According to EPA estimates, this vehicle gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which is about average for a midsize car. A model with the turbocharged engine gets lower ratings of 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

  • "The standard 184-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is powerful enough for most people, but the 250-horsepower turbocharged alternative gives the Mazda6 greater acceleration and passing power. The 6-speed automatic transmission has fewer gears than many rivals, but it’s responsive and well-matched to both engines. The inclusion of a Sport mode is another plus." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • The turbocharged engine has enough motivation to pass slowpokes easily enough during freeway driving, [but] it isn’t something that you’re going to throw into the curves and send chills up your spine." -- Jalopnik (2019)
  • … the gap between the two engine choices readily makes itself apparent. The 187 horses in the Touring trim I sampled got the job done in almost every situation, but required prolonged runs at 4,000 rpm in order to summit the frequent long uphill stretches of 2-lane road that I encountered, filling the cabin with a distinct aural indication of the workout occurring under the hood. Conversely … the turbo-four was a willing co-conspirator with each passing maneuver, and felt significantly more buttoned-down as the speedometer swept past 70 mph. It also came across as a better match for the automatic transmission's 6-pack of ratios, never confusing the wrong gear for the right one during my afternoon behind the wheel." -- New York Daily News (2018)

Ride and Handling

The Mazda6 lives up to the company’s reputation for athletic performance. It eagerly zips around corners, and its steering feels well-weighted. At the same time, this sedan provides a gentle ride, and few road disruptions translate to the cabin. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • "The Mazda 6 offers above-average driving satisfaction for a family sedan, with a fluidity to its controls and handling that is uncommon at any price. And Mazda manages to provide the thrills without sacrificing refinement or ride quality." -- Car and Driver
  • "Every contemporary Mazda has some degree of driving fun and many have plenty. The Mazda6 balances high levels of engagement with a family-friendly ride quality. The steering is one of our favorites in this class, with the right amount of assistance and plenty of feel. The G-Vectoring Control Plus system … makes subtle adjustments of engine power and braking to make everything smoother. It also helps during sudden lane changes and other evasive moves." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Few cars in this class give this kind of steering feel or handling poise. The Mazda 6 feels glued to the road and it relishes corners. It's responsive to driver inputs and doesn't just plow the front end through turns as most rivals do." -- Edmunds (2018)
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2020 Mazda Mazda6

MSRP: $24,100 - $35,400

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