A week with a Mazda is always a great week. They’re stylish, fun to drive and their near-luxury interior sets a bar for their class. All of that is certainly true for Mazda’s flagship sedan, the Mazda6, a sedan that succeeds in being both refined and sporty at the same time. That’s especially true when you’re talking about the range-topping Signature trim.
As one of the best-looking sedans in its class, I have to say Machine Gray Metallic ($300) really does its sleek, flowing design justice. Up front, LED headlights with adaptive front lighting flank the Signature’s gun metal gray grille.
In back, you’ll find LED daytime running lights and combo tail lights along with a rear decklid spoiler, dual exhaust with chrome tips and a new Signature badge on the trunk. The top is treated to a roof-mounted shark-fin antenna and power moonroof. It’s all riding on 19-inch aluminum alloys with a bright silver finish.
Mazda’s impressed us for a while now with its near-premium quality interiors and the 5-passenger Signature certainly does so with its ultrasuede door and dashboard trim with Japanese Sen wood inserts and Parchment Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery. It’s well laid out and designed with a lot of attention to detail.
The heated and ventilated front seats look great and are comfortable while being on the firmer side. The 8-way driver’s seat comes with power lumbar support and two-position driver memory. The passenger’s seat is 6-way power. A heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel hosts paddle shifters. The glossy black console is home to a leather-wrapped gear shifter, drive mode selector, electronic parking brake and auto brake hold.
While the Mazda6 has many strengths, technology is not currently among them. It really needs to up its game to stay competitive. I’m hoping for a fully digital gauge cluster for the Mazda6 redesign expected in 2022. But for now, a digital driver display is limited to the center of the speedometer, similar to what you see in the 2019 Mazda3 and the CX30.
An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen hosts Mazda Connect with a rotary controller on the center console. The system supports standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but overall the graphics could use an update. While maps also look slightly outdated, they’re not terribly offending and can go full-screen. However, I was not expecting the fuzzy resolution of the backup camera. Certainly the Mazda6 deserves better. In terms of audio, the top three trims deliver a great sounding 11-speaker Bose sound system.
The dual-zone climate Mazda6 felt roomy in both rows and you’ll get four cup holders, four bottle holders, front seatback pockets, carpeted floor mats and a 60/40 rear seat split along with a remote trunk release that opens up to plenty of cargo space. A cool drop down center armrest in back opens to reveal a tray area with 2 USB ports. (There are also 2 USBs up front.)
Ride and Drive
If you’re a driving enthusiast, the Mazda6’s front-wheel drive sporty driving dynamics will impress you the most. There is a distinct difference, too, when you switch into sport mode, which recalibrates the gear ratios for more spirited driving. Paddle shifters aren’t just for looks either, they really enhance the driving experience.
Handling is tight thanks to standard G-Vectoring Control Plus which helps with cornering. Upgraded larger front ventilated brakes (in Touring and above trims) are confident and sharp. I’m test driving the 2.5T SkyActiv G 4-Cylinder engine that delivers 227-horsepower and an impressive 310 lb-ft of torque (250-horsepower using premium.) It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Note, expect big changes to the overhauled 2022 Mazda6 as it will reportedly be built on a rear-wheel drive platform.
Standard iActive Safety features across the Mazda6 lineup include:
- Rearview Camera
- Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Advanced Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian detection
- Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go
- Lane-Keep Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- High Beam Control
Added safety features on the Signature trim include a 360º View Monitor, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive front-lighting and a full color active driving display.
What You’ll Pay
My test model is pretty loaded from the get-go with only $400 in options: a $100 carpeted cargo mat and $300 for the special metallic paint. It stickers for $36,620 with destination and handling. For the price, an updated gauge cluster with more digital elements is on my wish list. For instance, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata hybrid I reviewed recently offers a terrific fully digital driver display for the same ballpark price.
The Mazda6 is certainly a segment leader for its great style, terrific driving dynamics and refined interiors for its class, but the Mazda6 will need some technology updates in near future to keep it competitive at this price point.
2020 Mazda6 Signature
- What I liked most: Exterior looks, quality interior and sporty driving dynamics.
- What I would change: Update the technology, backup camera.
- MSRP: Base price $35,300 as equipped, $36,620.
- Official color: Machine Gray Metallic ($300).
- Fuel economy: 23 city/31 highway/26 mpg combined with filler on the driver’s side.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,746 miles.
- Spare tire: Temporary Spare.
- Weight: 3,580 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 192.7 inches long/ 72.4 inches wide/57.1 inches tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 16.4 gallons.
- Towing capacity: N/A.
- Mazda6 in a few words: An all-around worthy mid-size sedan that’s a leader in its segment for a reason.
- Warranty: 60/month 60K mile powertrain, 36/month 36K bumper to bumper, 24-hour roadside assistance
- Final assembly location: Hofu, Japan.
- Manufacturer’s website: Mazda