2021 Mazda 6

By January 6, 2021

The 2021 Mazda 6 is a head-turning sedan with sharp handling, superb safety scores, nimble handling, and a firm but absorbent ride. For 2021, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility become standard equipment, while CarPlay is wireless on the top models. Also new for 2021 is a model called the Carbon Edition, with dark wheels and special paint.

The base engine is a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The available upgrade engine is substantially sportier and more satisfying, a turbo-4 making 227 hp. The Mazda 6 is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is surprisingly unavailable.

The EPA rates the Mazda 6 at 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined. With the turbo-4 engine, the gas mileage dips to 23/31/26 mpg.

The NHTSA gives it five stars overall in safety, while the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick+.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. The top models add a head-up display and surround-view camera system.

Model Lineup

The Mazda 6 comes in six models: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, Signature, and the new Black Edition.

The $25,270 Mazda 6 Sport comes with fabric upholstery, keyless start, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and 17-inch wheels.

The $27,870 Touring adds synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, power sunroof, and 19-inch wheels.

The Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and new Carbon Edition add paddle shifters, a head-up display, leather upholstery, and power front seats with heating and cooling.

The $36,695 Mazda 6 Signature adds nappa leather, wood trim, wireless Apple CarPlay, navigation, and a surround-view camera system.

All Mazdas have a warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles.

Exterior

With its sharp and sleek profile, its gentle and sensuous curves, the 2021 Mazda 6 is one of the best-looking cars on the road. There are few straight lines, as the body looks toned without being muscular.

It has a wide slim grille that tapers and hangs just so, pinned in place by thin headlights. Strong character lines on its flanks lead to a high, tapered rear end that looks good from every angle.

Interior

The handsome interior takes simple elegant shapes and dresses them in fine materials, with just the right amount of detail. The Signature model feels like a luxury car with its nappa leather, wood trim and suede door panels, but even the base Sport has materials nicer than the average mid-size sedan.

We spent six straight hours in the front seats, and they remained comfortable. We didn’t have any passengers in the rear, who might have been less comfortable, as the seat is somewhat slim.

There is a good 38.7 inches of leg room, but the sleek roofline steals a bit of head room.

The rear seats fold down to increase cargo space into the trunk, which is 14.7 cubic feet, about average for a mid-size four-door sedan.

Unlike most Mazdas, the 8.0-inch infotainment screen is actually a touchscreen, so you don’t have to use the click-wheel interface.

Driving Impressions

The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 making 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic. It isn’t very quick, and when it’s pushed, it’s noisier than we’re used to from Mazda’s refined cars.

The 2.5-liter turbo-4 engine, with its 227 hp, is swift and pleasant, with strong power in those situations that the chassis invites.

It’s really the Mazda 6’s handling and ride that star here. The 6 successfully compensates for its lack of all-wheel drive by using electronic torque vectoring to maintain the grip and direction of the front wheels in corners. Meanwhile the ride is acceptably firm; it’s responsive and composed in its driving environment, and doesn’t turn brittle when the road gets sloppy. It’s on the top rung of performance for a family sedan.

Final Word

The 2021 Mazda 6 has some of the best looks and road manners in the mid-size family-sedan segment. The base engine’s fine for most drivers, and all 6 sedans have superb ride and handling—but the turbo brings it alive.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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