2011 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda6 is one of the most appealing midsize sedans on the market, particularly to drivers who enjoy spirited handling and performance. It looks great, with sporty styling suggestive of a coupe. Inside is a nice cabin with lots of convenience features. There's plenty of room for four adults, and it seats five. And despite the swoopy looks, its has a big trunk. It checks all the boxes as a practical midsize sedan.
But what we like most about the Mazda 6 is its driving dynamics. Underway, it delivers sparkling performance, offering a terrific driving experience among the midsize sedans. The Mazda6 delivers good fuel economy, which has been further improved for 2011. It's also attractively priced.
The 2011 Mazda 6 brings styling revisions and interior upgrades. Changes to the Mazda6 for 2011 include new headlights and fog lights, new folding mirrors with turn signals, new cloth upholstery material, a new steering wheel, and new 17-inch alloy wheels. The Mazda6 Touring model gets Bluetooth, and the Mazda6 Grand Touring gets a multi-information display with rearview camera. Navigation with voice activation has been upgraded for 2011, with a 7-inch touch-screen and rearview camera available for the Mazda6 Grand Touring model.
The 2011 Mazda6 gets better fuel economy from both of its available engines than the 2010 versions did. The Mazda6 was completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2009 model year. Mazda 6i models come with 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, Mazda 6s versions get the 3.7-liter V6.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder has 170 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque and is EPA-rated at 21 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway with the 6-speed manual transmission, 22/31 mpg with the 5-speed automatic. That's an increase of 1 mpg over 2010.
The 3.7-liter V6 makes 272 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, delivers extraordinary performance, and is EPA-rated at 18/27 mpg, a 1.5-mpg increase over 2010. We found it a delight to drive, with a 6-speed automatic mated to the most powerful V6 in the class.
Mazda6 competes against an impressive group of midsize sedans. Among them: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima. Those who fully enjoy and appreciate the driving experience may find the Mazda6 the most compelling. Competitive pricing may seal the deal.
Mazda 6i Sport ($19,990) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt/telescope steering wheel, 60/40 folding rear seat, six-speaker sound system, keyless remote entry, cruise control, and steering wheel mounted controls. The 6-speed manual gearbox that comes standard is a close-ratio, new for 2011. A 5-speed automatic ($20,990) is also available.
Mazda 6i Touring ($22,635) comes only with the automatic transmission, and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, eight-way power driver's seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, center console sliding armrest, trip computer, in-dash 6CD changer, premium trim, and Bluetooth. The Mazda 6i Touring Plus ($24,240) adds a power moonroof, ground illumination, electroluminescent gauges, anti-theft system, and Blind Spot Monitoring System.
Mazda 6i Grand Touring ($26,820) upgrades with leather seats (heated in front), dual-zone climate control, welcome lighting, Bose sound system, and multi-information display with rearview camera. Options for Grand Touring include a navigation system ($2,000), and the Technology Package ($1,785), which adds automatic headlamps, advanced keyless entry, push-button start, auto-dimming and heated exterior mirrors, auto-dimming interior mirror, Homelink universal garage-door opener, Sirius Satellite Radio, Multi-information Display, xenon headlamps, LED rear combination lights, driver's-seat memory, power passenger seat, and rain-sensing wipers.
Mazda 6s has the 3.7-liter V6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and chrome dual-exhaust outlets. It's available with the Touring Plus or Grand Touring trim levels, which are equipped similarly to the i models, although the s Grand Touring gets 18-inch alloy wheels.
Safety features include front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control and ABS. The Blind Spot Monitoring System is standard on Touring Plus and Grand Touring models.