2012 Mazda MAZDA6 Performance

8.0
Performance

You shouldn't have any reservations about sticking with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that Mazda6 'i' (including base SV, Sport, and Touring) models get. It's reasonably fuel-efficient (not nearly as much as class leaders like the Hyundai Sonata though), and it feels perky whether you go with the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.

Step up to the V-6, however, and you might not be able to go back; the 3.7-liter engine churns out 272 hp, along with plenty of accessible low-rpm torque, making the Mazda6 feel like a muscle-sedan. It's a hoot to drive, but it's also quite a bit thirstier. No matter what, you get nice capable brakes with a firm pedal feel, reasonably good, athletic handling, and a ride that straddles the line pretty well between comfort and sharpness.

The 2012 Mazda Mazda6 is simply more engaging and fun to drive compared to other mid-size sedans with comparable specs.

Those expecting a serious sport sedan, or moving up from a Mazda3, might want things even tighter though; the current 6—especially in V-6 form—can feel a little too heavy and isolated.

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