2010 Mazda MAZDA6 Review

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The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 3, 2009

The 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is the choice for driving enthusiasts who are also compelled to make a practical, family-friendly selection.

In order to bring you one of the best, most comprehensive reviews on the Web for the 2010 Mazda Mazda6, TheCarConnection.com has driven this sporty sedan in both its four-cylinder and V-6 variants, then read competitive write-ups from a range of other review sources. Altogether, we'll help you make the right purchase decision.

The Mazda6 was completely redesigned last year, becoming significantly larger and more refined, with a more powerful V-6 option. This new Mazda6 was designed expressly for the North American market, and it continues for 2010 unchanged.

Even though the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is now about as large as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, it appears leaner and more purposeful. It's attractive from any angle, but the sculpted front fenders and broad wheel arches give it an especially aggressive look from the front. There's a clear family resemblance to the high-performance Mazda RX-8 and the Mazda3, though the 3's front-end styling is more controversial. Inside, the Mazda6 has flowing lines and a sporty feel throughout, with hooded instruments and a smaller-size three-spoke steering wheel. White-on-black instrumentation is standard on the Mazda6 Sport, while red-on-black gauge faces are used on Touring and Grand Touring editions.

The 2010 Mazda6 is offered in "i" and "s" variations. Models with an "i" (base SV, Sport, and Touring) get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower. It's the most economical choice and actually feels quite peppy with either the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission—if you haven't driven the V-6. With 272 horsepower, Mazda doesn't mess around this time, bringing a big 3.7-liter V-6 as the top-of-the-line Mazda6 engine. It churns out the torque and makes the Mazda6 feel like a muscle car from a standing start. Gas mileage isn't great, at 17 mpg city, 25 highway, but it uses regular, not premium, and it's a hoot to drive. Ratings are much better with the four-cylinder, up to 21/30 mpg, but that's not as good as most other equivalent sedans in this class.

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The Mazda6 is, for all practical purposes, as large as a Toyota Camry inside, with a backseat that now has plenty of space for adults and a trunk that’s actually the largest in its class at 16.6 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks can also be folded forward to dramatically increase cargo space; however, there are no releases within easy reach of the trunk—you’ll need to climb around.

Materials in the 2010 Mazda6 echo those used on other newer Mazda models like the fashionable Mazda3 and the more luxurious CX-9 utility vehicle—that’s to say, very tasteful and stylish, with a look and feel that’s not opulent, but sporty and upscale. The standard cloth upholstery feels sturdy yet comfortable, while the available leather will help satisfy luxury cravings to a degree. About the only complaint involves the electroluminescent gauges included on uplevel models; on brighter days they prove hard to read.

The safety assessment of the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is mostly positive. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Mazda6 has "good" frontal impact protection, yet this mid-size sedan scores a low "marginal" in the seat-based rear-impact test—indicating a higher-than-normal chance of whiplash or neck injuries. Yet the Mazda6 is awarded top five-star scores across the board from the federal government. Front side airbags, side-curtain bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and dynamic stability control are all standard, as they are among most mid-size sedans. Mazda's blind-spot monitoring system is available too.

Mazda positions the Mazda6 to take on all the best-selling mid-size sedans, such as the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima; like those models, the 6 covers a wide range in terms of pricing and equipment. A base SV stickers for less than $20,000, while a loaded "s" Grand Touring rings in at more than $33,000. All the requisite options are available: push-button start, an audio system with satellite radio and a built-in hard drive, a navigation system, rain-sensing wipers, and a Bluetooth interface. But if you want those features, it can get pricey; the nav system is only available on top Grand Touring models, and Bluetooth is only for those who splurge on the Touring Plus or Grand Touring.

9

2010 Mazda MAZDA6

Styling

Inside and out, the styling of the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is a hit.

Last year brought an all-new Mazda6; significantly larger than the one it replaces, this version appears lean and purposeful despite being relatively the same size as cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It's attractive from any angle, but the sculpted front fenders and broad wheel arches give it an especially aggressive look from the front.

There aren't many visual differences between the several trims of the 2010 Mazda Mazda6. Cars.com lists the few variations as either "16-inch steel wheels with full covers (standard on SV-I and Sport-i)" versus 17- or 18-inch "alloy wheels" on the more upscale trims, along with "LED taillamps" for the Grand Touring models and "dual exhaust outlets" for the V-6s. For the 2009 Mazda Mazda6, ConsumerGuide states that "four trim levels are available: SV, Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring," while an "i" or "s" suffix denotes either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine under the hood, respectively.

Nearly every reviewer has something positive to say about the Mazda6 exterior. Cars.com describes the Mazda6 Mazda as having "a long hood with pronounced front fender flares that flow through the headlamps and mold with the front bumper." Motor Trend reviewers are impressed and feel that the Mazda Mazda6 has "a far more compelling presence than the outgoing iteration," thanks to "a sleeker profile, while expanded width and track dimensions impart a more aggressive stance." Automobile Magazine says that, "when viewed from behind, its clean design and twin sculpted exhaust diffusers (on V-6 models) are pure Lexus," and they appreciate that "its curvaceous body panels look elegant and aren't ruined by any fussy details." AutoWeek adds that the Mazda Mazda6 looks "nicely distinctive" and "certainly more stylish than the big sellers in the field."

The Mazda6 lineup is relatively limited, with only one body style. While the Mazda6 had come as a wagon and hatchback in its previous generation, Car and Driver reports there is "only the four-door sedan."

Inside, the Mazda6 has flowing lines and a sporty feel throughout, with hooded instruments and a smaller-size three-spoke steering wheel.

The interior of the 2009 Mazda Mazda6 gets lots of love from reviewers as well, and for good reason. Generally speaking, Road & Track reviewers gush about the "refined interior," while Automobile Magazine feels that "the interior is more elegantly designed" than any of those found on its competitors.

Taking a closer look at the instrument panel, ConsumerGuide appreciates that "all the gauges and controls are logically placed and easy to read," and they note the "large, stylized gauges behind the steering wheel blend form and function well." Cars.com finds more to love about the Mazda Mazda6's interior and says "the new rounded instruments and a three-spoke steering wheel integrate nicely into the T-shaped instrument panel." Motor Trend chimes in that "a 'cockpit' motif carries over up front," and "the dash and center stack show a clear Mazda imprint, with conventional analog gauges replaced by electroluminescent units in the top two trim grades."

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9

2010 Mazda MAZDA6

Performance

With any of its powertrain combinations, 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is more of a driver’s car than most mid-size sedans, but its fuel economy is middle-of-the-road.

In the 2010 Mazda6, Mazda offers the choice of a fuel-efficient but peppy four-cylinder or one of the most powerful V-6 engines in its segment. Altogether, it delivers athletic handling and a surprisingly accommodating ride.

Whether you choose the base 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or the 272-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, reviewers have good things to say. Car and Driver states Mazda offers "2.5 liters and 170 horsepower" and a more potent "60-degree, 3.7-liter V-6 of 272 horsepower." ConsumerGuide reports that "the 4-cylinder is peppy from a stop and adequate during highway passing maneuvers," and the only situation where they long for more power is "on long hill climbs." Motor Trend describes the 2.5-liter engine as "smooth and free-revving," calling it "impressive in its own right." The available V-6 on the Mazda6 Mazda offers an expected performance boost. The V-6 has enough power to easily "light up the front tires at half-throttle off the line," remarks Automobile Magazine.

Two transmission choices are offered on the 2009 Mazda Mazda6, at least with the four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder gets a standard six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, while the V-6 only offers a six-speed automatic.

The automatic transmissions earn rave reviews, with Automobile Magazine extolling the "perfectly smooth, rev-matched downshifts and quick, well-timed upshifts." ConsumerGuide adds that "both automatics are smooth and responsive."

As for the manual gearbox on the four-cylinder model, Car and Driver reports that it’s "paired with smooth accelerator gain and a well-coordinated shifter," while AutoWeek reviewers "fancied the four-cylinder manual model" as well, claiming that "the manual transmission allowed [them] to get the most out of the chassis."

Gas mileage isn't great, at 17 mpg city, 25 highway, but it uses regular, not premium, and it's a hoot to drive. Ratings are much better with the four-cylinder, up to 21/30 mpg, but that's not as good as most other four-cylinder sedans in this class. Road & Track calls the four-cylinder numbers "very respectable," however. The bigger and more powerful V-6 gets decidedly worse fuel economy numbers, which the EPA pegs at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway, but Road & Track points out that "both the 4- and 6-cylinder engines run on lower-cost regular unleaded gasoline."

In keeping with Mazda’s "zoom-zoom" image, the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 delivers responsive handling and is very capable of navigating twisty roads, no matter which model you choose. Car and Driver says that the steering feel is "light and alive, yet it grooves in on straight-ahead when the path calls for it." ConsumerGuide reports that "steering is on center and reactive," while "close quarters maneuverability is aided by a relatively tight turning circle."

Between the two engine choices, Automobile Magazine declares that the four-cylinder is "without question" the better handling option, since "the lighter engine gives the four-pot 6 balance unlike any other large front-wheel-drive car." One of the most impressive features of the Mazda Mazda6 is that it achieves its performance without sacrificing ride quality, and ConsumerGuide says "the ride is absorbent over nearly every surface, particularly on four-cylinder models." Regarding brakes, "slack has been zeroed out of brake-pedal motion," notes Car and Driver.

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9

2010 Mazda MAZDA6

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is a very spacious, refined, and well-built sedan, offering little if anything to complain about.

The Mazda6 is a roomy car now. For all practical purposes, it’s as large as a Toyota Camry inside, with a backseat that has plenty of space for adults and a trunk that’s actually the biggest in its class at 16.6 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks can also be folded forward to dramatically increase cargo space; however, there are no releases within easy reach of the trunk—you’ll need to climb around.

Motor Trend reports that the available "head and legroom" allow "two full-size-adults—or three in a pinch—to travel in real comfort." Road & Track also appreciates the increased volume, stating that the Mazda Mazda6 features a "6-percent-larger passenger compartment, making it the new class leader." Automobile Magazine contends that "whereas the last 6 was at the bottom of its class in interior space, the new one is at the top." In the front seats, ConsumerGuide says there is "ample headroom and legroom for average sized" drivers, while the "6's standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel is a plus" and makes it much easier to find a comfortable driving position.

The trunk of the 2010 Mazda6 is, according to the numbers, the largest in its class, and it’s a very usable shape. Cars.com notes that its 16.6 cubic-foot capacity is "slightly larger than that of the Malibu and Accord." Cars.com further mentions that "all trim levels get 60/40-split folding rear seats with remote capability," but ConsumerGuide finds that those seats are "difficult to fold."

Interior storage also receives a boost with last year’s redesign. ConsumerGuide says that the Mazda Mazda6 "has decent small items storage space including a large glovebox and deep, two-tier center console," but they're disappointed that "there are no rear door pockets."

Materials in the 2010 Mazda6 echo those used on other newer Mazda models like the fashionable Mazda3 and the more luxurious CX-9 utility vehicle—that’s to say, very tasteful and stylish, with a look and feel that’s not opulent, but sporty and upscale. The standard cloth upholstery feels sturdy yet comfortable, while the available leather will help satisfy luxury cravings to a degree. About the only complaint involves the electroluminescent gauges included on uplevel models; on brighter days, they prove hard to read.

Motor Trend appreciates the "inviting balance of textured plastic to soft-touch surfaces," which is "tastefully accented by bright and matte metallic trim." Car and Driver raves about the "excellent graining on the dash and dour panels, finished with a perfect satin sheen," and Automobile Magazine feels that the interior is "of equal or better quality than Mazda's main competitors."

In terms of build quality, AutoWeek reviewers report that the new Mazda Mazda6 "felt solid and looked fit and trim both inside and out."

Road and wind noise are commendably low in the Mazda6; to those who owned or drove the previous-generation 6 that was sold through 2007, it’s a big improvement. ConsumerGuide is pleasantly surprised to find that "the 4-cylinder is nearly silent at cruise," although the "V6's buzz is borderline intrusive during acceleration." Car and Driver also reports that "noises, both road and wind, are dialed way back."

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8

2010 Mazda MAZDA6

Safety

Crash-test results for the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 aren’t the best in class, but combined with some excellent accident-avoidance features, it’s a very safe sedan.

Most—though not all—indications point to a very high level of safety in the 2010 Mazda Mazda6.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Mazda6 has "good" frontal impact protection, yet this mid-size sedan scores a low "marginal" in the seat-based rear-impact test—indicating a higher-than-normal chance of whiplash or neck injuries. The one concerning part of the IIHS results is their contention that "forces on the right tibia indicate that injuries to the lower leg would be possible." However, it receives top five-star scores across the board from the federal government.

Front side airbags, side-curtain bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and dynamic stability control are all standard, as they are among most mid-size sedans. Mazda's blind-spot monitoring system is available too. The 2010 Mazda Mazda6 also features several electronic safety aids. Cars.com mentions the blind-spot monitoring system that is optional on Touring models and standard on the Grand Touring versions, including "dynamic stability control on all models," according to AutoWeek. And in a nod to those who frequent more crime-ridden areas, Cars.com notes that the Mazda Mazda6 includes a "standard smart key that immobilizes the engine in a theft attempt."

Overall, the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 might be quite a bit better at avoiding accidents than some other mid-size sedans. Good visibility helps the 6 feel like "a full size smaller than it is once you're moving," according to Automobile Magazine. Reviewers at ConsumerGuide point out the "wide C-pillars somewhat impede visibility to the rear corners," but the blind-spot system should help with that.

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8

2010 Mazda MAZDA6

Features

The 2010 Mazda Mazda6 is available with nearly all the features you might want in a mid-size sedan, but some of them, like Bluetooth, are only offered on top trims.

Mazda positions the Mazda6 to take on all the best-selling mid-size sedans, such as the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima; like those models, the 6 covers a wide range in terms of pricing and equipment. A base SV stickers for less than $20,000, while a loaded "s" Grand Touring rings in at more than $33,000.

ConsumerGuide reports that every 2009 Mazda Mazda6 comes with a "tilt/telescopic steering wheel w/radio controls," an "AM/FM/CD/MP3 player," full power accessories, and "automatic-off headlights." Moving up to the Touring and Grand Touring versions of the Mazda6 Mazda, Cars.com says that additional standard features include a "leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob," along with 17- or 18-inch "alloy wheels" and stylish "LED taillamps" on the Grand Touring models. Motor Trend notes that Mazda Mazda6 "Grand Tourings get full leather trim, dual-zone A/C, and dual power/heated buckets as well as Xenon headlamps."

On the 2010 Mazda6, all the requisite options are available: push-button start, an audio system with satellite radio and a built-in hard drive, a navigation system, rain-sensing wipers, and a Bluetooth interface. But if you want those features, it can get pricey; the nav system is only available on top Grand Touring models, and Bluetooth is only for those who splurge on the Touring Plus or Grand Touring.

According to ConsumerGuide, that sound system is available through the Moon Roof and Bose Package, which also incorporates a "power sunroof" and "satellite radio." The available Convenience Package "adds GT-like upgrades to the Touring" trim of the Mazda Mazda6, notes Motor Trend, and includes features like the blind-spot alert system and a wireless cell phone link. Cars.com adds that an "optional DVD navigation system with 7-inch display, touch-screen and voice-activated controls" is available on the Mazda6 Mazda Grand Touring. Road & Track even goes so far as to say that the "available luxury amenities" make the Mazda6 Mazda "a poor man's Lexus."

The premium sound system, which Road & Track describes as a "sensational sounding 333-watt, 10-speaker-plus-subwoofer sound system by Bose," is well worth getting, based on a number of positive comments.

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August 10, 2016
2010 Mazda MAZDA6 4-Door Sedan Automatic i Grand Touring

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This was my first car and I got it fairly cheap. I bought it for college and I have to say it wasn't a bad investment. I really like the design, it's sporty and it looks so nice in black. The interior is... + More »
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