2020 Mazda MAZDA6

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2020
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2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 21, 2019

Buying tip

The base Mazda 6 Sport doesn’t include smartphone connectivity like Apple CarPlay, so start your shopping with the well-equipped Touring model.

The 2020 Mazda 6 gives drivers a last great shot to stay crossover-free.

The 2020 Mazda 6 is a standout among sedans in an age when fewer people are buying them every year. For its head-turning style, sharp driving dynamics, and great value, we give it 6.5 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2020, the 6 remains mostly unchanged except for a new key fob. It’s available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and Grand Touring Reserve guise.

Styling is subjective, but the Mazda 6 may be the one sedan that’s objectively handsome no matter which way you look at it. The swoopy lines, wide grille underscoring the headlights, and tall, tapered rear end cut a sleek profile, and the interior is among our favorites from non-luxury brands. Ritzy Signature trim models add real wood, fine leather, and impressive tech like a color head-up display for a near-premium experience at a more palatable price.

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Powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 with 187 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission, the base Mazda 6 isn’t a barn burner, but with a 250-hp turbo version of the same engine as an option, this sedan better lives up to its sporty pedigree. Front-wheel drive is standard and the only choice, but we’d appreciate an all-wheel-drive option like the smaller Mazda 3 has even started to offer.

Four adults fit comfortably, and the trunk is average if not slightly small, but split-folding rear seats help increase practicality. This is a sedan after all, so don’t expect the utility that a crossover SUV provides. While handling and ride quality is superb, the 6 is slightly noisier inside than some competitors.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a dial controller is standard, as are two USB inputs, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, and more. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require stepping up one trim from the Sport to the Touring, however.

In an increasingly popular move, Mazda made all active safety technology standard last year, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control. Coupled with award-winning crash test scores, this makes for one of the safest sedans on the road.

Fuel economy is decent at 29 mpg combined (26 mpg if you choose a turbocharged model), and the 6 ranges from $24,920 for the Sport trim including destination charge to $36,220 for the Signature model.

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2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Styling

The 2020 Mazda 6 is a great-looking sedan inside and out.

The 2020 Mazda 6 is one of the best-looking mainstream cars on the road, full stop. For both its exterior styling and interior look, we give it 8 out of 10.

The Mazda 6 has a memorable shape—and not just for a family sedan. There’s seemingly not a straight line anywhere on this design, and it works. A sharp grille that underscores the headlights, strong character lines down the side, and a tall, tapering rear end make for a handsome sedan no matter the angle.

The interior is a similar story, blending simple character lines with fine materials and just the right amount of contrasting accent details. In top-tier Signature trim, it’s nearly worthy of a true luxury badge, something that can’t be said for most mid-size sedans.

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2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Performance

The 2020 Mazda 6 offers great handling, punchy optional turbo power, and a composed ride.

A pair of inline-4 engines get the job done for the 2020 Mazda 6, though all-wheel drive would be a welcome addition to the performance options list. Still, it’s not enough of an oversight to spoil great ride and handling characteristics. The Mazda 6 gets a 6 for performance, natch.

Mazda vehicles have a reputation for engaging handling and good performance. The 6 is no exception, but the base engine is a snooze. 

A 2.5-liter inline-4 is standard and makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet through the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s slightly underpowered for our liking, but Mazda will upgrade you to a turbocharged version with 250 hp (on premium fuel) just by selecting the Grand Touring trim or above. We’d gladly pay more for the significant bump in power to go along with the 6’s handling, which is a cut above average.

Standard torque vectoring makes turn-in direct and effortless, and the ride is stiff enough to be responsive but composed enough on long drives to be comfortable.

Perhaps the only demerit in this category is that the 6 is not as quiet inside as some competitors, but we reckon it’s fun enough that most won’t mind. 

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2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Mazda 6 is comfortable enough inside and features good quality materials, but practicality leaves something to be desired.

A mid-size sedan should be able to do two things: fit four adults comfortably and carry a week’s vacation worth of luggage. The 2020 Mazda 6 accomplishes both, though not as well as some competitors. We give it a 6 for comfort and utility.

We’ll start with the good for the 6’s interior: it’s stylish, material quality is good whether you have cloth at the bottom of the range or fine leather at the top, and the rear seat is comfortable for average-size adults. The 6 measures 191.5 inches long overall, with 111.4 inches of wheelbase. Rear passengers have 38.7 inches of leg room.

The not-so-good negates this sedan’s challenge to today’s crossovers, however, as the seats are just okay, and the trunk is capable of holding just 14.7 cubic feet of stuff, less than some compact sedans. Split-folding rear seats help the practicality score, but this just isn’t as flexible as an SUV.

Top-tier Signature models include soft nappa leather, faux-suede door panels, and real wood trim. It’s a convincing luxury car impression, even if closer inspection reveals a slightly thinner feel than true premium offerings. We’d stick with the Touring model for its synthetic leather interior and great value, however.

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2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Safety

The 2020 Mazda 6 gets nearly perfect crash test scores and includes all active safety tech as standard.

The 2020 Mazda 6 gets high praise from crash test agencies and includes all active safety technology as standard equipment. We give it 9 out of 10.

In all crash tests but front passenger and rollover, the Mazda 6 receives five stars from the NHTSA, as well as a top-notch overall score. The IIHS seems to agree, giving last year’s model “Good” results all around and the vaunted Top Safety Pick+ award, though does have some qualms with base model headlights.

Following the trend set by Toyota, Nissan, and others, Mazda makes all active safety features – including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors – standard on all versions of the 6. Higher-trim models are available with a color head-up display that helps keep your eyes on the road and off the somewhat pesky infotainment screen.

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2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Features

The 2020 Mazda 6 ranges from affordable to ritzy, but the sweet spot is right in the middle.

Available in five trim levels – Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature – the Mazda 6 ranges from less than $25,000 to more than $35,000 at the top of the range (including a mandatory destination charge).

We give it 5 out of 10 here, as the base model misses a key feature or two, and the Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an exceptional warranty, infotainment, or value in the more desireable versions.

At $24,920, the base Sport model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a full suite of active safety features, two USB ports, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, automatic high beam LED headlights, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and a dial controller.

We’d start our shopping with the Touring model, which costs $27,520 but throws in synthetic leather, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, a power moonroof, 19-inch wheels, two rear USB charging ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Grand Touring models will set you back $30,620 but come with the more powerful turbocharged engine as well as Bose audio, satellite radio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated side mirrors, and paddle shifters. The Grand Touring Reserve trim gains a color head-up display, leather upholstery, power front seats with heating and cooling, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, and glitzier styling accents for $33,120.

Finally, the Signature model does its best luxury car impersonation with nappa leather, wood trim, faux suede accents, a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster display, satellite navigation, and a surround-view camera system for $36,220. Nice as these features are, we’re not sure they’re worth the $8,700 premium over the Touring model.

It should be mentioned that Mazda’s infotainment system is among our least favorites to operate, either via its clunky dial controller or with your fingers. We recommend using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto as much as possible to bypass it.

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5

2020 Mazda MAZDA6

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Mazda 6 is reasonably efficient at up to 29 combined mpg.

The 2020 Mazda 6 is reasonably efficient, more so in base versions than in those with turbo power. It’s a 5 for gas mileage.

Sport and Touring models earn EPA ratings of 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined, solid figures for a mid-size sedan. Adding a turbocharger to the mix on the Grand Touring model and above drops those numbers to 23/31/26 mpg, and you’ll want premium fuel to get an extra 25 horsepower out of this punchy optional engine.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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6.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 9
Features 5
Fuel Economy 5
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2020 Mazda MAZDA6 Pricing Insights

  • 2020 Mazda6 arriving; 2019s still in stock
  • $1,000 factory rebate on 2019s
  • Lease a 2019 from $249 for 36 months
  • 0.9% APR for 60 months + no payment for 90 days
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