By Mike Hanley on April 30, 2013
Despite offering a sporty driving experience in a stylish package, the Mazda6 has struggled to win buyers in the family sedan segment. It's always been a bit player in the class, but Mazda is making a big push in the segment again with a redesigned 2014 Mazda6. The car appears to have what it takes to challenge the segment leaders, but a few common complaints also cropped up after testing by several Cars.com editors.
The car's looks, for one, seem like they'll go a long way toward bringing shoppers into the showroom. "This is one of the best-looking cars I've driven in some time," said Managing Editor David Thomas. "I don't mean this is the best-looking sedan or midsize sedan I've driven; I'm talking looks across the segments including sports cars and luxury vehicles."
Cars.com editors weren't the only ones who noticed the Mazda6's styling. "During each of my drives, the car turned heads," said editor Jennifer Geiger. "I hadn't received that much attention from pedestrians and other drivers since I first tested the Scion FR-S."
More than just a pretty face, the Mazda6's ride and handling were lauded, too. "The car has really nice dynamics," said Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, "and surprisingly good ride quality for 19-inch wheels." (All trim levels have alloy wheels with 17-inch rims standard and 19-inch wheels optional.)
"The 6 also felt much more agile and maneuverable than competitors in the midsize class," added Geiger. Though the ride is on the firm side, "this car really added an element of fun to boring errand runs," she said.
The Mazda6's interior also got high marks from the staff, particularly its color scheme and use of simulated metal trim. "The cabin feels conservatively styled, but nice touches like convincing fake-metal trim and fabric down the A-pillars add an upscale vibe," said editor Kelsey Mays. "Love the black-on-black interior," commented Geiger. "I think it looks really sporty."
The cabin wasn't without fault, though, as both Wiesenfelder and Mays thought driver's-seat comfort would have been better with more rear travel, and they were disappointed in the cheap-looking vinyl sun visors. Wiesenfelder also called out some of the controls: "I was disappointed by the rough parting seams on the ends of the turn-signal and wiper stalks," he said.
Wind and road noise also emerged as problems. "Like the last Mazda6, wind noise seems to be an issue. It's coming from all around, not just a particular area," Mays said. "Road noise was a significant issue during my test," Geiger said. "It was pretty intrusive and a near-constant presence."
Some of the Mazda6's available technology features were lacking, too. "The nav system showed only one or two road names while driving through Chicago neighborhoods no matter how close I zoomed in," Thomas said. "The graphics were subpar and the live traffic was unreadable."
Though there are some areas that need improvement, the staff's overall opinion of the Mazda6 was favorable. Wiesenfelder summed up the car by saying: "My big takeaway is it has some of the dynamics I like in the Ford Fusion but fewer of the annoyances." Add in significantly better gas mileage — the 2014 Mazda6 gets an EPA-estimated 26/38 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission — it's poised to be seen favorably by car shoppers too.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike