The 2016 Mazda Mazda6 offers all the practicality you would expect within the midsize segment. It’s competitively priced, fuel-efficient and offers fantastic safety ratings. The Mazda6 also outshines a number of competitors with thrilling performance, intuitive tech features and an extremely high-quality interior.
The 2016 Mazda6 seats five and comes in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. A four-cylinder engine is standard on all models, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.
For 2016, the Mazda6 gains revised interior styling, an electronic parking brake and updated exterior styling on the top Grand Touring trim. All models with the automatic transmission gain a Sport drive mode, as well as a new 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.
The Mazda6 was among the first models to feature Mazda’s Kodo (Soul of Motion) design language, which it shares with siblings like the Mazda3, Mazda CX-3 and MX-5 Miata. The result is an athletic looking midsize car with a broad grille, smooth lines and a beltline that rises gradually toward the rear.
Dual exhaust tips, 17-inch alloy wheels and daytime running lights come with the base Mazda6 Sport. Touring models add 19-inch alloy wheels, while LED headlights and taillights, a power sunroof and heated sideview mirrors are available.
If you’re looking for a midsize car that feels premium on the inside, look no further than the 2016 Mazda6. Our test Grand Touring model featured attractive stitching on the dash and a two-tone color scheme that would have been perfectly acceptable in a more expensive car like the BMW 3 Series.
Large, clear gauges and a functional control layout only bolster the interior’s appeal. There aren’t any gimmicks here, just a straightforward design with quality materials, comfortable front seats and user-friendly tech features.
The base Mazda6 Sport comes with cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Power-adjustable front seats, leather or leatherette upholstery, heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control are available on higher trims.
Trunk space measures 14.8 cubic feet, which is a little less than what you’ll find in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, though a standard 60-40 split-folding rear seat allows you to expand the space when needed. Rear-seat passenger space, while adequate, also isn’t as expansive as what some others offer in the class.
The Mazda6 is offered with just one engine: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional.
The base Mazda6 gets an EPA-estimated 25/37 mpg city/highway, which is pretty good for the class. Adding the six-speed automatic boosts those estimates to an impressive 26/38 mpg city/highway. Fuel economy is even better on Grand Touring models with the Technology package, where Mazda’s i-Eloop regenerative braking system improves fuel economy to an EPA-estimated 28/40 mpg city/highway.
Those estimates are just about the best in class unless you plan to cross-shop the Mazda6 with hybrid midsize cars.
While a number of competitors offer more powerful engine choices, few midsize cars offer the well-rounded driving dynamics that you’ll experience with the Mazda6. The four-cylinder engine is smooth and refined, with plenty of power in reserve for passing and merging. It’s an excellent match for the six-speed automatic, which shifts quickly and seamlessly when more power is needed.
The ride might be a little bit firmer than what you’ll experience in competitors like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion, but it’s controlled and compliant with handling that sets the benchmark within the class. Make no mistake; this is a midsize car that’s very enjoyable to drive. Quick steering only adds to the fun, while a small turning circle makes the Mazda6 easy to maneuver on tight city streets.
The base Mazda6 Sport comes standard with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, full power accessories and push-button start. Add the optional automatic transmission and you’ll also gain a Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, HD Radio, smartphone app integration, a rearview camera and hands-free text messaging. Available features include items like a Bose audio system, navigation and satellite radio.
While the Mazda6 doesn’t necessarily wow you with cutting-edge tech features, there’s something to be said for its simplicity.
Audio, phone and navigation settings are easily accessed through Mazda Connect, and you can adjust settings using the touch screen or the control knob that’s mounted on the center console.
The system paired easily with Android and Apple smartphones, and I particularly enjoyed how well the system integrates with apps like Pandora Internet Radio. Mazda got this right, with the infotainment system providing easy access to your station lists and large “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” icons to fine tune your playlists.
Scrolling through satellite radio channels could be a little bit easier however, as the system requires you to navigate to a tuning button at the bottom of the touch screen. A dedicated knob would definitely be a little quicker for scrolling through channels, but the system should work fine if you set presets and tend to stick to them.
The 2016 Mazda6 offers exceptional crash test ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA gave the Mazda6 a top five-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests, with five stars in front and side crash tests and four stars in rollover tests.
The Mazda6 earned top scores of Good in all IIHS crash tests, as well as a Superior rating for front crash prevention when equipped with a forward collision warning system. As a result, the 2016 Mazda6 received a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.
All Mazda6 models come with anti-lock brakes, stability control and a suite of air bags. A rearview camera is also standard on all models that are equipped with an automatic transmission. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are among the Mazda6’s available safety features.
Adding an automatic transmission to the base Mazda6 will cost an additional $1,500, and is likely well worth it considering the additional infotainment features that are included with that option.
Touring and Grand Touring models start at $23,945 and $30,195, respectively.
Our test Mazda6 Grand Touring included options such as a cargo mat ($75), White Pearl paint ($200), door sill trim plates ($125), a rear bumper guard ($120) and Mazda’s Grand Touring Technology package ($2,180), which adds features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam control and Mazda’s fuel-saving i-Eloop system. After destination, our test Mazda6 had an MSRP of $33,715.
That price is competitive with what you’d pay for a fully loaded version of the Mazda6’s chief competitors, though the midlevel Touring model may be the best value in the lineup. Starting at just under $25,000 for a model with the automatic transmission, the Mazda6 Touring brings in nicer interior trim, dual-zone climate control and blind spot monitoring, as well as the ability to add features like forward collision warning and heated front seats.
Some competitors may be a bit more spacious, but the 2016 Mazda6 excels with attractive exterior styling, straightforward tech features and a cabin that’s a notch above anything else offered in the class. Its rewarding driving experience is also particularly noteworthy, as few midsize cars can match the Mazda6’s smooth power delivery, athletic handling and impressive fuel economy.
While all midsize cars aim to deliver a bit of practicality, the 2016 Mazda6 proves that sensible transportation does not require sacrificing quality or exceptional driving dynamics.