The 2017 Mazda6’s attractive design and thoughtful interior alone are enough to make this midsize sedan appealing. However, it is the Mazda6’s superior driving dynamics that set the family sedan apart.
The 2017 Mazda Mazda6 is a midsize sedan with seating for five passengers. It’s powered by a four-cylinder engine that is governed by either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shifting mode. The 2017 Mazda6 is available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels, and front-wheel drive is standard.
For 2017, the Mazda6 gets new exterior-mirror turn lamps, a new steering-wheel design and better sound insulation. Standard features now include G-Vectoring control, which monitors the driver’s steering input and modifies engine torque to optimize stability. The base Sport model with the manual transmission gains a rearview camera and Mazda Connect infotainment with a 7-inch touch screen. All Touring models add autonomous emergency braking, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Grand Touring models now include traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, high-beam control and collision warning with emergency braking as standard equipment.
The Mazda6 is a visual standout in a segment rarely known for dramatic styling. With an oversized grille, long hood, swooping curves and flared fenders, the Mazda6 looks as sporty as it drives. Fortunately, Mazda has dialed in the design so that it blends nicely into crowded parking lots and on the highway. Yes, it makes a design statement, but it is tasteful.
The Mazda6 features halogen headlamps and daytime running lights up front with LED rear combination lamps and dual exhaust outlets out back. Dual power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated turn signals flank both sides, working together with the winding body lines and 17-inch alloy wheels to create a modern, athletic look.
Touring trims feature 19-inch alloy wheels, auto on/off headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Our top-trim Grand Touring model includes a power sunroof, 19-inch silver-finish alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and heated side mirrors. Upgraded LED headlights with auto leveling, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights and an LED-lit signature grille enhance the overall appearance and improve visibility at night.
Mazda’s ergonomic design, attention to detail and choice of materials yield a nicely finished, mature interior. The front cloth-trimmed seats offer excellent bolstering, and thanks to the six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat and tilt-and-telescoping steering column, finding a comfortable driving position is easy.
Standard features include air conditioning, a center-console armrest with covered storage, power door locks and windows, a 60/40-split folding rear seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Touring models add dual-zone climate control, leatherette-trimmed sport seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and illuminated vanity mirrors.
Our top-trim Grand Touring model was equipped with leather-trimmed sport seats, a heated eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a heated six-way power-adjustable passenger seat. Memory settings helped us find and keep the perfect driving position. Additionally, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink further enhanced the premium feel of Mazda’s relatively affordable sedan.
Although appropriate for families with young children, rear-seat space is tighter than that of many other competing midsize sedans. Our recommendation is to bring frequent rear-seat occupants along for the test drive. The Mazda6 provides 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space, capacity that’s less than that of both the 2017 Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The 2017 Mazda6 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda’s four-cylinder engine offers excellent performance, delivering 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.
Fuel economy is EPA rated at 24/34 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and up to 27/35 mpg when equipped with the automatic. The Mazda6 offers competitive fuel efficiency ratings for the segment, besting the Toyota Camry’s fuel economy but falling short of the mileage offered by the Honda Accord.
In terms of driving dynamics, the Mazda6 is more than a sum of its parts. Many competitors offer larger, more powerful engines that return better acceleration. Others have enhanced sport packages that add styling details like flat-bottom steering wheels and front spoilers to convey a feeling of performance. The Mazda6 skips the gimmicks and focuses on the areas that make a performance car shine: excellent handling, efficient braking and a responsive, eager-to-please engine.
The 2017 Mazda6 includes a nice array of standard technology features, including a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. The six-speaker audio system features HD radio and a host of apps, and all models come with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Controlling the various features is easy thanks to the Mazda’s straightforward menu options. When the car is stopped, the 7-inch screen can be used as a standard touch-screen interface. Once moving, a center-console-mounted multi-function controller must be used.
Grand Touring models like our review vehicle include a standard 11-speaker Bose sound system and navigation. This premium audio system features satellite radio and sounds great. The Grand Touring trim also adds a full-colored head-up display and traffic-sign recognition with speed warnings.
Unfortunately, Mazda’s otherwise-excellent infotainment system does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
The 2017 Mazda6 was awarded a perfect five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, the Mazda6 was given a Top Safety Pick+ award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS gave the Mazda6 a top Superior rating for its crash avoidance technology.
Standard safety features include a rearview camera and a tire-pressure monitoring system. The Touring trim adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and autonomous braking that works at low speeds to automatically apply the brakes to help avoid a collision.
The Grand Touring model adds adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, high-beam control and collision warning with autonomous braking.
The base 2017 Mazda6 Sport with a manual transmission starts at $21,945, not including an $875 destination fee. Models with an automatic transmission start at $22,995. Mazda’s base pricing represents excellent value in the segment, and it undercuts the pricing of best-selling models such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Our top-trim 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring retails for $30,695 plus destination. Adding the Grand Touring Premium package costs $2,500. The package includes a fuel-saving regenerative engine braking system, active grille shutters, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a black headliner, Nappa leather seats, bright trim accents and LED accent lighting for the shifter area.
We’d recommend the Touring model for its lineup of standard active safety features. These models start at $25,245.
Thanks to a sport-tuned suspension and eager powertrain, the 2017 Mazda6 proves that an affordable midsize family sedan can be fun to drive. Shoppers looking for maximum passenger and cargo space will want to investigate other options, but those seeking a near-perfect blend of performance, efficiency and practical features will find the 2017 Mazda6 a standout in a very strong segment.