The 2012 Mazda6 offers a lot for the midsize sedan buyer: Modern styling, an upscale interior, athletic handling, and plenty of standard amenities. The latest-generation Mazda6 was refreshed for the 2011 model year, and the Mazda sedan has impressed with its high build quality and entertaining on-road demeanor.
Standard engines include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 170 horsepower, or a bigger 3.7-liter V-6 churning a beefy 272 horsepower. The former features a six-speed manual as its standard gear shifter with an optional automatic, while the latter is mated only to a six-speed automatic. Pick either (depending on trim level) and you won't be disappointed with the car's responsiveness.
The Mazda6's upscale interior can be outfitted with a number of creature comforts, including navigation and Bluetooth. The class-leading 16.6 cubic-feet of cargo space out back ensure that plenty of belongings can come along, too. If you need more room, there's always the split 60/40 folding seats to call upon. Although the Mazda6 has much to offer, this is a highly competitive segment, and buyers should also check out the new Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry, which have been recently updated.
Engines: 2.5-liter inline-4, 3.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: i Sport, i Touring, i Touring Plus, i Grand Touring, s Touring Plus and s Grand Touring
The Mazda6 was unchanged for the 2012 model year, having been refreshed in 2011. During that refresh the car received new headlights, fog lights, and wheel designs. The navigation system comes with a rearview camera and a 7-inch touch screen. The Mazda6 is also available with a blind spot monitoring system.
The Mazda6 was styled to be more alluring than some of its four-door five-passenger competitors. Freshened in 2011, the Mazda6 received new headlights, fog lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels, in addition to the standard 16-inch steel wheels. The top-of-the-line s Grand Touring model adds 18-inch aluminum wheels. Grand Touring models come with automatic xenon headlights.
The Mazda6 interior is modern and inviting with its sharp instrument panel and upscale materials. The cabin is driver-centric, though spacious and roomy for all. Both front and rear seats offer ample comfort. A 4.3-inch multi-information display screen is standard in the Grand Touring model, and an available 7-inch screen is an option with navigation and real-time traffic. Some cheap materials are apparent in the cabin, but they don't greatly diminish the overall finish.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Mazda6 is entertaining to drive with either engine under the hood, but if you want to scoot, your best bet is the 3.7-liter V-6, which moves the Mazda sedan out with authority. That said, the 2.5-liter mated to Mazda’s brilliant six-speed manual is fun in its own right, allowing full control of engine speed. The Mazda6 handles better than you would expect from a family sedan, and much like the Nissan Altima, adds exuberance to the class. Unlike the Altima however, you can't get the Mazda6 with a V-6 engine and a manual transmission.
Driver and passenger front/side airbags are standard for the Mazda6, as are side curtain airbags. An anti-lock brake system (ABS), dynamic stability control, and a collapsible brake pedal assembly further protect passengers.
EPA Fuel Economy
2.5-liter four-cylinder, manual transmission: 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway
2.5-liter four-cylinder, automatic transmission: 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway
3.7-liter V-6: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway
- Fun handling
- Responsive engines
- Long standard features list
- Attractive Mazda styling Roomy, modern interior
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
No manual with 3.7-liter engine
Interesting lower-volume alternative to the sea of Camrys and Accords.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Nissan Altima