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2010 Mazda Mazda6 review:

2010 Mazda Mazda6

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Minimal tech
Our Mazda6 also had warning lights in its sideview mirrors, as part of the blind-spot detection system. As one of our favorite driver aid features, we were pleased to see blind spot detection in a car that's far from a tech powerhouse. These warning lights turn on when a car is riding in the Mazda6's blind spot, off either rear quarter. The system seems about 90 to 95 percent effective--we saw a few glitches, such as the light remaining on as we drove on a bridge, with the superstructure next to the car. But that wasn't typical behavior.

Warning lights alert you to cars in your blind spot.

The only other tech feature we didn't expect to see in the Mazda6 was Bluetooth streaming to the stereo. As you would expect, the car also had a Bluetooth phone system for hands-free calling. This system relies on voice command for number input, and although it has an onboard phonebook, you can't transfer contacts from your phone to the car. After we paired an iPhone to the system to check the hands-free calling capabilities, Bluetooth streaming was also ready, without any additional setup. As typical with current Bluetooth streaming technology, you can merely pause or play the music using the car's stereo, and there is no artist or song display.

Other audio sources included an MP3 compatible six-CD changer and satellite radio. The satellite radio installation looked a little slapdash, with an exposed wire leading out to the antenna, which was stuck to the trunk lid. True iPod integration isn't available in the Mazda6.

This satellite radio antenna installation looks very aftermarket.

After listening to the stereo, we were surprised to see it only uses six speakers. Audio output is very crisp, and sounds well-amplified. Bass is also very strong for a system lacking a subwoofer.

In sum
Although a little short on Zoom, the 2010 Mazda6 delivers decent fuel economy and the kind of comfortable, practical interior space one would expect from a midsize sedan. The exterior styling stands out a little, with pronounced front fenders. But as for tech, the Mazda6 is largely average to mediocre. The lack of a navigation option in all but the V-6 trims is particularly troubling. And while Bluetooth streaming is useful, it doesn't beat full iPod integration, which generally offers a usable interface through the stereo. Blind-spot detection is the most useful tech feature in the Mazda6, but nothing else is notable. Tech-wise, the engine and transmission don't stand out, either, delivering the kind of power and economy we would expect from the spec sheet.

Spec box
Model 2010 Mazda Mazda6
Trim Touring Plus
Power train 2.5-liter inline four
EPA fuel economy 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway
Observed fuel economy 25.2 mpg
Navigation None
Bluetooth phone support Standard
Disc player MP3 compatible six CD changer
MP3 player support None
Other digital audio Satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, auxiliary input
Audio system 6 speaker
Driver aids Blind-spot detection
Base price $23,750
Price as tested $25,030

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