The MAZDA6 comes in five different trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. Each is powered either by a 187-horsepower, SKYACTIV-G direct-injection 2.5L 4-cylinder engine or the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L turbo-charged engine making 227 horsepower and a whopping 310-lb feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission comes standard across all trims.
Even the base Sport trim comes well-equipped, with LED headlights with auto-leveling and auto off, dual power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, 17-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, push-button start, a 60/40 split-fold rear seatback and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls as well as an 8-inch color touch screen display. Standard safety technology includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, a bevy of airbags, dynamic stability control and a host of advanced safety features like the Mazda Radar Cruise Control, a Blind Spot Monitoring System, a Lane Keep Assist System and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
The Touring adds features such as 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear heat and air conditioning vents, a 6-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, HD and Pandora Internet radio as well as SMS text message audio delivery and reply. The Touring includes the Smart City Brake Support system, which helps to mitigate low-speed front-end collisions.
Finally, the fully equipped Grand Touring and Signature trims includes amenities like a power glass moonroof, an Adaptive Front-Lighting System, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, navigation with traffic alerts, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat. An upgraded audio system is also standard with 11 Bose speakers, Sirius XM satellite radio, a Centerpoint 2 digital signal processor and AudioPilot 2 speed sensitive volume control.
We're all familiar with "Zoom-Zoom." Long has Mazda's repetitive catchphrase signaled that the Japanese automaker's vehicles prioritize driving excellence above all else, which helped Mazda carve out its own unique niche in its mass-market segments. But Mazda is slowly growing up -- as evidenced by its more mature "Driving Matters" mantra -- and while the updated 2020 Mazda6 has adulting down, it's still working out how to balance new and old priorities.
The effort that goes into one of the hottest sedan segments is top-notch these days, and Mazda has remained at the forefront of that shift. Its exterior design isn't anything crazy, and it hasn't been updated since 2018, but I love the flowing lines coming off the front fenders. There's just a hint of sporting pretension hiding behind an otherwise ordinary (albeit handsome) exterior.
Mazda really cranked up the wick inside, though. The design itself is simple -- lots of straight lines and unbroken surfaces -- but the attention to detail gives it a properly luxurious feeling. I'm especially a fan of my Signature-trim tester's dashboard, which plays off the white leather with a strip of similarly colored suede. Whether it's the stitching or the softness of the seats, the Mazda6 feels a fancy step above most of its competition despite staying well below the $40,000 mark.
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