The MAZDA6 comes in five different trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, Carbon Edition 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.
The venerable sedan used to be the default choice for most new car buyers. Every company made some, and they were just about guaranteed to outsell anything other than pickup trucks. Times have certainly changed, however, and compact and midsize sedans are dropping like flies as automakers shift their focus to crossovers and SUVs. Mazda just confirmed the fashionable , and following a drive in the 2021 Carbon Edition, I can tell you this sedan's demise hurts more than most.
Arguably the best thing about the Mazda6 is how it drives. It's currently available with two engines: a 2.5-liter I4 with 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and the uplevel 2.5-liter turbo I4 found in my test car, with a healthy 250 hp and a borderline-silly 320 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with a somewhat archaic six-speed automatic transmission, driving the front wheels exclusively.
On the road, the six-speed auto is largely ignorable -- and I mean that as a compliment. The transmission shifts smoothly and imperceptibly, though with only six forward gears, fuel economy isn't exactly outstanding. The EPA rates the 2021 Mazda6 2.5T at 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, but at least I'm able to match those estimates without issue.
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