By on June 6, 2016

2016 Mazda 6 GT Soul Red

Stop. Wait a second before you get in. Study the Mazda 6’s curves and tell me this isn’t the best-looking car in its class.

Alright, now hop in, depress the starter button, and listen to that sweet honey of a 2.5-liter inline-four purr. Ah, see, I tricked you into associating a gorgeous exterior (and interior) with other qualities you seek in a new car, and you up and let your imagination run away with itself.

Purr? In the 2016 Mazda 6, it’s more like a groan, a bellyaching protest, a teenager hiding under the covers after you remind him that science class begins in 17 minutes.

Even outside, the 6’s idle is especially gruff in an age of unrefined direct-injection four-cylinder idles. The exhaust note at idle is uneven, too, like an infant caught between crying and sleeping with sniffles.

Traversing typically rough streets in the west end of Halifax, Nova Scotia, after exchanging an Audi A3 e-tron for the Mazda, the 6’s ride quality is obviously and undeniably firm, especially on 225/45R19 Dunlop SP Sport 5000s. In a car which appears decidedly premium on the outside and inside, the head-up display’s plasticky flip-up screen and the high dashtop-mounted starter button are conspicuous afterthoughts.

I’m trundling along in light Sunday evening traffic and all I can hear is that buzzy little four-cylinder. The radio is on and I’m attempting to listen to an interview on the CBC but my ears can’t get over the fact that this level and nature of low-rpm engine noise was deemed acceptable by the Mazda executives who signed off on this car.

Over the A. Murray MacKay Bridge – we call it “The New Bridge” even though it was completed in 1970 – and onto Highway 111, I am assaulted again by inappropriate noise levels in a car which costs $33,510 in the U.S. market. (It’s $37,790 in top GT Tech Package trim in Canada.) But this time it’s not the engine noise, it’s the road rumble. And in 2016, this level of NVH refinement, or lack thereof, would bother many buyers one segment down and with $10,000 less to spend.

2016 Mazda 6 GT interior

Then I’m nearing my Eastern Passage home, and just as I’m approaching the CN Autoport I take a quick left turn onto Hines Road, keen on a near 90-degree right-hander about one mile up the hill that I’m certain will highlight all of the 2016 Mazda 6’s most positive characteristics.

Yes, there are a whole bunch of reasons people aren’t buying the Mazda 6. In late April, we highlighted a number of product-related reasons Americans steer away from Mazdas. The dealer network, pricing, and the automatic tendency for buyers to stick with what they know all play a role. And after recommending the 6 to legions of midsize car buyers over the last few years, the first 20 minutes of my drive last night revealed anew to me the reasons why only one of those buyers ever made the Mazda choice.

Noisy, buzzy, and so very firm, the third-generation Mazda 6 still feels slightly unfinished even after a thorough refresh remedied some faults, particularly inside, for model year 2016.

Yet recognizing all this, I took the long way home last night.

I was hungry and thirsty, the weather was fairly miserable, and to be frank, the car was annoying me just a little bit. But I attacked a short, uninhabited stretch of Hines Road simply because I knew the car would succeed, not because I live under some auto reviewer sense of obligation to push’em all to their limits, as if I could. When I should have turned right at the bottom of Caldwell, I followed the Atlantic coast for a couple of kilometres to the tip of the unseen harbour – it was way too foggy – and then followed the twists of Shore Road beside Hartlen Point Forces Golf Club a couple more times.

Just for the fun of it.

Not because it was fast. Oh no, the Mazda 6 isn’t fast. The 6 was fun on these roads for a brief five-minute spurt last night because it isn’t fast. I routinely floored the throttle, and for more than a moment. In many of the cars we get to drive over the course of the year, flooring the throttle is an exercise undertaken only on off-ramps and on-ramps or for a handful of milliseconds upon corner exit. Otherwise, I’d be in jail.

2016 Mazda 6 Soul Red rear

But the 6 is, in the texted words of TTAC’s managing editor last night, “The Miata of midsize sedans.” You can prod and push and cajole the 6’s throttle pedal and you will not discover the Toyota Camry’s V6.

Thankfully, in the Mazda 6, driving down a great road at any speed is enjoyable. The 2.5-liter loses its gruff edge at higher rpm and snarls instead. You’re not focusing on tire noise now that the sunroof is open and the fog is moisturizing your forehead. You’re appreciating the 6’s buttoned-down suspension and big wheels now.

Communication is key. The steering is lively. The chassis jostles and jiggles and jives in all the right places in order to make you, the driver, part of the process. In sport mode, even the 6-speed automatic snaps off shifts at the right time. In manual mode, Mazda allows the driver to take control, permitting paddle pulls which initiate, rather than suggest, real shifts. Bang away at the redline if you like.

(In Canada, Mazda even offers the top-trim 6 with a manual transmission, at least on paper if not at your dealer. In the U.S., only the 6 Sport and 6 Touring, not the 6 Grand Touring, offer the manual shifter.)

For a car that rides this firmly, you might be surprised that the 6 doesn’t stay supremely flat in corners, but body roll also equals communication. I want a little roll to tell me more about my mid-corner status. Knowledge is power, and the Mazda 6 is always finding channels through which to send me more information.

The brake pedal could be firmer, though with 4,400 miles of auto journo miles under its belt, these brakes have lived some life. Of course more power would be welcome. During last night’s aggressive drive, I’d fearfully look at the HUD’s speedometer, thinking I was probably driving in a terribly anti-social manner, and lo and behold, I was doing 94 kilometers per hour in an 80 km/h zone. *

But there’s no need for way more power. I had fun with 184 horsepower. Indeed, a more refined version of this engine would be my powertrain priority; a 2.5-liter that’s more tractable and torquier in an urban environment with less vibration and cabin buzz.

Mazda deserves credit for sticking to its guns with the 6’s 2016 refresh and not watering down the package for a wider mainstream audience. But that credit is paid to Mazda’s account in greater car reviewer adulation, not in terms of marketplace success. U.S. sales of midsize cars are down six percent this year; Mazda 6 sales are down 29 percent. All of its direct rivals sell more frequently. Seven rivals – Camry, Altima, Accord, Fusion, Malibu, Sonata, Optima – sell at least twice as often.

One left turn revealed to me that the Mazda 6 of today is the same as the Mazda 6 that left a lasting impression on me three years ago. A true driver’s car, living and breathing with pent-up energy in an age of stupendously fast but sterile transportation modules. Unfortunately, the 15 miles prior to that left turn manifested the same Mazda 6 buyers have largely rejected for the last three years.

*Allegedly. Not independently confirmed. Not verified by police radar.

[Image Source: ©Timothy Cain/TTAC]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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198 Comments on “The 2016 Mazda 6 Is Still Too Loud, Unrefined, And Slow, But I Just Took The Long Way Home...”


  • avatar
    iNeon

    This isn’t the most attractive vehicle in it’s class.

    Say all you like about dynamics, about technology or about a car’s high-rpm demeanor making up for the coarse engine– Those things will eventually not be able to overcome the unrefined engine and you will eventually buy a different vehicle with an engine that suits you.

    This is the lesson I learned by purchasing a car with a FIAT 1.4 turbo engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      For a second I thought BTSR had a new username.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      And to your point, as much as I want dynamic vehicles, I really need a quiet car.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Yeah– I saw the all-caps and went back to edit.

        Mostly, I was yelling at myself for making the mistake of not fully understanding how coarse a car’s engine was before I purchased. It really was quieter on the test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        zaxxon25

        The noise level was a deal-breaker when I was looking back in 2014. Plus I didn’t find the interior to be very comfortable.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Same her on the quietness front. In a couple decades from now when your hearing is going you’ll have second thought riding hours in a poor NVH car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’m done with coarse and/or loud drivetrains. Driving an electric Leaf for 3 years spoiled me on this point.

      At least my daily driver has a smooth V6/5-spd automatic, although it could be more quiet.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      The coarse engine isn’t the problem, I have a 2010 3 hatch with the pre-skyactiv 2.5 and it gets along just fine – you barely notice it, and I would call it far from coarse.

      The problem is the other sources of noise. Wind and road noise are making me dislike the 3 to the point I want out of it more than anything else. Is it fun on backroads? Sure! But I’m more concerned with getting to and from work quickly with an hour commute rather than spending 10 extra minutes taking the fun way, unless the highway is so backed up the fun way is actually faster.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Road noise is the reason I got rid of my 3. There’s a particularly noisy stretch of highway I frequently have to cover, and it became unbearable in the 3.

        Road noise pops up in odd places in cars though. The back seat of a previous-gen Ford Fusion can be a noisy place due to rear tire roar. My boss bought the Lincoln version and I thought cool, same car with more sound insulation! Actually nope. Same tire roar in the back seat.

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          I’m about to spend some time and money on my Dart to DynaMat the interior and add the engine hush cover and hood insulating pad(They’re left off the Aero model for weight, I assume) to help make myself more comfortable with the car.

          The aluminum/direct-mount suspension bits let in too much vibration for me right now, but I’ll focus on sound first and worry about finding nice soft touring tires later.

          Anyone have any advice on quiet tires or adding sound insulation?

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            @iNeon – I posted this a while back in the comments to the Honda HR-V review in February:

            “There are two components to noise reduction, however, one of which does contribute some weight. Many folks, myself included, have gone nuts slathering Dynamat-like thin foam all over the floorpan and door panels in their car only to find a minimal noise reduction. That’s because the thin foam (jute) is mostly a dampening/decoupling material that prevents large sheets of metal from resonating.

            Truly blocking sound requires a material like mass-loaded vinyl, which is fairly heavy and could easily contribute 50+ lbs (perhaps up to 100lbs) if used liberally.”

            You should check out the website https://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/understanding-vehicle-noise. It’s not my site and I have no connection to the owner. Further, I haven’t ever bought any products from them – but their explanation of the theory behind NVH reduction is quite good and more thorough than I’ve seen elsewhere.

            In the past, I’ve had luck using alternative products for the same effect. Lowe’s and other home improvement stores sell duct insulation such as Frost King which comes in a roll of adhesive foam with a foil backing. It can be easily cut and molded into myriad shapes in door panels and floor pans and works as a decoupler to reduce panel resonance. It is similar to a poor-man’s dynamat.

            You can also find sheets of mass-loaded vinyl at home improvement stores and various sources online. It’s heavy so shipping can be expensive. But you’ll really need both to cut out resonance and absorb sound energy entering the car. Creating baffles behind door-mounted speakers or even rear-decklid mounted speakers in a sedan goes a long way to help an audio system, too.

            I’ve had decent luck with Continental’s Extremecontact DWS and Michelin Primacy tires quelling the awful road noise in my ’08 Mazda3 GT. The Conti’s did get louder as the tread wore off, however. Coming from the OEM Goodyear Eagle RSA’s both are much quieter.

            On some decent quality roads near me, my Mazda registers somewhere around 72 dBA cruising at 50 MPH using my Radio Shack SPL meter. It’s roughly on par with my 370Z on Yokohama ADVANs, which is sad given the Z’s complete lack of sound deadening on higher performance tires.

            Hope this is of some help.

          • 0 avatar
            phreshone

            for quiet tires, try the Sumitomo: HTR A/S P02. Got a set for my 9-5. super quiet, inexpensive, great tread rating. well reviewed on tirerack and other sites

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          when I bought my 3 it had some road noise. Next tire change I put on Pirellis P4 and car became peacefully quiet. This is the Bridgestones it had before contributed. I have another 3 with Chinese crap on it. It is noisy as hell. I don’t even want to hear about road noise unless it is objectively measured inside cabin. And the engine sound in 3 is much more pleasant than in most other cars. One time coworker drove me in Elantra. It is sounds like little buzzy motor. 3 gives you fairly low tone growl. I have it for 6 years and still totally enjoy the experience. On weekend I drove CX5 – amazing. May be a little more engine desired even with 2.5L but gosh, it handles the road and swallows manholes in amazing fashion. After my Highlander, the steering… it is perfect

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The MZR engine sounds sweet and revs happily. These new Skyactivs are unrelated. Compared to an MZR, the sound and feel is like that of an early-80’s OHV 4-banger.

    • 0 avatar
      zealious

      thanks for the opinion. mazda does not care about road noise. they care about fun factor and making cars for people that want to feel the road instead of floating above it.

      this is a midsize class.

      what are you guys comparing the car to??? luxury class.

      you bash a car just for road noise. clearly you haven’t driven any drivers car before.

      its funny this car is getting high reviews everywhere.

      way to not mention the fact that mazda is putting world class technology into their engines. achieving amazing compression ratios and fuel economy. atleast mazda is trying new things.

      • 0 avatar
        zealious

        good to know there exists a “niche” car brand making non bland econo boxes….

        wasnt apple “niche”

        whats wrong with “niche”??

        I rather like niche.. its for people with bolder taste buds.

        maybe trump will pull a Hitler and make “the peoples car” and get rid of niche for good. will that please the sheep?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Thanks for pointing out exactly what the writer said in a condescending manner sure to make you swell with pride knowing you made someone’s day a little worse.

        The Ford Fusion is a driver’s car, its also quiet as a mouse and offers decent power for those interested (even more so with the upcoming Sport 2.7L EcoBoost V-6). The Honda Accord is more fun to drive than Camry or Altima (and, Im assuming, the Koreans and Malibu), yet its I-4 engine is silky smooth, so much so that you think its stalled at idle until you look at the tachometer. These are not luxury cars, they’re the 6’s competition.

        The 6 may be a better drivers car in some immeasurable sense, but someone should tell Mazda that it isn’t required to be crude and unrefined to be fun to drive. This is simply the product of a car company with limited funds, it isn’t on purpose so as to supposedly be charming.

        I will say Nissan is worse with its Altima, its like it’s bad on purpose. Cheap for the sake of being cheap. This may be improved with the latest model, but going back to 2002, that’s been the case IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          SP

          Opinions vary.

          You really think the new Mazda 6 is crude and unrefined? Did you drive it?

          I think the Fusion is an okay driver’s car. I think it’s definitely a notch or two less interesting to drive than the Mazda. Still a very nice car, the Fusion.

          The Fusion and 6 do share similar Spandex-like seat fabric on the base trim. I think both could be improved in that regard.

          I don’t see much wrong with the Altima. It’s a very nice car. Not my cup of tea, but certainly competent. I think of it as, value in the things that average folks care about, no frills for oddballs like us.

          I really like what Mazda has done with its current lineup. There are a lot of cars out there that make it seem like all fun will be removed from cars within 5 years. The current Mazdas give me hope for a future where driving can still be fun.

          (Incidentally, if one was to call me a brand fanboy, it would probably be for Ford, since that is what I have owned most often.)

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The Mazda Skyactiv engines are some of the best in their class. The problem is not the engine refinement, but the poor cabin sound proofing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ugh – hence Mazda’s perpetual niche status.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Their niche status is probably due to the lack of dealer network than anything else. The vehicles themselves may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re competitive with what else is out there. Problem is there just aren’t that many dealers, especially not outside of bigger city areas. Plenty of places with populations of 20,000-50,000 and the nearest Mazda dealer is 50+ miles away. Most people don’t want to go 100mi round trip for service.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        I don’t think that they are quite as competitive as we’d like to think. For the base price price of a Mazda6 Grand Touring ($31,300) you can get a Honda Accord EX-L V6($30,745). With the Honda you’ll get a slightly bigger car, with far more power. Sure, it’s not going to have the “driving dynamics” of the Mazda6, but it will hold it’s value much better and is a much quieter ride.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Mandalorian,
        When I was working in the Northern Territory a 700km round trip had to be made to get my Mazda serviced. The difference was you often got up over 160kph in places.

        I had the vehicle serviced twice by Mazda and after that did my own. The drive was great, but not when you had other things to do.

        Darwin is one of the best places, an oasis in the middle of nowhere.

        • 0 avatar
          64andahalf

          Regarding Darwin being “an oasis in the middle of nowhere”…I had dinner in Darwin and essentially was eating out of a gas station because there were so few places in town…very weird.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It’s not even that. Volkswagen sells far more vehicles in my area, and its dealer network is just as sparse. I don’t think Mazda is even on most people’s radar. The first place they stop is Ford or Toyota or Honda or Kia, and they find something that suits their needs…and that’s that. Mazda doesn’t even elicit a thought.

        Which is too bad. Because the cars are good. And actually, the six is the only one that struggles with road-noise problems, in my opinion. The 3 is cramped, but it feels every bit as tight as a Golf. The CX-5 is a joy in a sea of blah, and I say that having had personal time with one for a whole month while my car was repaired. And I really like what I’ve seen of the new CX-9.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Mazda’s problem is that they have no “buy me” story for the market at large. “Fun to drive” only appeals to a small segment of the car buying market.

        • 0 avatar
          amancuso

          Mazda has far more NVH than any VW I’ve driven. They do perform marginally better in the twisties and have “nicer” (Though that’s subjective) interiors.

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          Kyree,
          First, you have some great insights, I’m not sure if you’ll see this as I’m late to the party this time.
          Second, we had a CX-9 (2013) and the fairly good shape of the body (for wind noise) combined with the power of that 3.7 V6 was intoxicating. We got the FWD just to get even more perfromance per pound of SUV, and it really worked. Plus, we went with the 18-inch wheels to save some rotating weight and ride. What a vehicle. We HATED to trade it in, but baby strollers and ejector seats are harsh on non-vans.
          The new CX-9 looks marvelous, but we loved that V6 SO much that I’m not really sure the lack of grunt would be tolerable. The review here seems to bear that out. Since our van lease is due in a year, we’ll definitely shop it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’m always surprised that Mazda does not compete better on price. The CX-9 in particular has always been too expensive. And now the 6 is too expensive as well.

          Not well known, not cheap, not a ton of dealers (and the Mazda dealers around here look old/sketch), prior rust reputation, and 1980’s NVH.

          Yeah, not loving it – Miata excepted.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Still need s RWD or AWD and another 100hp to entice me in the least. You need to be able to pull off a passing maneuver or merging maneuver and 184hp just doesn’t cut it. It’s acceptable in the Miata as it’s so light and has always been under powered and doesn’t really have any competition.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      This car looks so good, then you realize that it only comes with a regular 4 cylinder and you get sad inside. Probably would benefit sales greatly to have a performance model of this car, even if it wasn’t the top seller.

    • 0 avatar
      donatolla

      I successfully pass and merge in my ’14 Mazda6 all the time. It is far from underpowered for 95% of the driving you would do on the road. People see 184hp and immediately think slow…and I’m willing to bet none (or very few) of them have actually driven the car. People need context. It wasn’t long ago that the 150hp V6 in your family sedan was “ample.” It’s the right amount of power for a mid-size sedan when you’re looking to balance acceleration with driving dynamics, comfort and mileage. Prior to the 6, I had a ’08 GTI, then an ’08 TSX. The Mazda 6 is simply not slower in everyday traffic than either of them, is more comfortable, handles at least as well or better, AND gets way better mileage (it’s not even close). Would the GTI out sprint it in a straight line? Maybe. But it would be a lot closer than you think. The TSX was slower. I even have fun on on-ramps.

      Bonus: It’s also been absolutely bullet proof in my three years with the car.

      Mazda’s problem is that they built a car that has everything everybody *needs*, but didn’t include the *wants* people have posters for and watch Clarkson rave on about.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        donatolla, you’re right about 184hp in a modern mid-sized not being slow. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of power. It’s just that it’s not going to compete with the optional engines available in the competition. A zoom zoom company should have a more powerful option available (for 20% of their customers).

        Personally, I’ve been underwhelmed with the interiors on Mazdas. Granted, I’ve only been in mid-level trim. Perhaps the top trim is nice.

        I do agree with Tim, the Mazda 6 (horrible name) has the best exterior lines of any mid-sized on the market. Looks even better in person.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Don’t you know, if a car has anything less than 400HP it’s impossible to pass anybody on the highway with it. Pretty sure claiming that it’s unsafe to have a car with less than 400HP is how most of these commenters convince their wives to let them buy something ridiculous.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Every notice how every automaker seems to get only parts of the car right? We typically see beautiful cars that lack refinement, or refined cars with poor styling – as if the stylists are also the engine designers of the chassis engineers. Why can’t these automakers just give us the whole package?

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      “Pick two”

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      That’s the magic of the Accord and new Civic, they’re excellent cars (except the styling is subjective, personally I love the way they look). They’re efficient, nice to own, fun to drive, they can be pretty zippy, and they have fantastic manual transmissions. Shame about the brakes though.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        yamahog,
        And let me guess an unbaised comment.

        There are people who have an affinity for most any brand like yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          I’m not really a Honda fanboy. I’m a fanboy for Yamaha and Toyota.

          I respect Honda engines, and I respect Honda engineering but I sold my old Honda for a Toyota because I had brake issues and didn’t like the noise.

          There’s a reason that the Honda Accord wins so many Car and Driver 10 best awards – it’s a ~25k car that does everything very well. Frankly, you have to pay at least 2x as much for cars that are significantly better and 4x as much for cars that are unequivocally better than the Accord. They’re good cars. I don’t think that’s biased.

          • 0 avatar
            tekdemon

            Speaking of which, I do wish Yamaha and Toyota would collaborate on high power versions of their cars again.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I find myself quite fond of Honda, again, all of a sudden. And you’re right. Aside from the weird wheel designs and the oversized 19s on the Sport, the Accord’s refresh has been an amazing success. And the Civic almost negates the need to buy an Accord in the first place; it feels very uncompromising compared to most mid-sizers.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          That’s interesting, because the “oversized 19’s” on the Sport model are the only decent-looking wheels in the current Accord lineup. And the Accord interior is just plain weird compared to the Mazda6. Which is not to say that I don’t like the Accord…

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    They should just buy V6s from Toyota and shove them in there.

    The Mazda team has mastered the trick of making a great chassis – they are not engine builders. They should do what they do well and use their deep-pocketed friend for what they do best.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      x a million

      Toyota makes really solid, efficient, and light engines. That’s probably the advantage of having 5 major engine families and being the second/third largest engine manufacturer in the world. They can bring so much money to bear on design and assembly.

      Heck, Mazda and Subaru are the only Japanese automakers which have trouble making solid engines (though Subaru is getting better). Honda makes sweet engines. Nissan makes fast engines. Toyota makes light engines. Mitsubishi makes tough motors.

      If I were king, GM would make all the V8s, Honda would make V6s and fast inline 4s, and Toyota would make efficient inline 4s.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Since when do Mazda’s not rust?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Ford sure thought Mazda was an engine builder. They’re still using many MZR-derived engines in their vehicles, including the 2.3L Ecoboost engine.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    So, which Japanese automaker will Mazda ultimately get folded into?

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Pardon my ignorance, but when did the Mazda 6 and Fusion diverge with different 2.5’s? I know it’s the same old in the base Fusion, and this is a Skyactiv mill. But when was the split, 2013?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the major divergence was when Ford turned them into EcoBoosts, and Mazda went to SkyActiv. as far as I know the normally-aspirated 2.5 in the Escape and Fusion S is more or less the same Mazda engine with some minor tweaks here and there.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        The skyactiv’s are completely different from the shared 2.5. Ford still uses the 2.5, but the Skyactiv engines are significantly different. They have weird things to make the compression ratios work (like significantly more obloid cylinders).

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          The Ford 2.5 Duratec is derived from the old Mazda MZR engine family which powered the 1st and 2nd generation Mazda3’s.

          The SkyActiv 2.5 is not related, as far as I know. SkyActiv started with the 2nd generation 3, when the two engines were the 2.0 SkyActiv and the 2.5 MZR. With the 3rd generation, the MZR went away.

          Needless to say, the 6 and 3 share engines.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Yamahog, back to class. You’re just spewing none sense with Mazda’s obloid cylinders.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The two cars split when the current Mazda6 was released.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I love Mazdas, just wish I knew for sure that they figured out rust.

    I’ve owned 4 Mazdas, now I own THE anti-enthusiast car, a grounded to the ground Camry V6.

    The Camry may be ugly on the outside, but she has a heart of 2GR-FE gold.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      my BIL bought a 2008 Mazda 3 sedan (new,) and it’s been through a Michigan winter every year yet I didn’t see any visible signs of rust the last time I saw the car a couple of weeks ago. It has, however, had one of the rear coil springs break right where it seats on the lower control arm.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I had a 2006 Mazda3, just two years older than your BIL’s, and it had rust in the rear quarter panels.

        Also had a 2003 Mazda6, same deal, rust in the rear fenders.

        No matter how cool they look or drive, I think I would have a hard time giving Mazda my money again.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          they changed their pre-paint body prep sometime around 2006 or so. I seem to remember they were previously using a simpler conversion dip prior to priming, which wasn’t as good as what the rest of the industry was doing. around 2006 they changed to a multi-stage e-coat process.

          plus, coating and protection is only one part of rust prevention. the other big part is in the body design itself, by not designing in “traps” for water and corrosives to get into and not be able to drain back out.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            You sure do have a lot of insider knowledge, Jim (which we all appreciate). Did you work somewhere in the industry at some point?

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            JimZ, there was a PPG/Axalta/Whoever guy on here a few years ago stating they were also doing some sort of half 4ssed phosphate process (or maybe even a steel plating that was inferior). F*ck me for not saving the comment, but it was chocked full of good info. All I remember is that they cheaped out and were using an inferior substrate or a cheaper treating material.

            A lot of OEM’s use a single dip ecoat stage. So long as you get a good thickness, I don’t see how a multi dip can help with corrosion protection.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I think the “multiple stages” are mostly surface prep. The first dip in this video still shows metal after emerging from the bath, the second looks like the e-coat/primer.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtwBe8_4kGw

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            DW made a comment in 2014:
            here’s a white paper I’ll cite when I find it – it may be posted on Mazda’s website.

            Essentially, in 2006, Mazda revamped its galvanic bath and electrocharge cathode paint process, and then improved upon it dramatically in 2008, due to NA rust issues, where road salt & corrosive brine is used more so than any other part of the world.

            2nd comment:
            Rumor has it that a bunch of Japanese employees – that came in with ? I can’t remember his name but he was a former Porsche engineer of Japanese descent – in Hiroshima were literally specifically fired and shamed because of the rust issues Mazda was having with the Protege, MPV and a complemented models in the early 2000s, and specifically because of the Canadian market (which represents an outsized base of Mazda customers on a population adjusted basis – as does Australia/New Zealand) rust issues.

            The post I remember reading had something to do with either the phosphate dip, the galvanized hot dip (prior to pretreat / ecoat) or something to do with the ecoat itself.

            I may be wrong, who knows.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            I found another comment regarding Japanese OEM pretreat. I still am recalling a specific materials ‘cost cut’ from a TTAC article circa 2011-2013. Ugh this is killing me.

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/

            Comment by bullnuke:
            The major problem with older Honda vehicles corroding was the coating system they used for many years. I worked for a major OEM coatings manufacturer from the early ’90s until 2009. We all wondered back then why Honda hadn’t yet gotten onto the electrocoat-dip process (they were still using a phosphate wash of some sort IIRC) prior to priming/painting/clearcoating. Honda back then favored JDM paint manufacturers and coating systems. I believe that they waited until the late ’90s – early ’00s to start using electrocoat. We painted a couple of colors for them as a test but they booted us out because of “appearance” issues (read: price). Toyota and Nissan used us as well as did most of the Big Three, BMW and Mercedes. They didn’t readily corrode. Honda vehicles did.

            Edit: phosphating or a Zirconium based coating (which is replacing phosphate for Aluminum substrates and some steel applications – god help the steel bodies) can yield a surface that looks like raw steel. The video would have to be a lot more detailed to reveal the surface change. Depends on their coating thickness requirements I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            This. My 1st Gen Miata was rust free in 180k miles EXCEPT for the spot where the convertible top drained under the rear quarter panels. They got clogged at some point and filled up with water and eventually required a rather costly repair as they were structural.

        • 0 avatar
          donatolla

          As JimZ said, they’ve figured it out. ’04 Mazda3 rusted in all the places you see them rust within 2 years. I’ve had a ’14 Mazda 6 for three years and there is zero rust on the car.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” there is zero rust on the car.”

            Lots of old Mazda 323, 626, 929 and Japan-built Mazda pickup trucks still running around in the desert Southwest where I live.

            No rust on them either. Rust is relative to where a person lives.

            While these old Mazda vehicles may no longer be a primary mode of transport for the owner, people continue to drive them to this day because they were overbuilt, just like my 1989 Camry V6, and last forever.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            HDC,

            you mean a bunch of cars running around in a dry area where salt is rare aren’t rusty? Really?

            Say it ain’t so!

            “Rust is relative to where a person lives.”

            yes, but up until recently Mazda was a lot worse than the competition.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            JimZ, Mazda probably was the worst rusting brand in certain parts of the US, but they’ve held up pretty well in my area.

            We don’t have a Mazda dealership near where I live. The nearest one is 75 miles away, yet people who choose Mazda willingly drive that far to buy one.

            My best friend tried to buy a 2016 Mazda6-manual from that dealership 75 miles away, but they weren’t willing to deal, offering him an Accord 4-cyl stickshift instead.

            And there must be a market for these old desert southwest used cars because we see transporters haul them out of our area, heading East.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Camrys are better than most of the B&B will admit.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I haven’t seen a Mazda with noticeable rust issues since the end of the 1st generation 3, and even then it was only the early ones. We have a 2010 2nd gen one with zero sign of corrosion from mid-atlantic winters at this point. We have friends with an 08 who would echo the sentiment.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Honestly, the Camry V6 handles quite well, and it deservedly has a large fanbase of enthusiasts. Any car can be an enthusiast car, from a Miata to a Bentley to something with a 3800 in it.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @Kyree – You are a true enthusiast. Thank you.

        There’s always something to appreciate in every car — the handling, its history, the way the needles move on startup. I’m a Mazda fanboi so some of these comments hurt! Ouch!

    • 0 avatar
      turbosaab

      I’ve seen several cases of fender rust on the 2010-2013 Mazda3 models. Otherwise seem well-designed and well-built, sincerely curious what they do so wrong that the cars rust like crazy.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    a 5 minute back road blast of a drive does not make up for the 15 minutes of real work driving that lets you know what Mazda missed, add in the spotty dealer network and you get niche player.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Since the Mazda 6 isn’t great, there may just be too little room in between the GTI and the Camry SE for this car.

  • avatar
    chris8017

    As a 2nd Gen Mazda6 owner I’m dissapointed to hear that the new SkyActiv 2.5L in the 3rd Gen isn’t smooth, i.e. they haven’t improved it at all from the 2nd Gen.

    The 2.5L MZR in my ’11 Mazda6 sounds like a tractor engine. A part of me wish I chose a Honda Accord after I drove my brother’s 08 Coupe with the buttery smooth Honda 2.4L.

    Too bad there isn’t a Honda 2.4L engine in this car with more sound deadening.

  • avatar
    scdjng

    Personally I think automotive journalists are too picky. When the 6 came out, all journalist said it was the best midsize sedan. Now they all say it’s loud and unrefined. What gives?

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Every car is the best thing ever, until the next best thing ever comes out.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The Mazda6 has always been loud and unrefined. Its just they were gaga over its handling and weight (relatively low because it’s loud and unrefined), and of course Mazda gave every US auto journalist wet dreams teasing a diesel variant.

      The competition (namely Fusion and Accord) caught up to be close enough in dynamics since this gen’s release, while also being quieter and more refined, and so auto journalist are not afraid to point that out anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        How loud is loud? According to my smartphone meter (hah!) my Jetta TDI is about 55db with the windows and sunroof closed. Sitting at my office today with nobody around and the A/C on I’m showing 50-60db.

        • 0 avatar
          Macca

          You need to get a decent SPL meter, like the Radio Shack model No. 33-2050 – it can be had for $10 second hand. Of course this comes with the caveat that car interior sound level measurements are very difficult to compare across publications due to environmental and measurement differences, but there’s no universe in which a Jetta TDI has a cruising interior sound level of 55 dB(?) – unless you were cruising at <20 MPH, I guess.

          When Car & Driver tested the Jetta TDI in 2013, they measured a 70 MPH cruising level at 70 dBA (http://media.caranddriver.com/files/2013-volkswagen-jetta-tdi-test-reviews-car-and-driver2013-volkswagen-jetta-tdi.pdf). A recent low measurement they posted was the new Maxima which registered 66 dbA @ 70 MPH. The '16 Jaguar XE was 68 dBA, for example. Neither took place at the same location as the Jetta test in 2013.

          The Jetta's 70 dBA test was run at the Transportation Research CPG track in East Liberty, OH. When they tested a '14 Mazda3 sGT (2.5L) there it registered 72 dBA @ 70 MPH and later 74 dBA in 6spd guise. So in the case of the Mazda3, that's far too loud for the segment today, which averages closer to 70 dBA @ 70 MPH from C&D tests.

          Perhaps it was the weighting or a limitation of your phone's mic, but it doesn't seem to be picking up the higher SPLs versus the likely-fairly-accurate reading of 50-60 in your office.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          dB doesn’t tell you the whole story. sound pressure level (SPL) only says how “loud” something is. It doesn’t tell you what it sounds like. There are alternative measurement methods (such as Zwicker) which try to quantify the “quality” of the sound by considering both the magnitude (SPL) and the frequency content of the sound, and rating it in phons or sones. In short, you can have two “things,” be they cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, whatever. Both can measure, say, 60 dBA on a sound meter. but if the sound from one is relatively spectrally balanced noise, and the second has some discrete whines, chirps, or squeaks, then the second one will be perceived as louder and more annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Three years ago, I wrote the following in a 6 review, current at the time, obviously. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2013/04/2014-mazda-6-review-canada-test-drive.html

      “It’s not a Honda Accord. This means there are vibrations at idle. It also means the Mazda’s sliding armrest slides when I don’t want it to, the rotary control knob on the centre console doesn’t operate with the smoothness I’d expect, and the steering wheel control stalks are too heavily weighted. And the 6 doesn’t quite find the balance between ride quality and cornering ability that Honda always masters with the Accord. Without sacrificing much agility, Mazda’s standard 17-inch wheels would have probably undone a bit of the 6’s crashiness, which is only manifested during conflicts between the 19-inchers and the worst potholes.

      It’s not a Ford Fusion. This means the infotainment centre is slow to react to inputs. The Mazda usually struggled to understand my voice; TouchMyFord’s Sync has no such struggles.

      It’s not a Toyota Camry. The Camry has instilled in many the belief that cars should isolate occupants from all that’s going on in the world outside. The Mazda 6 doesn’t want to do this, and thus it does not.

      It’s not a Nissan Altima. In the Altima, everything outside is visible. The windows are big; the beltline not too high. In the Mazda, nothing affects visibility more than the low point at which the roof meets the front windscreen. This brings the rearview mirror low and very close to the driver. Meanwhile, the A-pillar meets the driver’s door glass very close to the driver’s left eyebrow, depending on how bushy it is. The eyebrow, not the A-pillar.

      It’s not a Kia Optima. Topping out at $34,195 with a $2000 technology package, the top-end Mazda 6 is a couple hundred bucks more than a fully-optioned Optima. True, the equipment levels don’t entirely match up, but the Optima does have a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 90 more horses than the Mazda’s naturally-aspirated 2.5L. I wasn’t bothered by the Mazda’s lack of absurd Optima Turbo-like speed. I was bothered by the 6-speed automatic’s reluctance to kick down a gear or two when I prodded the throttle, and by the way it felt like it was producing 154 horsepower, not 184.”

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I really don`t understand the comment it is slow – it has class leading power from the four cylinder and a light weight. So apples to apples with the Camry I4, Fusion etc it is at least as fast if not slightly faster. Yes it doesn`t have a high powered version, but 80+% of buyers don`t buy that anyway.
        As for noise, it was quieter with the refresh and is class competitive, again people being picky to find something to complain about since it is reliable, fuel efficient, reasonably spacious, safe and stylish.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          “Yes it doesn`t have a high powered version, but 80+% of buyers don`t buy that anyway.”

          I think you’ll find that most readers of this site consider themselves enthusiasts. Even if only 20% of buyers would opt for the “more power” version, that’s a chunk of the market that you’re not going to get access with the current engine. If I’m spending $30k plus for a “premium” (not luxury) mid-sized sedan, it had better be pulling 250hp. Put in a V6 or the turbocharged model of the 2.5L from the new CX-9 and you’re have a hot seller, I think. It has the looks but not the power to match.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          Mike, when I test drove a Mazda6 with automatic, the car I drove felt slow merging onto the freeway because the automatic transmission was reluctant to downshift unless you stomp on the accelerator pedal. My impression was that the Mazda6 transmission programming was optimized to score 38mpg highway for the window sticker at the expense of annoying potential customers on the test drive. I test drove a 4cylinder/CVT Honda Accord the same day and the Accord never felt sluggish despite slower acceleration in instrumented tests.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            In my experience the transmission was very eager and willing to drop gears for acceleration. None of this holding a gear for fuel economy purposes and adversely affecting drivability.
            As fro fuel economy the Mazda actually gets real world economy that matches the sticker. They are actually to be trusted. Look at fuelly, or my 500 mile drive to North Carolina which averaged 38mpg.

            As for the comment about the 20% who do buy a V6 model – I agre the 6 is not for them. However Mazda, due to limited resources, made the correct decision to focus on the main market. I expect with the turbo 2.5L they have now that the next generation 6 (due in 3 years or so) will have a higher powered model. Then the complainers can find something else to complain about.

            I recall when the 6 first came out that people said the screen was too small amongst other nit picky complaints. So they fix that within 2 years (and no word from those complainers about the same sized Corolla screen being a problem). So it is always something to complain about. At least it doesn’t look ugly like the new Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Timothy,
        When I’m “talking” to my Mazda I found it didn’t understand me as well.

        I found it the way vowels are pronounced. Words like “fan” must be pronounced with a proper English accent, ie, “fan” is pronounced “phaan”. It works.

        I actually consider my infotainment system a complete entertainment system because I get people to interact and see if my BT50 will do as requested.

        I does understand when I ask to call friends, as the recorded voice is my own.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “I found it the way vowels are pronounced. Words like “fan” must be pronounced with a proper English accent, ie, “fan” is pronounced “phaan”. It works.”

          maybe because it (and you) are in Australia, and the system is set for Australian “English?”

          Tim’s in Canada, which for the most part is close to American English.

          You (and the British) on the other hand, don’t so much speak the language as chew on it and spit it out.

  • avatar
    cblais19

    One of the most impressive things to me about the Accord 4cyl EX-L I just leased is how hard you have to work the throttle to get the engine to make serious noise. In most around the town driving, the CVT and DI engine gives you effortless cruising that rarely goes above 2500RPM. Even standing outside the injector clatter is nearly imperceptible, a massive difference from my BMW with the N20 and quieter then the wife’s Golf TSi as well. Significantly less road and wind noise then a Mazda6 I test drove, and avoiding the 19″ wheels means a very composed ride as well.

    I will say that the Mazda’s interior is fantastic though, excepting that silly cheap “HUD”. Little things like the pleather padding on the center console knee touch points and the contrasting colors put most competitors to shame. Pity about the commiserate higher pricing and polish issues.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    As much as many here would not admit it, most buyers want a quiet car. To them, that means quality and value for your money, this more than explains why this thing does not see as well as it should, based on its driving dynamics and all the accolades that the auto media bestows on it and the Mazda 3 as well.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Still has a road noise problem? That killed the pre-2013 6 for me despite liking just about everything else. Has anyone compared ride quality and road noise for trims without these retarded 19″ wheels? That’s a beautiful interior and combined with the sheetmetal and powertrain (it’s good for a 4-cylinder) it seems like a great sedan if the ride and noise can be abated somewhat.

    I haven’t had the occasion to drive this generation of 6, but I have driven the 3 with this engine and I don’t understand some of the disdain for it. It didn’t seem unrefined to me, but perhaps I expect different out of the C-segment and our own midsize sedan is an Altima with the 2.5 four cylinder that sets the absolute floor for NVH.

    The 6 also isn’t slow. The 3 was responsive and quick with this engine and instrumented tests show the 6 to be barely behind it and one of the quickest base 4-cylinder midsize sedans. It’s slow compared to a Camry V6, but not a Camry 4 cylinder. The Mazda 2.5 may be a disappointing powertrain ceiling, but seems like a really high floor.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Exactly – if people actually drove it and were fair minded they would not nit-pick. In no way can it be called slow. People complain about turbo engines and CVT transmissions and the Mazda has neither and yet they still complain.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    What’s kept me away from considering it is EVERYBODY complains about the noise level.

    I just don’t understand how in this day and age a car manufacturer can’t find the money to make their top sedan quiet. It’s not rocket science, they’ve known how to make a quiet car for a long time now.

    Otherwise, it’s a great looking car, one of my favorite. But a loud car is a miserable ownership experience. I got rid of a Subaru because it was just so fatiguing to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The problem is in order to make the Mazda6 quieter they have to add more sound deafening. Which not only adds cost but also weight.

      Mazda already has issues competing on costs (their cars are usually not as well equipped compared to similar priced competitors) and handling, which is Mazda’s trump card, will suffer when more weight is added.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        If they ever want to sell at even remotely competitive volumes, they may want to consider adding that bit of weight. The 6 is fairly light–3300lbs or so, but a Camry is no heavier and doesn’t require cranking the radio at expressway speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        I’ve always thought the “weight” argument was canard. Modern, sound deadening foam is is incredibly light.

        Somehow, the car companies never have an issue with the “weight” issue when it comes time to put 20″ rims on a car as standard equipment.

        And you’d be amazed how many manufacturers don’t even use anything in say the door cavities or wheel well area. Something like 5 lbs of foam would be a game changer rather than just sheet metal for insulation.

        Other car companies have figured it out. A Camry is incredibly quiet, yet Mazda just can’t make a quiet car because the engineering challenges are just too great and they don’t have the R&D budget?

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          If you’ve ever looked closely at a Lincoln Mark VIII of over 20 years ago there is strategically placed foam, and it was a very quiet highway car even on cheap tires. Ford clearly put a lot of effort into NVH, and had a large V8 car with a curb weight of 3700 lbs.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “I’ve always thought the “weight” argument was canard. Modern, sound deadening foam is is incredibly light.”

          That much is true. But there’s also acoustic glass for sound deadening windshields, active motor mounts to reduce engine vibration, more expensive tires to reduce road noise, and a well designed body will a low coefficient of drag and properly placed side view mirrors to reduce wind noise. All this adds weight and cost.

          Oh, and I almost forgot noise canceling tech found in premium and luxury cars.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Eh. I’ll take sound deadening and the OEM can pay for it (in weight and bill of materials) by trading the 20 inch chrome rims for 15 inch steelies.

    • 0 avatar
      Corollaman

      Honda was guilty of that as well up to a few years ago, then they wised up.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m still bewildered by the fascination with the 3/6. The 3 rental I had was as dynamically anodyne as the Golf TSI rental I had not long before it, but without the TSI’s deeply satisfying and regularly surprising torque. On the highway it was pretty inoffensive, but on two lane backroads it took forever to get to speed and was not particularly playful or communicative once it got there. Sharp contrast from my 09 Civic, which admittedly has an unfair advantage out of the box with hydraulic steering and a manual gearbox, and is now in another league with an intake, better tires and coilovers. Even stock though, while the Civic’s damping wasn’t as clean and quick, the steering floods with info by comparison, and the car wants to play at the limit. Sounds way better too, and is faster. Well, feels faster anyway- my 5spd is supposedly matched with the 2.0 6AT in a straight line. Definitely didn’t feel that way though, especially when making passes on 2 lane roads. I doubt that has changed with the current Civic. Worst part is the Golf got the same gas mileage as the 3i on the same exact roads and conditions. So that engine is a real lump.

    Maybe I drove a bad copy (though it seemed fine?)… but it did not seem all that. I would buy a Golf/Jetta/Passat over any Mazda just for the engine alone, because if my experience is indicative at all they drive just the same, which is not very well in the context of an enthusiast.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      For me at least, the Mazdas have a sense of feedback and a lightness of touch that is lacking in the VWs, which go for a heavy, solid sensation instead.

      The reality is the Mazda6 is still a midsize car though, with a corresponding size and weight. It just happens to be 5% less refined than an average mid-sized car, and 5% more fun to drive.

      Interesting comment about steering feel… compared to my 2008 Civic Si, which has electric power steering, a 2016 mazda 3 feels at least as good, if not even better, and that is with camber bolts and lower profile summer tires helping out the old civic. The brake pedal feel in the Mazda is clearly better. I find the steering on both to be good, although it did take me a while to get used the to electric vs hydraulic sensation when I first switched. The brake feel on the Civic Si is not so good.

      • 0 avatar
        cblais19

        The Golf actually has a fantastic lightness to it with how nimble it feels. Steering is nicely weighted to urban environments as well, but still feels great being hustled along backroads. All that with a superb ride and very good NVH – frankly puts the 3 to shame as far as I’m concerned excepting fuel economy, and has a better suite of drivers assistance tech for 2016 as well.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Interesting contrast in the impressions. I wouldn’t say either car handles badly, but I didn’t get much in the way of communication or fun. They both had high levels of grip and surefootedness but no feedback or playfulness. Again my non-Si Civic’s stock suspension was not as buttoned down, but part of that looseness was playfulness. Brake wise I don’t remember either being problematic…. brakes on the Civic are good when fluid is fresh but bad once it isn’t. Civic WILL trail brake though whereas the others won’t. If I had to pick between the two it would definitely be the Golf- everything else was pretty much equal but man that engine was something else. Felt like a V8 by comparison. You can outpace most traffic without shifting above 4K.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Your username gives a good idea why you don`t “get” or want to get Mazda’s. I find it interesting that quite a few Honda/Toyota fans (like CJ) complain regularly against domestic brands and US manufacture (and CVTs and turbos) yet then criticise Mazda who are typically Japanese made, don`t use CVTs, don`t have turbos (except for the new CX9) and are reliable. It seems like praising Mazda somehow in their mind disses Honda/Toyota.

      That you would buy a VW over a Mazda just shouts your bias.

      • 0 avatar
        cblais19

        Probably because a Honda has 90% of the sporty factor (or more, depending on your preferences) but has significantly better refinement. For a daily driver I’d much rather have a CVT anyway, no automatic better in commuting traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I had a 6 rental as well recently. It drove well and although it wasn’t a rocket, I thought it had enough power. It was a good rental car, but I would never buy it or any other Mazda.

          The NVH wasn’t great. The interior was cheap feeling, but most of all it just didn’t have that feeling of solidity. Slam the door, it doesn’t sound like a bank vault. Mazdas in general just don’t feel solid and planted.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Maybe the newer ones are better but I’d hardly call Hondas refined. They have only just begun to get a handle on road noise. My Civic is about as loud as something from the 90s. Thankfully though most of that noise is good noise- the engine sounds great with none of that nasty DI clatter.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I almost bought a 2015 Accord Sport – very good car. Depends on the CVT as to which transmission is the best. The Mazda 6 speed traditional transmission is very well regarded as well. So reasonable people can have different opinions without thinking the other choice is inferior.

          As you say it depends on your preference. If only more people understood that rather than nit pick.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          Honestly, I’d like to see a Mazda6 and an Accord Sport head to head comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        No bias. I’ve owned and driven a wide array of cars from different brands, and I like pre-Skyactiv Mazdas. I was actually excited to see they had the 3 available for rent, and I specifically requested it so that I could see what it was about. I gave it more than a fair shot and my sentiments are based 100% on experience.

        To a large degree I can’t blame Mazda, I guess. Every car I’ve owned has or had hydraulic steering. So by comparison the Mazda’s steering felt terrible. Actually, I get better steering feedback from my racing simulator rig. But EPS doesn’t explain the boring, nose heavy chassis balance or the soggy throttle response. The car was just not fun to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Thanks for the extra detail – so any car using electric steering would be bad in your view. Fair. It’s weight distribution is no worse than an Accord or comparable car so it cannot be more nose heavy than others.

          You didn`t find it fun – sorry. A lot of people do.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            All EPS isn’t bad. My wife’s 07 Rabbit has it and while I wouldn’t call it great steering it’s better than any modern EPS system I’ve experienced outside of an S2000. But the current generation of economy car EPS seems to be really bad. Both of these are better than Hyundai/Kia’s systems… those are downright unacceptable. I could not wait to take the Kia Soul rental I got back because of that awful steering.

            Chassis balance goes beyond weight balance. Like I said my car trail brakes and has a much more neutral feel than the other cars. The Golf and 3 both just surrender to terminal understeer when you push them. They don’t want to rotate and they don’t tighten their line much when you ease off the throttle. They both just seemed tuned for max safety at the expense of fun. I didn’t like it.

            I’m a little bit of an old school guy I guess… the current crop of economy cars are a lot nicer than what I’m used to as far as build quality and design, but they definitely aren’t as fun to drive. I think everyone needs to go drive some old hydraulic power steering equipped cars and recalibrate our expectations. I’m going to be holding onto my Civic for as long as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            smartascii

            Mike, I think the Mazda does what just about every other new car does, which is neuter the steering, throttle and gearbox in the quest for another tenth of an mpg. For many people who are used to older cars, the lack of a throttle cable makes new cars feel disconnected and sluggish. EPS does the same in most applications (though not all), and all rentals in the US are automatics, so… I can’t help but think that, for a person who’s set on a new car and test drives several in the segment, a Mazda would be among the more engaging options, but for anyone coming out of an analog, tactile older car, nothing with a monroney sticker is going to seem as good.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Exactly- that’s a good way to put it smartascii. Compared to an old car response is definitely blunted. I hate how cliché that sounds but that’s the best way I can describe it. Electronic throttles are not bad though. My old 350Z, my current Civic and my wife’s Rabbit all have them, and aside from not being able to play with the throttle under the hood I don’t notice a difference. With these new cars, even in manual mode throttle response is not great, despite having way more power than older cars I’ve driven.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “That you would buy a VW over a Mazda just shouts your bias.”

        Money talks, you well aware of what walks.

        Yes, one’s preference for a certain brand can definitely be considered bias but it seems you’re unwilling to give the benefit of the doubt.

        Two cars we’re driven. One, in this case, the Golf, was preferred. I’m gonna take an educated guess that you like the 3. Do you hear that sound? It might be your bias caterwauling.

        A loaded 6 is around 34K. I’d take a GTI everyday of the week over it. And it’s only two grand from a Golf R.

        I know which I’d choose.

        And yes I’m biased. Not because of the badge but I’ve driven the cars and know what I like and what I don’t.

        The 6 is a fine car. If that’s what you want. I’d choose something else.

        Choice is good.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I bought a 2016 Mazda3 hatch with the 2.5L engine and manual transmission. My previous car (which I’ve kept) was a 2002 Miata, and compared to that the Mazda3 is pretty dull. Everything happens through a thick layer of damping, especially throttle response. That’s my biggest disappointment with the car. That, and the gearing, conspires to make the car feel slower than the 184 hp figure would suggest. Hinging the throttle pedal at the bottom was a dumb idea, too. I can’t heel-toe very well in it. And yes, it’s loud if the road surface is at all rough.

      The real reason I got it over the Golf/GTI was storage space – I needed the extra length of the Mazda3’s hatch, and I don’t care about vertical space. I also prefer the 3’s interior and infotainment system. But I test drove a GTI just in case I liked it enough to make up for the practicality, and I didn’t. It was slower to settle into turns. The throttle lag was frustrating (again, probably because I’m used to the Miata’s responsiveness). The steering was slightly less feelsome and definitely less natural than the Mazda’s. The two cars I had before the Miata were lousy econoboxes, but they had manual steering and the Mazda3’s steering comes closer to feeling like that, except the little road vibrations are smothered by the electrical assist system’s friction.

      The Focus ST drives great but the interior makes me feel like I’m inside a kaleidoscope, and only the sedan version of the WRX was improved by the major facelift a few years ago. Oh, well. I’ll soon see what the aftermarket can do for the Mazda3.

      *edit* More comments on the 2.5L engine: redline’s too low and the engine’s not loud enough.

      • 0 avatar
        mazdaman007

        @carlisimo
        I own a 2015 Mazda 3 sedan also with the 2.5 and manual transmission and you pretty well nailed what I think about the car. I *really* dislike the bottom hinged accelerator pedal and the engine note during acceleration. It’s more refined for sure but much less fun to drive than my 2010 3 with the 2.5 MZR and manual transmission. Can’t beat the real world gas mileage on the SkyActiv though. I drive the crap out of it and it still returns 7.5L/100KM

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I got THIS close to buying a 2016 Mazda 6, but was pretty sure I couldn’t live with the meager 4 cylinder engine. I’d rather have less MPG and more HP. And I agree with Mr. Cain: the engine is buzzy and unrefined.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      These sorts of stories and comments drive me nuts. I’m in the market for a new car come this fall, and the Mazda 6 has been at the top of my list since I checked it out at an auto show, though I have yet to test drive one (didn’t want to waste a salesman’s time until I was ready to buy). The car is gorgeous outside, and the interior compares very favorably with those from BMW or other premium brands that I’ve driven. I was always a bit worried about the lack of power, but the 2.5L Skyactiv engine has comparable power output to other 4-cyl mid-size sedans like the Passat and Accord. Still, it’s mid-boggling to me that their top of the line mid-sized sedan is priced in line with everyone else’s, but is down by around 100 HP and 100 lb/ft of torque. How much better of a car would it be if they gave you the option of the 2.5L turbo 4 cylinder from the CX-9 and a little more soundproofing?

      • 0 avatar
        scdjng

        If you’re in the market for a car that stands out from the Camcords and is fun to drive, seriously give the 6 a look. My dad has a 2016 Touring with the manual and loves it. Throw it in a corner and you’ll love it. Plus the interior isn’t as loud as people make it to be. It’s also not that terribly slow. I would say it’s inline with the rest of four cylinder midsize sedans. I will say the real value of the 6 is the Touring trim. You get a lot of content for the money.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          I’ll be honest, that’s half the appeal for me, it’s a bit different. I really liked the Passat before Dieselgate came along (waiting on a buyout for my TDI…). I really like the Mazda6 because it stands out, looks great, and has a nice interior. But I keep thinking for the money I can get a lot more car from an Accord EX-L V6 or even Touring. Or I could go inexpensive and get the Accord Sport, or give in to my wife and get another crossover for the family. Decisions…

      • 0 avatar
        donatolla

        It begs to be driven. Set aside HP bias and drive one. It’s not slow. It would probably be the quickest if not for the pesky 4cyl in the Accord. I suspect it’s quicker than its fair share of V6’s too.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Notsofast – so I hope the car you did buy, in the interests of consistency, had a high powered turbo or V6.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m not surprised about the interior noise levels. One lift on the exterior door handles reveals a very tinny sounding hollow door with thin sheet metal and probably little in the way of sound deadening. And these were brand new 2016 models we were checking out! literally everything else including the Korean twins had a more quality sounding door open/close and the doors themselves feel more substantial.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Finally, 3 years after it’s release the 3rd generation 6 gets a review that speaks the truth!

    Personally most people I speak to think it’s also a hideous front end.

    Mazda just doesn’t it and they kinda never have. They’ve never been able to look at the good things about their products and improve on the bad part without fucking everything up. The first gen 6 was better than the current gen and gen 2 in all ways except it was too cramped and the 4 banger was under powered…so in gen 2 they fixed that but got rid of what made gen 1 stand apart and awesome, BODYSTYLES! Do they bring that back for gen 3? Nope they actually made the interior smaller and made the engine feel like a weak diesel.

    The sad reality is that nobody should really pay attention to mazda. What do they have to offer that’s better? Nothing. In every catagory there are better options with more engine options. Mazda has become nothing but a forgettable after thought. They’re Mitsubishi in 2007.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      That’s harsh. It’s true that the 6 is a dud, but the 3 and CX-5 are very competitive, and the Miata has no competition.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Of course the Miata has competition. They’re usually heavier, more powerful, and cost a bit more. And you know what? People pay the price.

        I like the Miata. I also think it needs more power. Quite a familiar refrain when speaking of Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Yeah, not like the Miata hasn’t been in production for nearly 30 years while a bunch of those heavier, more powerful competitors have fallen by the wayside. So perhaps they do pay more, but they only seem willing to do it once while people just keep buying the Miata.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            The Miata’s a nice car. Just needs more power.

            It’s great that it’s been in production close to 30 years. And yes heavier, more powerful, pricier competitors have come and gone.

            But some are still here and selling much better than the Miata, such as the Corvette.

            Some like the Z4 and Boxster sell much worse.

            Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Miata’s a bad car because it’s not.

            I’m looking forward to driving the 124. I’ve previously driven a 500 Abarth and it was fun.

            That engine, in a Fiata frame might just make enough of a difference with the added benefit and easier tuning.

  • avatar
    readallover

    It might help if Mazda dealers had more than 3 or 4 6`s on their lots at a time.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Mazda has never been able to produce a refined car. Every one I have ever ridden in has been noisy, with excess NVH and a crashing ride. Add to that a tinny structure, hit-or-miss interior pieces and a reputation for rust and one simply has to wonder why the automotive press still generally fawns over them. They are barely ahead of Mitsubishi as the bottom of the pack Japanese make.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Wow, way to be out of date. Rust is no longer an issue. As others have said it was resolved in 2005/2006 – late but done. As for the interior try and of the new models and you will find class leading material quality (CX9 is a great example of that). So other than that you were right!

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        You sure seem pretty emotionally invested in the positive portrayal of Mazda. It’s just a car man. Not to mention your defensiveness undermines what you are trying to achieve. If Mazdas are so great, they will be universally praised- there won’t be a need to defend them.

        Personally I don’t care what people think of my car. It got pretty middle of the road reviews. But I get excited every time I get to drive it. If the pleasure you get from your Mazda is from seeing it get great reviews maybe it’s not as good to you as you think it is….

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          No I just like accuracy. You seem pretty invested in Honda’s. To each their own. There is no defensiveness since Mazda’s are well praised except by a vocal few here who go from issue to issue (small screen – fixed, NVH – reduced, rust – no longer an issue etc etc).
          The pleasure I get is walking up to my Soul Red 6 and enjoying its design each time, as well as the drive home in comfort, safety and with good fuel economy. To each their own!

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Eh, depends on context. The scion iA (a Mazda 2 with an uglified mug) feels much more refined and seems better equipped than pretty much anything else at its $16k base price. The Mazda 6 isn’t up to snuff, or at least, it’s trying to be something that midsize car buyers haven’t been looking for since about 1995. And the press fawns over them because they’re the only non-premium manufacturer whose idea of “sport” isn’t confined to seat fabrics and body cladding.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Dodge/FCA can’t seem to convince people 4-Cylinder midsize sedans are sports cars, either.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        “And the press fawns over them because they’re the only non-premium manufacturer whose idea of “sport” isn’t confined to seat fabrics and body cladding.”

        Sweet Jesus, yes!

        Although the Accord Sport supposedly has +5 HP, strut tower braces, and those nice 19″ wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Lack of refinement is certainly holding them back. Pure driving experience is not high on most people’s criteria for a midsized sedan.

          Take Subaru, they were in a similar position not too long ago. Small Japanese make with a niche market and a lack of refinement. They took huge steps in the NVH area and sales shot up.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I tested a Mazda CX9 once, it was a very nice SUV.

  • avatar
    solo84

    2016 Mazda 6 GT owner here. Have had it since July of 2015 and its the second Mazda that I have owned, first one being a 2006 Mazdaspeed6 GT.

    Could it use more power? Sure. Many cars on the market could. But up high in the RPM range, I find it to be very impressive for passing or getting up to freeway speed. 184 horsepower doesn’t set my pulse raging, but all 184 horses are healthy.

    The NVH and refinement complaint somewhat baffles me. At cold start it is a bit on the noisier side due to the quick heat nature of the SkyActiv motor heating the cat for emissions. The process is explained in detail in the owners manual. 15 seconds pass and it quiets back down. The fuel economy on this thing is far and away one of it’s most impressive features. I average 510 miles to a full tank of regular.

    Can you hear the engine and road noise while driving? Yes. Surprise! Turn up the radio.

    I like the fact that you don’t see them often. I get compliments on it nearly everyday and I find that it was the most engaging to drive of the three new cars I was comparing (Accord EX-L, Subaru Legacy, and Kia Optima) and was also the best deal that I got of the three.

    The dealer network could use some growth. I had to drive 40 miles to get to the one I purchased from. But my dealership experience has been 10/10, free oil changes and all.

    I’m excited about what is in the Mazda portfolio and look forward to what’s in store. We live in a great automotive era.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      No need to defend your car man. If it makes you happy it makes you happy. Aside from the looks, interior layout and general refinement I wasn’t crazy about it. But that’s life. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone liked the same things.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Thanks for the explanation of the cold start clatter.

      What I find impressive is that Mazda achieves its handling and performance and mpg without resorting to tricks likes turbos or CVTs. It’s an authentic driving experience, especially when paired with a manual.

      Given a choice of compromises — some noise, some turbo lag, droning CVT — I’d take noise.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        How is a turbo, of for that matter, a CVT a trick?

        What else would you consider sleight of hand?

        Superchargers?

        Direct injection?

        Dual clutch transmissions?

        Any transmission with more than six gears?

        And what does “It’s an authentic driving experience” mean? Could you please list a few cars with inauthentic driving experiences and list those things that make it a mere imitation, and a less substantial one at that, than the truly authentic experience the Mazda6 offers.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          Eh? Did I ding a hubcap?

          Please don’t put words in my comments… I never mentioned any of those other items in your list.

          By trick, I mean compromises to achieve a goal, if at all. A hybrid is a trick to get high mpg, but Mazda gets very good (but not nearly as high) mpg without resorting to that “trick.” Admittedly, hybrids can be a very good trick… but the trade-off is added complexity.

          Similarly, Ford ecoboost engines use turbos in the hopes of high mpg, but in reality, they don’t get their EPA numbers. Turbos let a manufacturer post high mpg numbers on a monroney sticker, but it’s an illusion, trick, sleight of pen.

          By authentic driving experience, is that a trick question? It’s another phrase for “driver’s car.” You’ll see that phrase a lot if you read TTAC.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “By trick, I mean compromises to achieve a goal…”

            Lol. That’s funny right there. I don’t care who you are.

            A “trick” is a compromise to achieve a goal?

            Ah… I see.

            So, if I want a more powerful engine, I can increase displacement, or use forced induction.

            These two things would be “tricks” for my stated goal of increasing engine power.

            The compromise would be decreased fuel economy.

            Based on your definition, just about everything is a trick because *and you didn’t hear this from me* most cars are compromises.

            They use “tricks” to achieve a certain goal. Whatever goal the designers had in mind makes them “compromised” for other uses.

            “By authentic driving experience, is that a trick question?”

            No sir. No trick question. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever heard that phrase used before when referring to a driver’s car.

            As you said, you’ll see driver’s car a lot on TTAC (and other enthusiast sites).

            If you’d be so kind to point out three other instances of the phrase “authentic driving experience™” on TTAC or other sites it’d be most appreciated.

            This was an enlightening and dare I say amusing exchange.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            Re: “Driver’s Car” – So I must parrot enthusiast sites and use hackneyed phrases so that you can understand me?

            Did you intentionally misunderstand my response? Or do I have to dumb it down for you?

            Your misinterpretation is so loose and broad, you might was well say life is a compromise… which it is. But let’s stick to cars, shall we?

            Here’s an article where Ward’s calls out Ford’s Eco-Boost engines to get you started:

            http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/07/ford-ecoboost-poor-fuel-mileage-complaints-wards/

            Now go back and re-read my previous comment. You seem to find it amusing anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “So I must parrot enthusiast sites and use hackneyed phrases so that you can understand me?”

            Nope. As I mentioned in my earlier response, I’ve never heard that phrase used to describe an enthusiast car.

            You made it seem as if it’s a regular phrase used on TTAC. I just asked for other instances.

            “Did you intentionally misunderstand my response? Or do I have to dumb it down for you?”

            So now you have to “dumb” down things for me?

            LOL.

            How ’bout this. I know exactly what you’re saying. The way you said it was kinda lazy.

            Here’s the thing though. It doesn’t take much additional effort to use more concise language.

            You didn’t and we had a little fun.

            No harm, no foul.

            But you do understand when you say a turbo is a trick how that can be construed?

            While I agree with you that Ford and certain other automakers have used turbos to game test numbers.

            But that is not true of all manufacturers. I’m pretty sure you can name a few if you really try.

            So no, you don’t have to “dumb” down anything for me.

            Actually, I’m kinda hurt that you would even imply that but TITI (this is the internet).

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            “Nope. As I mentioned in my earlier response, I’ve never heard that phrase used to describe an enthusiast car.”

            You misunderstood me again. I am saying “authentic driving experience” = “driver’s car” but you won’t understand me if I use the former just because you’ve never seen the phrase before.

            Imagine if you heard “driver’s car” for the first time. Your reaction would be “What?? Every car has a driver, even semi-autonomous ones. What does driver’s car even mean?”

            ” The way you said it was kinda lazy.”

            One man’s originality is another’s laziness I suppose.

            No offense intended; I just feel trolled. But we agree, this is the internet.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    All of this could be solved with dropping in the new 2.5t, a few lbs of sound insulation, spot welds that every Japanese manuf. seems to be doing mid cycle
    Im a fan of what Mazda is doing though.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      You would think, but then some would complain about something else. You cannot please all the people all the time. Which is why Mazda doesn`t try and is not aiming for 10% of the market like Honda or others.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Exactly Cim
      I just dropped of another kid in Austin TX to join his brother, who is looking for another Concept Artist job and teaching photo shop design…and I got a chance to drive my 09 V6 Mazda6.
      It was fabulous again to drive that thing.
      Powerful and solid.

      And this latest with the turbo now being introduced to the CX9 will make me a true believe again.
      Right now this car barely makes it with the stick.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    According to Car & Driver (yeah, yeah):

    The run from zero to 60 mph took the same 7.0 seconds; the quarter-mile went by in 15.5 seconds

    That’s not bad for a 4-banger.

    On my way to work I often end up behind or in front of a lady in a newer 6. It’s a good looking car.

    Once I was short shifting – 5000 rpm – my ’09 Clubman S – not really accelerating hard but just playing until I hit the speed limit. The woman in the 6 was behind me and somehow took umbrage to this since she couldn’t pass me until I took my foot off the gas. And she zoom-zoomed up to 75ish (in a 50 zone) before slowing back down. Yeah, the 6 is definitely a little underpowered. But hey, I thought she was driving a 6 cylinder, so not bad at all.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    OK, so now it’s REALLY official — Mazda is the new Alfa Romeo.

    Drop-dead gorgeous looks, sporty, fun to drive, but not the most comfortable cruiser out there on the road.

    And just like Alfa Romeos, you either get it or you don’t.

    One more thing — from what I understand, Mazda is profitable. They seem to sell every car they make. Who cares if the car-buying majority likes their cars or not? They seem to have carved out a very nice niche for themselves, and it seems to work.

    Heck, they still make the MX-5 in a brand-new iteration now. Not a car for everybody, to be sure, but apparently for enough people to make its production economically feasible.

    I like what Mazda is doing. The automotive world needs brands like this.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Mazda had to partner with FIAT to attempt to make the newest Miata viable financially. I’d look for the car to go away if FIAT can’t help Mazda with the necessary economies of scale.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    “In a car which appears decidedly premium on the outside and inside, the head-up display’s plasticky flip-up screen and the high dashtop-mounted starter button are conspicuous afterthoughts.”

    I took a serious look at the 3 hatchback. It’s very highly recommended among enthusiasts.

    I was immediately put off (and ultimately decided not to buy) because of the “infotainment” display, which looked like somebody forgot to design a spot for the radio into the dashboard, so they glued a $50 Android tablet to the top of the dash.

    Now all the Mazdas seem to have this. Talk about an afterthought.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Everybody hates this design concept (which is not limited to Mazda). It’s done for a reason, though – to keep the infotainment screen close to your line of sight so you don’t look so far away from the road when you check it. I’m not saying that makes it pretty, or even okay. But it isn’t a design failure.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The alternatives are a high dashboard that makes the interior feel a lot more enclosed, or a screen that hides away when the car is off and you’re not in it to see whether it’s up or down so what’s the point?

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    I own a 2106 Mazda6 GT. And I like it for precisely the reason mentioned, like my RX8 before it, I can push it to its’ limits even just on a moderately wind-y road and have a blast driving it. That’s what I loved about the RX8 – WOT from light-to-light was actually possible without doing things that would get me pulled over or the car breaking free from the road.

    The interior is awesome, especially migrating from a 2011 RX8 it felt like I’d settled into a cockpit. With the full tech package it’s quite well decked-out.

    I once drove in a Mazda 3(!) around Leguna Seca. Let me tell you, once you do that, you realize how much fun it can actually be to drive a car near it’s limits, even when those limits aren’t anywhere near supercar speeds.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I’ll never understand the hate this website has for the 6. I have a 2016 6 Touring and I’ve owned it for 8 months and 8,000 miles. My wife and I both love it.

    We just took it on a 1,600 mile road trip with no complaints. There’s road noise, yeah, but no more than a comparably equipped Camry I’ve ridden in. Maybe our Kentucky roads are just different. Who knows. Either way, it’s not the coarse, loud, rattletrap box that reviewers on here make it out to be.

    My wife is NOT a car person and even she enjoys driving the 6. She says it is smooth and connected and easy to drive. And it is. If you haven’t driven one and are just listening to reviews, you’re going to think it’s a go-kart with doors that’ll jar your teeth loose at the first bump in the road. That’s simply not the case.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Hate?

      “Thankfully, in the Mazda 6, driving down a great road at any speed is enjoyable. The 2.5-liter loses its gruff edge at higher rpm and snarls instead. You’re not focusing on tire noise now that the sunroof is open and the fog is moisturizing your forehead. You’re appreciating the 6’s buttoned-down suspension and big wheels now.

      Communication is key. The steering is lively. The chassis jostles and jiggles and jives in all the right places in order to make you, the driver, part of the process. In sport mode, even the 6-speed automatic snaps off shifts at the right time. In manual mode, Mazda allows the driver to take control, permitting paddle pulls which initiate, rather than suggest, real shifts. Bang away at the redline if you like….

      Mazda deserves credit for sticking to its guns with the 6’s 2016 refresh and not watering down the package for a wider mainstream audience. But that credit is paid to Mazda’s account in greater car reviewer adulation, ….

      A true driver’s car, living and breathing with pent-up energy in an age of stupendously fast but sterile transportation modules.”

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Tim – you pick out one part of your review. But the rest, especially the first few paragraphs are not exactly glowing.

        • 0 avatar
          Timothy Cain

          Exactly. You visited The Truth About Cars. Truth often contains both good and bad.

          One thing is certain, there is no hate in me – or, I think I can safely say, in any other writer at TTAC – for a car that’s truly enjoyable to drive. But just because the 6 is a joy to drive swiftly doesn’t make it an outright success. And in this case, the market seems to agree, as a very small group of people who evidently enjoy driving purchase/lease a 6, while the overwhelming majority of midsize car buyers seek out more mainstream alternatives. I would argue that the 6 deserves greater success, that if more people gave the Mazda brand a chance that some would in fact end up in a 6 and not an Accord or Fusion. But it’s not surprising, given the car’s letdowns and in spite of its dynamic appeal, that the already unpopular 6 is steadily growing less popular, more rapidly than its competitors.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I agree you don`t write in a hateful way and it was your opinion which is valid. I do disagree with the notion that low sales means the car is bad and good sales means it is good. We all know that doesn`t hold true for a variety of reasons. There is no reason why the Camry sells (in retail) in similar numbers tot he Accord when that is a vastly better car (in quality, stylings and driving dynamics).

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            “And in this case, the market seems to agree, ”

            this should have no place in a car’s actual good or bad.
            That is simply popularity…and nobody knows why.

            However, I don’t see the hate in your review.

            All my experience with this car, as well as my own Mazdas, is it is undervalued.
            I can see how making a car noisier while trying to keep the weight down is important. So they are going for MPG and performance.

            And all of this is solved with a turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        “Hate” was a bad word choice on my part.

        What I mean is, of all the website reviews I have read on the 6 (and I’ve read almost all of them), TTAC is the most overwhelmingly negative one – by far.

        I have heard the complaints about the Camry. Boring, vanilla, plain-Jane, etc. I have heard the complaints about the 6. Loud, harsh, cheap-feeling, etc. The 6 is told to be more like the Camry and the Camry is told to be more like the 6. What’s the middle ground here?

        The fact is, in day-to-day driving, the 6 does not feel any rougher or louder than a Camry, Accord, or Sonata – at least not to me. And I have driven and/or ridden in all of them. In fact, my friend’s newer Sonata has about double the road noise my 6 does.

        As I said, my wife hates noisy cars. She praises the 6 for how smooth and easy to drive it is. We honestly don’t notice anymore road noise than normal. Perhaps my 6 slipped by with extra sound deadening, or else I am just hard of hearing.

        And, I never even hear the engine of this car unless I really get on it. Cruising down the highway at 65, all I hear is the wind coming through the sunroof, which I love and almost always have open.

        It’s a good car. The back seat is roomy, the trunk is huge (we fit two weeks’ of luggage in the trunk – including a beach umbrella and chairs), it gets great fuel economy, it has plenty of get-up-and-go, it looks great, and it’s fun to drive when you want to have fun and easy to drive when you don’t.

        I’m not just defending it because I own one. I’m defending it because it irks me that people don’t give it a chance.

        Kind of reminds me of the election. There are third party candidates who are qualified, but the two main parties are the only ones that are ever given attention.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          well…I am with you. Other than the silly 4 only philosophy, the 6 is one of my fav cars.
          Give me the turbo now.
          I LOVE my 09 V6. Solid and drives like its on rails.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    I just checked YouTube and found this Kelley Blue Book review of the 2016 Mazda 6:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH-cfjpNBqk

    They like it a lot, and specifically mention added sound insulation and significantly lower noise levels compared to previous iterations of the car.

    They also praise the feel and quality of the interior.

    What gives….?

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “They like it a lot, and specifically mention added sound insulation and significantly lower noise levels compared to previous iterations of the car.”

      Now that is interesting. The 2016 model had interior refinements and a new infotainment system, but this is the first I’ve heard of increased insulation. One always wonders if the press cars are ringers…

  • avatar
    SP

    I don’t know if it’s the 19″ wheels or what, but the noise and vibration complaints I have read about the new Mazda 6 don’t match up with my experience.

    I had a 2016 as a rental in December. I think it was Sport trim, so that should have 17″ or 18″ wheels. I thought it drove great. The ride is well-controlled, but smooth. The handling is very confident. I felt like I could drive it all day and enjoy every minute.

    I took a highway trip with my wife and 2 kids. This had a lot of elevation changes. I specifically drove it a little more enthusiastically than I otherwise would because I was skeptical of the 4-cylinder in this size of car.

    I came away thinking to myself, “This car is fast enough.” It’s not a sports car. That much is clear. But it never strained in moving 4 people and their stuff in some high-speed driving in a hilly state (PA). And it got at least 30 mpg hauling us around. That may not be the best you can do in 2016, but it pretty much beats compacts from one generation back, in terms of real world mileage.

    On the highway, I didn’t think the noise was intrusive at all. It’s not a Bentley, I will grant that. But I would consider it “quiet enough”. (I also drove the new 3, and I thought the noise level was a little bit high in the 3. I thought the 6 was quieter. I will also say that I thought the 3 was overall EXCELLENT for its class as an overall package.)

    I can understand people are a little put off by any negative comments in print or web reviews. I take them seriously as well. (I wondered about the negative comments on the steering feel in the new BMW 3 series, but when I drove it, I found out they were right – it’s numb.)

    But I urge anyone who is thinking of a car in the small or midsize class – Just go drive one of these. Either the 3 or the 6. I think I am a very picky guy, and I was impressed by both. Just try it before commenting, please.

    • 0 avatar
      cblais19

      I think that part of the issue comes from the 2.5 being a class competitive/leading engine for the lower trim models, but when you hit the 30k+ GT trim it is using the same engine whereas the competition brings something higher power to the table.

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        I’ll agree with that. A V6 option would be nice for the higher trims (Touring and Grand Touring). But I understand there are some good reasons why Mazda does not have one at present. Maybe the turbo 4 from the CX-9 would do all right.

        Also, it seems worth noting that most real world buyers don’t buy the V6 option in this class of car. From what I can tell, the V6 is only selling in about 12% of Accords for the last few years.

        At around $23k for a Sport with incentives, this is a crazy good car, and the 4-cylinder is definitely fine for that price level. I just wish it had a sunroof at that trim level. And maybe a little different seat fabric.

  • avatar
    montecarl

    As a second Gen Mazda 6 owner I don’t have many complaints about my car except it does get a little loud at about 80 ( road noise)and the gas mileage could better..I bought a new 626 24years ago and I think I had the same complaints..

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    With a decent motor this car could really be something worthwhile.

  • avatar
    Sjs1967

    I don’t agree work much of this article. Perhaps it’s because my other car was a 2000 Civic, but I found the 6 to have more than enough acceleration. It’s also a much smoother ride and the interior was more refined. Also, the price here in California comes no where near 30k. I test drove a well appointed model that was selling for 23k. I can’t remember though is it was the gt or club, but it did have the Bose system and sunroof. At that price no other car could come close. To suggest a Nissan, Ford, Hyundai,…there’s no way I’d buy those brands. I ended up buying a miata for a few thousand more, again no where near the price quoted in this article for the 6

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I think this is a case like the Subaru BRZ where it is not that the motor doesn’t make enough power, but rather that it just isn’t particularly pleasant in how it goes about its business. What this car needs is a smaller turbo 4 that makes about the same hp but a boatload more torque down low while being quieter and smoother. Big fours are rarely particularly refined engines, even with balance shafts.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Its been at least 20 yhears of Mazda not listening to pretty much every review complaining about their inferior NVH and lack of optional engine power. Their response? (1) I don’t listen and (2) there will be no more MazdaSpeed 3 and (3) you Vil enjoy our DNA!

    Pure arrogance.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      @doubjp – “Pure arrogance.”

      More like pure humility to the laws of physics and the customer’s wallet. Mazda has been trying to quiet their cars a bit, but there’s a cost. Similarly, they did make a V6, but that didn’t get good mpg. They were working on a diesel offering, but couldn’t meet US emissions standards.

      As for turbo, it will be in the new CX-9. It wouldn”t surprise me if the turbo makes it into some of their other vehicles.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Being the owner of a 2014 Mazda6 with 6MT, I can attest that the engine noise is there. Personally I wouldn’t consider it a deal breaker, but then again, its obvious it didn’t bother me. However, at 3k RPM you notice that you have to talk louder to occupants, turn the radio up, etc. I do love the car though and would definitely buy it again right now. Fast it is not, but how many NA four cylinder family sedans are fast? Right. Its fast enough to have fun when you want. I floor the car fairly regularly, drive it fairly spirited. Just got new tires at 38K miles, needed them 10K miles ago though. I got the Yokahama Advan Sport All seasons. The ride is quite a bit softer. I will say, I am a bit dismayed that the new tires seem to be hitting my average fuel economy by about 3-4 mpg if that is possible. I routinely do the math at the gas pump though, I guess the different compound and tread pattern really do make that much difference. I never found the OEM Dunlops particularly well suited to performance.

    I will also say that the OEM Brakes are not great. I needed rotors resurfaced 20k miles ago. May just get new rotors if I can ride it out for a while longer.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I’m an owner of the 3rd gen. My opinion: It’s not as bad as this article paints it, nor is it as good as the major magazines would have you believe.

    The 6 feels too compromised. It seems as though they conceptually designed the driver-oriented sedan they wanted, then conceded small changes EVERYWHERE to give it more mass appeal. The engine sounds bad and has poor throttle response (both for fuel consumption), the suspension has too much body roll for how firm it is, the NVH is just controlled enough to make me think they tried (and failed) to find the right balance of weight-to-noise ratio, the steering went electric for fuel consumption and is only “great” for this class of car, etc.

    It’s a frustrating car because it hints at the potential for greatness. It clearly started life as a much more sporting concept and slowly migrated back towards comfort, the opposite direction of a typical Toyota. For me, they have not yet found the “goldilocks” zone between comfort and sport. It seems like the tweaks they could make to get it closer are so very attainable, so it seems like a complete tease. All we want is a Japanese E46, and Mazda is probably closer than any other manufacturer.

    I will be selling mine this summer. There’s most likely a GTI in my future, closer to my interpretation of the “goldilocks” car.

  • avatar

    We took out a used 2014 Mazda6s Touring for a 24-hour test drive.

    I want to love the 6, but I find it disconcertingly uncomfortable. The leatherette seats are weirdly unyielding and the support features kind of ergonomically misaligned with my, and my wife’s, body. The interior, in general, feels brittle. The noise, as you said, is distracting.

    However, I had no real issues with power, although I get why so many people say it’s slow. There’s no urgency. Not even that false of acceleration that Honda seems to have down.

    The car does drive beautifully. Intuitive steering and a firm but not punishing ride. Like I said, I wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t see myself being happy with it over the long term. I think those annoyances that I would have to deal with every time I started the car would eventually overwhelm whatever enthusiasm I had for the handling and looks.

    It’s just not for me, and I’m sort of afraid, give the dire trends for all sedans in the US amrket, the Mazda6 might not be long for this world.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    We have a cx5 with the 2.5. it does have a weird growl under acceleration. It was no where near as bad as the whine from the crv. The ecoboost was even worse in the escape. As far as much goes, the escape hatch had the worse wind noise. On rough roads the crv and rogue were tied for the best for road noise. The escape was worse than the cx5. The 185 go pulls the cx5 just fine. Maybe the 6 will get the cx9 engine. The cx9 is getting decent reviews.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Sorry Mazda but for 33k one can buy a nice A3.

  • avatar
    Dave2car

    I’m a new owner of a 2016 Mazda6, bought a used Sport model for 14k with 30,000 miles. Seemed like a pretty good deal to me for that car for that money. Time will tell. As a first time Mazda owner I have no idea what to expect, but have read all the reviews, good and bad, except the only bad ones I’ve found are located right here! I’d love to see any follow up on this thread now that more time has passed, I will share my experience as well.

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