By on October 12, 2018

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front quarter

2018 Mazda 6 Signature

2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, DOHC (227 hp @ 5000 rpm, 310 lb/ft @ 2000 rpm)

Six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive

26 city / 31 highway / 23 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

25.4 (observed mileage, MPG)

10.0 city / 7.5 highway / 8.9 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $35,640 US / $40,730 CAD

As Tested: $36,435 US/ $41,436 CAD

Prices include $890 destination charge in the United States and $1,930 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Mazda has long been an enigma within the Japanese automaker realm. Never quite the volume player of Toyota or Nissan, Mazda targeted enthusiasts via the RX-7 and Miata — models that cast a echo of driving enjoyment over the rest of the lineup. While Mazda attempted to go after the premium end of the market in the early Nineties with the stillborn Amati brand, the automaker has generally left the high end alone.

Until now.

Much like the Denali line within GMC’s lineup, Mazda has unleashed its Signature trim, which adds a layer of lux upon an already impressive midsizer. This 2018 Mazda 6 Signature melds plush and performance into one.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature profile

I’ll admit, I was a bit shocked after hopping into this Mazda 6. The Signature trim makes a big difference in the interior materials, moving the 6 from a mainstream midsize sedan to a proper entry luxury car. To me, the combination of the expected Mazda driving experience and the unexpected plush interior made me think of a Lexus ES — but an ES that traded a nasty Ambien habit for a daily Red Bull.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature interior

The Deep Chestnut Ultrasuede pad that stretches across the dash, continuing onto the door panels, is one example of a upmarket detail that one wouldn’t expect on a mainstream model. The matching Nappa leather seats and trim is handsome, contrasting nicely with the black soft-touch plastics throughout. I’m still not a fan of piano black trim on any car, as it highlights any and all bits of dust (or french fry salt) that can accumulate. Thankfully, it’s limited to the panel near the shifter and control knob.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature center stack

Big news on the glass screen beat — the 6 is the first Mazda to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. I don’t love Mazda’s standard touch-and-knob interface, but it does get better with practice. Now that an even more familiar experience is available to use Waze or Spotify, secondary driving duties are much less frustrating than before.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front seat 2018 Mazda 6 Signature rear seatSeating front and rear is nearly perfect. Both my wife and my kids dozed off quickly on a crosstown jaunt to a soccer match (sometimes, when you forget to make coffee before an early Saturday game, a little bit of silence from the passenger compartment is welcome).

2018 Mazda 6 Signature dashboard

The Mazda 6’s familiar styling received a subtle tweak for 2018. Most notably, the fog lamps move from the lower bumper to the main headlamp structure, replaced by a pair of chrome whiskers that match the new chrome handlebar moustache that stretches from flank to flank. The polished eggcrate grille is another highlight.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front

My tester was, to my surprise, not finished in Mazda’s traditional Soul Red. The car pictured here has an evolved hue, Soul Red Crystal, which is a touch darker than the familiar signature color. It’s a stunning shade, nicely offset by the dark polished 19-inch alloy wheels. It’s worth the $595 upcharge for this magnificent color.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature rear

Enough with the shiny bits — it’s time to talk about the greasy stuff beneath. And there is plenty to talk about, starting with the engine. Mazda has finally plopped a turbocharged four-cylinder into the Mazda 6, producing 227 horsepower (or more) and 310 lb-ft of torque. Mazda mentions the 227 hp figure on the window sticker, but if you’re willing to spring for 93 octane, the engine will produce 250 ponies.

[Get new and used Mazda 6 pricing here!]

This turbocharged powerplant comes standard on the Signature trim, as well as the Grand Touring and Grand Touring Reserve. Notably missing — a manual transmission, sadly. Those wishing to exercise their left foot are relegated to the base Sport trim, with the standard 187 hp 2.5-liter four.

The six-speed automatic is happy to kick down for quick passes. While many competitors offering eight or more gears in their automatics, this Mazda unit is perfectly matched to the torquey turbo four.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature gauges

Handling is sharp, with the chassis quite willing to rotate when pushed. It’s not a sports car, and you won’t be taking to track day, but it is a comfortable highway cruiser that is more than happy to take a back road detour when the interstate is backed up.

Indeed, that’s what Mazda has always been — a competent daily driver capable of putting a smile on a driver’s face. With this sumptuous new trim level and the lovely turbocharged engine, the 2018 Mazda 6 Signature shows that Mazda can put formal attire on an athlete.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature rear quarter

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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61 Comments on “2018 Mazda 6 Signature Review – Serenity And Soul...”


  • avatar
    readallover

    OK, Chris, but what about the weak spot of these cars for nearly 20 years now: road noise? Has Mazda finally used enough sound deadening? Or do you still have to crank the speakers to hear the music?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      They addressed this specifically. In GT trim (any of the 3 GT trims) you get the multi-layered sound absorbing glass from the B-pillar forward, and ample sound deadening has been added.

      Having just bought a 2018 GT Reserve, this thing is quieter inside than my mothers 2016 Lexus RX350. In fact, I think the stereo is now overpowering considering how quiet the interior is.

      • 0 avatar
        Watson lee

        Hi, Is the new mazda6 quieter than Lexus? Wow. I rode in a 2018 CX5 grand touring. It was quiet and smooth but still could feel the road and some noise. How does the mazda6 compare with lexus.

        Unbelievable that it’s quieter than a $60k canadian lexus rx?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The sound deadening is excellent in this review. I couldn’t hear any road noise at all over the Deep Chestnut Ultrasuede pad and the stunning shade of evolved red paint.

    • 0 avatar
      chiefmonkey

      I seriously don’t know what people are talking about with these noise complaints. I have a 2016 and while there are things that bug me about it, noise isn’t one of them! Nor do I find the 2.5 at all underpowered as many had claimed. If anything, it’s one of the quicker engines in its class.

      Some things that do bug me are: poor outward visibility compared to other sedans, terrible defroster, cumbersome audio controls and frequent bluetooth connectivity issues, and bizarre wiper settings (slow setting is really slow, intermediate setting is fast, and fast setting is really really fast). Don’t know if the 2018 addressed these problems. Would love to test one soon!

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        If memory serves, the 2016 model got significantly upgraded sound deadening from the 2014-2015. I have a 2014 and road/engine noise is most definitely on the high side though I wouldn’t call it overpowering or a deal breaker. I agree with you about the engine though, not to shabby because it is relatively light its class and having a manual transmission makes it feel pretty lively.

        I don’t think I have any of the other issues you described though. My main issue is the fact that the instruments are auto on/off lights tied to a sensor but not the headlights. So you can get tricked into thinking lights are on at night in well lit areas. Stupid setup.

        • 0 avatar
          chiefmonkey

          The 2017 apparently got better sound insulation. The 2016 received the new interior. Mine is coming off lease soon and I sort of want to get another, perhaps the turbo, if the dealer is willing to negotiate. Some say sedans are dying but you have Hyundai doing exciting things with the Genesis brand, the Kia Stinger, the Regal Sportback which is honestly kind of cool, and your typical suspects from Germany all of which can be leased with similar monthly payments. It’s still a competitive sedan world out there!

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I hope Mazda does well. The turbocharged engine should have been on it several years ago, it really would have given it a leg up

    I came close to buying a previous generation Mazda6. Two big issues.

    1) The dealer network is terrible, and I live in a fairly large metro area. From not having any inventory to terrible staff and salespeople. I usually don’t care about this, but it really made me question the whole brand

    2) The car just needed more sound deadening. I hope this issue is addressed on this generation

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      Yes, road noise has been an issue with Mazdas. Our old Mazda 5 had lots of road noise, and high road noise is one reason I didn’t buy a Mazda 6 in the last generation. Apparently, Mazda has tried to address this for 2018. From Edmund’s first drive:

      Mazda also made numerous suspension and chassis updates to improve the 6’s highway ride and reduce noise, without sacrificing the car’s already excellent handling. An area of complaint for the previous 6 was its interior noise, and Mazda adjusted parts and added measures to combat it. More sound deadening, additional door seals and even materials choices, such as thicker steel in the floor pan, were used to keep road noise at bay. Thankfully, you can still hear the throaty sound of the engine.

      https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/first-impressions/2018-mazda-6-first-drive.html

      It’s almost time for me to replace my 2010 Acura TSX, and I’d love to get a Mazda 6 with the turbo, but I’m not sure I can give up MT. At least the Accord Sport 2.0T offers 6MT, but I also care about steering feel and every review indicates Mazda has the best in the segment. I’m planning to test them soon.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Go check YouTube – there are a dozen or more reviews of the Mazda 6 Signature (most of them appear to be this exact test fleet car.) Listen to “TheTopher” and his POV Binuaral Audio review of this exact car. Almost all reviewers have mentioned it being much quieter than previous Mazda 6s.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      It IS drastically quieter… Having just bought one. It’s quieter than a Lexus RX with more soft-touch panels and drastically more comfortable seats.

      No comment as to the dealer network. There are 3 dealerships close by in Seattle, with the University Seattle location having a superb service dept.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This car looks good from every angle. It’s one of the few that does.

    Chris, can you say more about the interior space and seating? For example, is the back seat sized for kids/teens, or would adults be ok back there for the occasional 1-2 hr trip?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      I’m 6’1″, 250 lbs with an athletic build, a bulging disc, 2 reconstructed knees and traditionally find long drives very uncomfortable.

      With the drivers seat where I like it (I utilize both of the seat-memory positions to keep comfortable on a drive), there is enough room in the seat directly behind me to sit with my knees straight forward without touching the back of the seat in front of me. As with most sedans, the door opening at the footwell to get into the back seat of cars is not what it used to be. But once in, it is very comfortable! A long road trip in the 2018 Mazda6 should be no issue at all.

      Not only that, but the back seats are heated, AND there are 2 USB ports in the center armrest so you can keep your kids/teens occupied with whatever technology they use to prevent interaction with the default world.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      The way the beltline swoops up towards the rear so drastically is unfortunate.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Back seat is ample for kids, adults could easily handle 1-2 hour road trip in it but I wouldn’t call it spacious. More than just adequate, less than stellar. Headroom is going to be a problem for those in the back over 6 feet tall. I am 6 foot and fit comfortably in the back behind the driver seat set for my preferences, but there is not much room for me to stretch.

  • avatar
    ajla

    That interior needs wayyyyyy more Rosewood.

    • 0 avatar

      It does need wood trim. At this price I don’t want to see basic piano plastic.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      Personally, my tastes is more sporty and modernist interior which is carbon fiber, aluminum and other similar trim. Wood represent old, cheap looking interiors to me. Sure their is Rolls Royce and Bentley wood trim but the seats are of very modern colors and overall still look modern and expensive.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This car seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. Most reviewers have been pleased, despite the “on paper” stats like 0-60, 1/4 mile, number of gears, etc.

    In my area the dealers seem willing to deal as well.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    As somebody who just bought a 2018 Mazda6 GT (Reserve trim, soul red crystal exterior with parchment interior), i’ll say that this car is more comfortable than the BMW’s and Lexus which i’ve helped friends purchase. All of these experiences are over the past month, so it’s apples to apples.

    The Mazda seats are the most comfortable by far. Fantastic ergonomics and the cooling they came up with pulls heat off of you, rather than simply blowing air on you. It’s a massive difference. All manufacturers will be copying this within 2 generations of vehicles.

    In fact, the only two gripes are:
    1. the steering wheel tilt has a fulcrum which is too low, causing the top of the wheel to tilt away from the driver and the bottom of the wheel to be closer to the driver. This has an impact on the ability to bring your hands “over and under” in corners without having to re position hands on the wheel. (full disclosure: As 99.9% of drivers “shuffle steer” this won’t be a problem for the masses…. Jack Baruth would be so upset with you all!)
    2. The stereo has too much bass now that there is so much sound deadening and the front door cards vibrate too much as a result of the speakers. Again, not a serious issue and it’s not like they are rattling or audible, but the doors card vibrates against your arm or knee while driving. Only really noticeable on longer drives or slow speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      Good to hear you are enjoying your 6, Rick. I’m about to start shopping for new sedans for my father as his 16 Accord lease is soon to expire. If I had to guess, it’s going to come down to this or an Accord Touring 2.0t.

      Did you happen to drive the new Accord Touring before pulling the trigger on the Signature? Currently, the 6 looks more favorable as my father is looking for a more luxury type car for retirement road trips and such. It seems quieter, better leather/seats, real a/c seats not just ventilation, and the price is very compelling.

      Thanks!

  • avatar
    gtem

    This does seem like a very real alternative to an ES, as long as you can live with less (but sounds like still adequate) rear legroom. I don’t care for the Mazda infotainment setup with the control knob, but even that would be a step up from the blasted palm-joystick in my father in law’s ’13 ES300h. Especially with some discounts, this looks like a tempting option.

    • 0 avatar

      @gtem That’s the problem with Mazda – they do not have luxury brand like Toyota or Ford. Toyota has ES but also Avalon and it is hard to say which one is better. But Lexus is Lexus, Toyota has a freedom to set the bar with Lexus as high as possible. Same with Ford. But Mazda cannot make Mazda the true luxury brand – it always will be somewhat some-kind-of lukewarm premium like Ford Titanium sub-brand (like e.g. Edge you rented recently) but then Ford can pull out all the stops with Lincoln version, which they lately do – watch this video from our friend Doug DeMuro youtube.com/watch?v=YB0QQfU1K1M.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    227 HP from a turbo 4? The horrors I tell you, the horrors!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      (I know you are being sarcastic…)

      Or just use Premium like many turbo motors recommend and get 250 hp, the number that I’m looking at is 310 lb ft of torque and a 6 speed that doesn’t shift 18 times before you can get out of the parking lot like some 9-speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I have no problem shelling out out for 93 Octane to put in a (rebuilt title) 17 year old A4 *shrug*, I would absolutely fill the Mazda in question with the good stuff. Was it really worth having to re-rate it on the sticker in order to make it a point to say that it will run on regular?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Mazda must have had some kind of internal data to say that a subset of customers were very concerned about the cost of each gallon of gasoline.

          Or it maybe a call back to the original SkyActive system and their pride that they got high compression with low octane fuel.

  • avatar
    bobdod04

    This car was quite the disappointment when I rented one for a 700 mile round trip covering highways and fantastic back roads over several days. Not sure what trim we had, but our rental had the non-turbo motor, leather seats, lane keep, adaptive cruise control, and all the other bells and whistles. I was initially excited to drive this car since I’ve read so many reviews about how well the Mazda 6 drives, how its the best driver in its class, how its the driver’s choice in the segment, etc., etc. The interior was comfortable enough for the long drive, but certainly not in the same league as an ES, and not even a higher spec Sonata. The active driver assistance tech that is included checks all the right boxes on paper, but performs poorly. The lane keep assist does almost nothing, even in its most aggressive setting. The adaptive cruise struggles in stop and go traffic. The blind spot assist is overly aggressive. All of these features are found in my significantly cheaper Elanta GT, where they work significantly better.
    The non-turbo motor was a complete dog as well, requiring the pedal to make frequent trips to the floor. At least the sounds it made were not terrible. As far as handling and steering feel, I was not inspired like some reviews would suggest one should be. It drove competently enough, but no better than a new camry or accord I’ve rented this year. Its not a bad car, but certainly in no clear way a better driver than the competition. Without the hype created by overly enthusiastic reviews, I would have just taken the car for what it was, a competent daily driver. Unfortunately, the hype created around this car caused it to be a huge let down. I can’t imagine the turbo motor and some tacked on wood trim can fix that.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I rented a Mazda 3 several years ago on a trip to Oregon. What a hunk of junk – noisy, buzzy and cheap feeling everywhere. A few months later, I was visiting family and one of them had a Mazda 3. I took it for a drive and it was shocking how much better it was from the rental. Tires, interior, seats… it was weird.

      I guess it’s possible that Mazda turned out some rental spec cars and sold them to Avis, but the difference shouldn’t be that large. Then again, rental cars are usually trashed, so who knows.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @jkross22

        A lot of makers have dabbled with “rental spec” or can spec them out that way. Toyota offered a Camry L model that was a rental fleet special for 2 or 3 model years. I had the misfortune of having one once. It was marginally worse than a rental spec previous gen Malibu LS, and that’s saying something because that car is horrid. I suspect in low end trim the Mazda3 is a penalty box on wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      Can’t really comment on all of the adaptive cruise control and “drive-for-me” aids as I disabled them all and haven’t even reached 500 miles so cruise control is still a no-go.

      But the NA motor trim levels have drastically less sound deadening, artificial leather only (although it does say something that you thought their fake leather was real leather), and while they hype the “quick steering” from solid-mounting the steering rack to the chassis, I find my 2005 Acura TSX to be vastly more point-and-shoot with greater steering feedback.

      Full disclosure: My preferred driving cars are old enough that I strongly dislike any form of drivers aids and was very happy that Mazda even allowed the option to turn off all the warnings, beeps, lights, auto-sensing, stuff that I don’t want. The GF loves all the tech in it as her 2013 Audi S5 doesn’t come with any of that and is noticeably less comfortable.

      • 0 avatar
        Rick Astley

        Forgot to add that the factory tires on the Mazda are garbage, and on the TSX I have some very nice Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3’s which took that car up many steps in driving feel.

        If memory serves, they used the SUV tires from the CX-5 for the Mazda6. Bad choice!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I like Mazdas. I am on my third, a 2015 (this same generation) 6, Touring (mid) trim and manual trans. I paid $24,600 for it on Memorial Day 2015.

    This Signature trim is lovely, but I predict it will have virtually no effect on overall Mazda6 sales.

    From my perspective, Mazda products always have one or two glaring flaws that remove it from consideration for many buyers. In the case of this one, there are at least three: Mazda, as a brand is NOT on the radar of premium/near luxury buyers, the type of buyer the Signature trim is designed to draw 2) This body style is 4 years old already, and 3) entry/egress into/from the front seat is very awkward. It wasn’t until I had driven mine for a week or so that I realized I needed to twist my torso and lower my head significantly to get into this car without hitting my head or abusing the seat. It has come up in a few reviews, but not all. I am 50 years old while most auto reviewers these days are millennials, and they are not yet sensitive to entry/egress issues. Since this car is aimed at well-to-do, likely older, buyers, this is a problem.

    Mazda can’t seem to figure out what it wans to be. Is it Zoom Zoom, or is it “almost Lexus?” Mazda is not alone of course, Hyundai/Kia seeks to lure the higher margin sales of near-luxury vehicles. Trouble is, Lexus already exists….Acura and Infiniti, have both sought to unseat Lexus, and mostly failed. Mazda, Genesis, and Kia are all bound to fail in this pursuit too. Too bad…lots of money is being wasted.

  • avatar

    HAHAHAH $36,000.

    That’s AWD Volvo S60 money, son. Mazda continues to go nuts on their 6 pricing, and ask silly prices for upper trims. It’s the same price as a V6 Avalon XLE Premium.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Devil’s Advocate:

      V6 Camry costs more than that. My dealer had an XSE loaded EXCEPT it was a 4 cyl and had a roughly $40K sticker. I was dropping off my Highlander for service, it was early morning, and thankfully all the sales lizards were to tired to come bother me. I would have told them what I though of a $40K sport Camry missing 2 cyl.

      • 0 avatar

        That dealer is having a fun time with pricing if he’s asking above Avalon price for the Camry.

        I just don’t see the value in spending that much on a Mazda. Their resale is always terrible, and I’m not convinced they’ve sorted their rust issues long term.

        If I want a turbo four depreciation box, I could get a Volvo. Or you know, a Q50 2.0t LUXE trim for the same money.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The new S60 starts at 35.8k. FWD. To get AWD in an S60 it’s $41.3k, but with a lot more hp and a bit less torque.

      • 0 avatar

        I checked pricing on the 2018.

        https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS755US755&q=2018+volvo+s60+t5+dynamic&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLVT9c3NEwzqsjNMcqxVIJwMyyLUsrjjbK1FLKTrfQTS0vyc_NLMstS9XPzU1Jz4itTE4uskkozc1KKAcUHd_NCAAAA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwifiK7Sw4HeAhUIzFMKHT7LAHUQri4wI3oECAYQQA&biw=1363&bih=901

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          I’m in Canada, and an S60 AWD starts, yeah “starts” at $4K more than the 6 Signature. For the extra money you get guaranteed unreliability and that droner of a pipsqueak Volvo engine. Those people are off on some other planet where palm trees grow out of buckets and everyone is PC to perfection.

          I’ve driven 19 different car models looking for something decent under Cdn $50K. There is a great deal of rubbish out there, none of which drives as well as my eleven year-old old Legacy GT. Still haven’t found anything better, but time is passing by and the old beast is coughing a bit.

          Of the recent dross, let us elevate the Fusion Sport to worst – decent engine, crappy seats a good four inches short in the squab of my knees, and I’m only 5-9. Ten minutes of that torture and I had pinched bum syndrome. Get outta here. Also rivals a small hippo in weight.

          Accord Sport – do you like tire roar? Because Honda has this aspect nailed. Constant roar, louder than my old car currently wearing Michelin Sport A/S 3+. Why would I buy a noisier car than my old one? Makes zero sense to me. Not a fan of the interior either, but that’s personal preference. The Sport’s seats repelled me. What numbskull came up with that cloth stuff? Does not track as well as the 6 on the highway, nor ride as supple-y.

          Genesis G70 2.0t AWD. Think the Accord has tire noise? This car majors in it. I know it’s the current knight in shining armor, but if there’s any sport in this thing I couldn’t find it. The transmission is weird too. Nicely made though, and cheaper than the Volvo S60. Just not an alert or eager car otherwise, and did I mention tire noise?

          Mazda6 turbo. Quiet, blessed quiet. Until you goose it hard when impressive demented noises issue forth to let you know you’re alive. In Canada you can get the cheaper turbo model with 17 inch wheels. The Sig has 19’s which actually feel greasier and make the ride more jittery. I’ve driven both. There’s a solution there somewhere, Fred. Still, on the highway, this thing is vibration free and very nice. What hills? Goose it on the move, and it gets up and goes well enough for me. The interior is a knockout. The seats are actually nice soft leather, not something semi-plastic drawn taut. The manumatic is like my Legacy and you can actually hold gears, good for cruising down our long steep hills without braking all the time. Try that in Accord. And let us all throw the TLX away – what a useless car – all three versions replete with bad paint and the driving dynamics of a sponge. A wet hulking one.

          The 6 is not a sport sedan, but none of the others are either. A 3 Series BMW did not impress, a new Mercedes C300 kranged on large potholes. Why do they cost so much? Beats me. Same bleating inline four thrum as the cheapies. I find getting in and out of the pint-sized GTI and A3 difficult or they’d top my list.

          I avoid Toyotas for offending my eyeballs, Volvos and most FGerman cars for offending my pocketbook. Subarus have turned into noddy-mobiles good for a gentle head bobble down to the farmers market. No Legacy GT to be found, but dog carriers feature in the accessory list.

          No I’m not saying this Mazda6 turbo is better than my LGT. What I’m saying it’s the least repugnant alternative I’ve come across. It’s actually acceptable and in some ways very nice indeed.

          Yup, so as they say, you gotta drive one to appreciate it, To me it’s the least offensive reasonably priced car on the market. And it’s quiet – can’t even hear the engine at idle. No stupid DCT, no utterly insane “pushbutton” transmission selector, no monostable “where the hell am I” gearshift. Just a damn nice car that’s a bit too big. Electronics? Dunno, don’t care. I buy a car to drive places with a bit of verve when called for, not to fiddle with fake tablets. And to own a vehicle that doesn’t make me puke just looking at it. In Canada, Mazda is twice the size of Subaru in sales, for some reason associated with sanity, so the dealers are not hellholes.

          Next spring I shall have me one unless the turbo CX-5 arrives in the meantime. Cdn $41K incl delivery. That’s almost free in US federal reserve bux teetering on a $20 trillion debt. Same price or a little less than the top Accord beached whale or Camry – the grimacing toad. Avalons? They keep one out back for the 85 year olds who totter in now and then.

          I’m just amazed anyone buys Volvos. Why would you? Neither fish nor fowl those things, not premium but priced that way. Have many acquaintances with Mazdas since they ditched Ford, and not a complainer among them.

          • 0 avatar
            NG5

            I appreciated your comments, conundrum. They mirror my larger impressions of the industry from when I was shopping in 2016 – premium cars are too fiddly with technology and volume brands are mostly selling everything except driving your car on the road. And the styling is generally overwrought and horrid.

            I ended up with a Ford Fiesta ST, great to drive, no fiddly drive modes or transmission settings, but the interior is budget and the ride is punishing. Now Ford is abandoning the model here and I have no hope of the review-king sequel. I am down to considering a handful of cars on sale in the future, and Mazda is high on that list. I checked out a 3 when I was shopping, but the cheap trim they had in manual didn’t compare to the fun of the FiST. The Miata is number one on my next car list, and I will be waiting to see what their styling department does with it on the refresh (and for some of my life circumstances to set up for it) before checking them out – the current one is a bit odd from some angles, and their designers are usually doing excellent work. God forbid they introduce a bunch of fiddly driving modes and settings.

          • 0 avatar
            bortlicenseplate

            Conundrum, as a fellow Canuck with an ’06 LGT of my own (5sp wagon), I thoroughly enjoyed your reviews here. My car’s still running pretty well so I’m loathe to spend substantial $$ on a marginally improved replacement. That said, I’m surprised you left out a current model A4 quattro in your comparison tests? Seems like it might have some of the A3/GTI feel you enjoyed, but with more comfort and a good amount of dynamic fizz, at least in S-line trim, if the various reviews are to be believed. Thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      You can be out the door on a Signature trim for $32.5-33K. Not possible with the V6 Avalon, and in this case you would definitely have different driving dynamics between the two cars.

      The Accord was close in terms of driving and pricing. But their cars look like Gundam Wing animators decided to start designing cars.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Corey, are we supposed to want an Avalon XLE or a Volvo S60 more than this car? Why? The Mazda is the best looking inside and out, probably drives the best, and may be equally comfortable.

      • 0 avatar

        I highly doubt the 6 is more comfortable than the Avalon. I’m just pointing out more prestigious cars which cost the same amount. I think Mazda is charging too much money for a leather-coated 6 – a model that starts at under $22,000.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Comfort wise, I’m betting the Avalon wins as well, but there’s no fun in those bones. It’s a quick car, sure, but fun? Nah.

          The point about Mazda overpricing the Signature 6 is a valid one, especially considering you can get quick Accords for the same or less money. The Avalon/Camry don’t strike me as the direct competitor that the Accord is.

          Accord is bigger, better infotainment, can get it with a stick, has better resale…. that’s why the 6 will struggle.

          There is no prestige in any of these brands, but their products are front running market perceptions of what a ‘nice Honda/Toyota/Mazda’ are.

          I bet if we plopped the average non-TTAC reader in a Signature 6 they’d guess it was an Audi. I bet they would not know the Accord got really good. I can’t wipe the ‘meh’ impressions of Camry from my memory. It’s never been anything but Emerald Isle last choice for me.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          It is a lot of money, you are right. Really, if you option up the Camry, Accord, or Mazda6, they all get expensive. To be honest, all 3 seem pretty good to me. My personal preferred order would be Mazda, Accord, Camry.

          On the other hand, Mazda is far behind the others in market share, so maybe the pricing is too ambitious in that sense. But then again, maybe there are enough early adopters for this turbo model that Mazda can recoup some development cash in the first couple of years and then give incentives later to keep volume going.

    • 0 avatar

      I honestly do not see why Volvo should cost more than Mazda. From my point of view (and I am coming from Europe, technically) Volvo is just another mainstream brand – Sweden’s Chevrolet. For Americans anything European seems to be a luxury because Americans set the bar too low in general for almost anything. Volvo never was a luxury brand. Lexus is a different story and Mazda is nowhere near Lexus, sorry.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        “Inside Looking Out”

        ” Mazda is nowhere near Lexus”

        As far as badge goes – yea. But I can say, driving a car, Lexus is not nowhere near Mazda. Last year my relative was cross-shopping NX and CX5. Ended up paying 9K more for NX that similarly loaded CX5 would cost. One thing where NX was better indeed – peppiness. But with the new turbo CX5 coming – this problem is solved. I drove this NX on 5 hour trip. I will take Mazda steering feel, brakes, and infotainment control any day. Especially this horrible Lexus touch pad.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah I agree that Lexus is not for us. For that reason I do not like Mercedes either. But level of engineering in both Lexus and Mercedes is impressive. As far as I remember Mazda was always behind of Toyota in that aspect. Since 1998 Toyota started to decontent its cars for profit margins. What is the point of over-engineering if consumer do not care and buy it as a default choice?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Most reviews mention how slow the Mazda6 Turbo is.

    Slower than the V6 Camry, which is slower than the Accord 2.0T.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Per Car and Driver testing, the Mazda 6 turbo went 0-60 in 6.4 seconds. I don’t really think that is slow. It’s not as fast as the other two competitors, that’s true. From a rolling start (5-60), the 3 cars went 6.1, 6.2, and 6.7 seconds. The Mazda was the slowest, but it’s not a bad showing from any of them. The other cars C&D tested also cost about the same when optioned up (and the V6 Camry can go over $38k).

      I would say that “responsive” is a better quality than “fast” for a street car. I drive a car that’s faster than any of these 3, but who could tell? There’s hardly anywhere I can actually use that last bit of speed without endangering someone, or risking an expensive ticket.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    ” Indeed, that’s what Mazda has always been — a competent daily driver capable of putting a smile on a driver’s face.”

    You misspelled “VW GTI”.

  • avatar
    megaphone

    I bought one as my day driver a few months ago and have to say there is no appreciable noise when driving, very nice interior as the review sates.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    After 4 years in production it seems Mazda has finally addressed a lot of the issues the 6 had originally. But 4 years in, how much longer is this version going to be produced? Interesting conundrum: buy now and get a mostly sorted-out car that will be obsolete sooner rather than later, or wait for their next version which of course will be Better In Every Way according to the reviewers, but will perhaps have its own set of issues that will need a few years to address?

  • avatar
    claytori

    Hmmmm. This reminds me of the Betty vs. Veronica quandry.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Perhaps the Signature model with its turbo will add enough Mazda 6 sales volume to move up a bit on the sales charts toward the sales volume of the Subaru Legacy, a vehicle that currently outsells it by a significant amount. Or perhaps not. I rather lean toward the “not”.

  • avatar
    incautious

    36K for a 6. That gets you into an A4. Be curious to drive the two back to back

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