By on September 1, 2020


In the world of mainstream, front-drive midsize sedans, the Mazda 6 stands out. Not in terms of sales (no midsizer’s adding volume these days), but in terms of style. Despite not being the freshest face on the block, the 6 remains a serious looker.

The recent addition of a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder to the 6’s roster of niceties only boosted the sedan’s appeal, but buyers remain a fickle bunch. For 2021, Mazda keeps the model’s recipe more or less the same, but tosses a bit of additional power to the uplevel engine while slotting a new trim at the top end.

Forget about Signature. While that trim remains the pinnacle of the 6 line, buyers can now source a Carbon Edition priced just north of the second-rung Grand Touring Reserve ($33,745, after destination). With the latter trim as its starting point, the Carbon Edition dons Polymetal Gray paint, a black lip spoiler, and glossy 19-inch aluminum wheels painted the color of night.

Dark red leather with black sticking covers the Carbon Edition’s seats, with red stitching on the dash and console armrest tying it all together. It’s a good look. And because it’s an uplevel trim, the Carbon Edition enjoys the same 2.5L turbo found in the Grand Touring and Signature.


Unsure about what lurks under the 2021 6’s hood? A new “Turbo” badge on the trunklid sets these models apart from those motivated by the unchanged 2.5L base engine. Spring for the turbo, and you’ll notice an additional 10 lb-ft of torque (when drinking 93 octane fuel). Output stands at 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft, or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on basic regular-octane pump fare.

For ’21, the 6 sees Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity added as standard kit, with uplevel trims earning a wireless version of the former. The base Sport model grows in price by $245.

All told, not a huge amount of change, but Mazda’s not content to leave its midsizer alone. What remains to be seen is what happens after the current model runs its course. Could we really see a rear-drive, inline-six Mazda 6?

Will more than 17 people buy it?

Stay tuned.

[Images: Mazda]

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22 Comments on “Mazda Brings the 6 Just a Little Further Upscale...”

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I thought this model was getting AWD as an option. For those buyers who don’t want a CVT(Legacy) or a really slow car (AWD Camry ), it would be competitive.Really only competition would be Arteon which MSRPs fairly high.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s unfortunate that there is so much price overlap between the 6 and the 3.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    What has me worried is if I wait for the rumored next-gen Mazda 6 with an inline six… Mazda might do something else to ruin the car. Like mess with its rear suspension as it did with the 3.

  • avatar

    Yuck, black wheels is upscale? Especially with that paint, it looks more like a base model, or something with steelies with snow tires and without hub caps.

    • 0 avatar

      Completely agree. If you don’t want silver there are numerous other options besides black for a wheel treatment. I had to live with the “my self-ejecting GM hubcaps must’ve escaped again” look on some mid 80s Pontiac 6000s. Don’t care to go back.

  • avatar

    Even retaining the current driveline, a long stroke, narrow I6 shoehorned, Volvo style, up front, would make it a worthy heir to golden era BMWs at street pace. It’s such a sweet handling, intuitive package. And while the current 4s are well matched and have suitable power bands, they’re no I6 as far as effortless revs go.

  • avatar

    I’d love to have the gorgeous Mazda 6 wagon that the Europeans get.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    I did not get 250 hp from 2.5L engine with 93 octane gas. 2.0L in my AWD Fusion makes 245 hp on 91 octane. What’s the problem with Mazda? Where is zoom zoom? May be that is the problem people do not buy Mazda. 93 octane? Give me a rest. Fusion handles very well and looks good, thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      They can get more out of it, but choose not to. One thing I noticed between the CX-5 and Escape is that the CX-5 cruises at a lower RPM.

      And is the fusion still made?

    • 0 avatar

      I assume the 50 extra pound feet of torque available with premium is noticeable. Or even the 40 without premium.

      Also, I recall an Engineering Explained video where the host was talking about the tuning Mazda put into their turbocharger. I don’t recall the specifics, but the upshot was that they apparently designed it so you could get into boost further before it started having adverse effects to fuel mileage.

      I recall I could get 32ish mixed in my Focus ST if I was extremely ginger, in more ways than just the hair.

    • 0 avatar

      Having lived with both the Fusion 2.0L Ecoboost and the 2.5L Mazda Turbo engine in my CX-5. I can honestly say that Mazda turbo engine is a significantly better engine. For having 240HP in my Fusion it was surprising slow and it also got terrible mileage oh and the turbo died as well around 60K miles, so super well built too.

      The CX-5 is quieter, it gets better fuel mileage and its much faster then my Fusion was and the transmission is SOOOOO much better than the garbage found in the Ford. Also in my opinion the CX-5 handles better than the fusion which surprised me, its just an all around better vehicle. So I can just imagine how much better the Mazda6 is compared to that trainwreck Fusion.

      Then there’s the interiors, Mazdas is compared to Audi and the Ford is well a Ford lol

  • avatar

    There are getting to be fewer desirable FWD sedans available without the stupid tablet sticking out of the dash.

    We drove a Fusion as a rental for a couple weeks. While a handsome car, the seat bottoms are too short for me.

    • 0 avatar

      The tablet is another think I heard complains about – it is too far away to be touch screen and mouse controller is not convenient. Just one that think might be a reason to not consider Mazda

      • 0 avatar

        The selector wheel is admittedly annoying, but really only when using Google Maps in Android Auto (I have no experience with Apple CarPlay). I presume they’ve not yet updated from the infotainment system found in the 2017 Mazda6. Otherwise, the native functions proceed pretty quickly. I’d gotten to the point where I could navigate home with the hard button and count the detents in the wheel without having to look. The duplicate functions on the steering wheel are also exceptionally easy.

      • 0 avatar

        I know of two people that walked on Mazdas because of the scroll knob interface.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Honestly if they are going to black out the wheels, I’d wish they’d black out all the chrome. I’ve seen this and it looks good on certain colors.

  • avatar

    I don’t care which engine they offer, I want a manual transmission sedan. Yes I would prefer a naturally aspirated 6 cylinder but a 4 cylinder would work for me. Currently I am still driving the 2006 Mazda3 5sp sedan I bought new. I still enjoy driving it but want something newer.

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