2021 Mazda6 sedan delivers the entire package Featured

Posted On Thursday, 25 February 2021 22:31 Written by
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The interior of the 2021 Mazda6 truly shines, offering luxurious flashes and comfort in a nonluxury model The interior of the 2021 Mazda6 truly shines, offering luxurious flashes and comfort in a nonluxury model Photo courtesy of Mazda

As someone who loves to drive, I’ve never truly understood why the sales charts are the way they are when it comes to nonluxury family sedans.

Far too often, vehicles that are actually fun to drive are left behind by the sedan buyer in favor of more humdrum experiences behind the wheel.

Whatever the reason, I’m happy to report that for people who are focused on stronger performance from their sedan, options still exist. 

One such option is the 2021 Mazda6, a sedan that both looks sharp and drives impressively. I recently spent some time in a Mazda6 and I’m back with a full report.

Whether we’re talking about the exterior look or interior design, the 2021 Mazda6 is a contender for best in class.

Outside you get a sleek design that features Mazda’s distinct grille and is not a cookie cutter look, but inside is where Mazda really impresses.

The level of style and comfort achieved in this sedan earns high marks. High-quality materials are used, the heated seats felt even more comfortable than other vehicles, and I loved the design of the moon roof.

Also for 2021, one stylish new appearance package is offered, called the Carbon Edtion. This version features a Polymetal Gray paint color, black exterior accents, and a set of dark 19-inch wheels, as well as interior black trim pieces and red leather upholstery with gray stitching.

Exterior features on the Mazda6 include 19-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated power side mirrors with turn lamps, auto fold side mirrors, and windshield wiper de-icer..

Heading back inside, you get that extremely comfortable seating for five passengers in classy Nappa leather trim seats, which are heated and ventilated. Driver seat allows for memory storage with two positions, and you get nice touches like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, plus ultrasuede and wood trim inserts.

The Mazda6 features auto on/off LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, gunmetal front grille and dual exhaust.

The rear seat offers a 60/40 split fold-down, to boost storage options.
There is also a rear seat armrest with cup holders, and the back seat and trunk have a decent amount of room for the segment. Though storage space inside the vehicle is limited.


Looks are nice and all, but let’s get down to what really matters on a vehicle: Performance.

Mazda always puts a focus on this area of their vehicles, and it’s clear from the first time you get behind the wheel that the brand is focused on getting ahead of the competition in terms of pure driver enjoyment.

The vehicle I tested featured the better of two engine options: A 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters can be used to simulate a manual driving experience.

Numbers on the turbo engine are 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. This is a small power increase for 2021 and the torque level can be boosted to 320 if you use 93-octane gas.

The more basic engine option is a non-turbo offering 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque.

Despite its power, the Mazda6 is still quiet on the highway and keeps out road noise.

The Mazda is a front-wheel drive vehicle only, with no AWD option.

Sport mode can be engaged to boost your driving experience, and you will definitely want to use it whenever possible.

Not only does it offer a punchy launch from a stopped position, but the Mazda6 is quick to give drivers that extra boost when they are already moving and need extra speed, such as merging onto a highway or passing. Handling and agility are also very impressive, and you’ll really like how it moves through corners.

To sum up, the Mazda6 provides the best driving experience you’ll get from a nonluxury sedan. 

Beyond its driving chops, the Mazda6 will also pleasantly surprise drivers in both the tech and safety arenas.

All Mazda6 models feature wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability for phone mirroring, and some higher trim levels allow for wireless phone mirroring.

Voice commands worked very well for music, phone and navigation, with the car understanding what I said every time and acting accordingly.

Physical commands for infotainment are strong but not best in class, as it takes more steps to do some things than I've seen on other systems. Overall though, it is a very positive infotainment experience and one I could get used to using every day.

The powerful Mazda6 sound system is another highlight, and steering wheel controls are also easy to use.

There are a ton of excellent safety features on the Mazda6, but please note that some of them are reserved for higher trim levels.

Among the features on my test vehicle included a tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brake system with brake assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a very effective 360 degree view monitor, driver attention alert and rear automated emergency braking. Government safety ratings are nearly perfect.

It also had dynamic stability control, traction control system, hill launch assist, advanced dual front airbags, front side impact airbags, front and rear side air curtains, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, Mazda radar cruise control with stop and go, traffic sign recognition and rear view camera. 

Official fuel mileage numbers on the Mazda6 are 23 city/31 highway/26 combined. I averaged just over 24 mpg during my time driving the Mazda6. 

These are not best in class, but the boost in drive quality over the Accord/Camry/Sonata/etc. more than makes up for the difference, and it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to accept. 

Unlike some competitors, there is no eco-friendly version of the Mazda6 offered that increases this fuel mileage. It is what it is.

The 2021 Mazda6 I tested was on the highest trim level and priced just under $37,000; base price starts about $25K, which is a nice price for something this enjoyable to drive.

Mazda also offers a 60-month or 60K mile powertrain warranty, 36-month or 36K miles bumper to bumper warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance.


Sedan shoppers who are not going to jump into the luxury realm owe it to themselves to take a test drive in the 2021 Mazda6. 

Sure, some of them may still end in one of the more traditional offerings, but I would like to believe that some adventurous souls are going to take the plunge and opt for a vehicle like the Mazda6 that they’re going to look forward to driving every day, whether it’s to the grocery story or on windy roads during a long day trip or vacation.

The Mazda6 looks great in and out; drives with character and offers top-notch tech and safety — which is essentially the entire package in today’s automotive world. It’s a shame more people don’t know about it.


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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Mazda6   
  • Price as tested: $36,795 (starts around $25K) 
  • Best feature: Sporty and fun to drive, strong design, tech features  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Sedan buyers who want to skip more humdrum options and get a ride they’ll remember
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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