Introduced in early 2002, the Mazda6 traces its roots back to 1987, when the 626 was enlarged from a compact to a midsize sedan. Although sporty and somewhat luxurious, the first-generation Mazda6 wasn’t the gorgeous sedan we’re all familiar with today. It took Mazda about 10 years to refine the sedan, which entered a new era in 2012, when the third-generation model rolled out. Designed around the company’s KODO-Soul of Motion styling language, the Mazda6 arrived on U.S. soil with a 2.5-liter, Skyactiv-G unit under its hood, one of three engines offered with the sedan. Unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, the U.S.-spec Mazda6 received its first facelift exactly two years later, during the same event.
Although it continues with the same 2.5-liter, the revised Mazda6 boasts a bolder front fascia with new headlamps and an updated interior with a new dashboard and better fit and finish. Read on to find out more about the changes that will keep this sedan fresh for a couple more years.
Updated 08/10/2016: Mazda announced a series of small updates for the 2017 Mazda 6 sedan which will be put on sale later in September.
Exterior improvements for the 2016 Mazda6 aren’t massive, but they do improve the sedan’s appearance, giving it a stronger design expression
Exterior improvements for the 2016 Mazda6 aren’t massive, but they do improve the sedan’s appearance, giving it a stronger design expression. Up front, slightly revised headlamps with a new LED layout and reshaped turn signals replace the previous units. The grille is also new, now sporting six horizontal slats instead of five for a bolder presence. Modifications continue below with the lower apron, which features new fog lamps embedded in revised casings with boomerang-shaped chrome trims.
Things are less significant around back, where only the taillight clusters are different. Everything else from the trunk lid to the bumper remained unaltered.
The sedan’s profile is identical as well, although the 19-inch aluminum wheels are now finished in a darker color with metallic flakes. A new shark fin antenna and two additional body colors round off the 2016 Mazda 6’s exterior. Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica join the color palette, which now includes nine different hues.
The Mazda6 received even more updates inside, although many of them are only noticeable at a closer inspection
The Mazda6 received even more updates inside, although many of them are only noticeable upon closer inspection. The dashboard and the center console are the most obvious changes. The former gained a significant reshape and a host of new features, including revised A/C vents, a wider center trim, and a freestanding, seven-inch display.
The center console is also new, sporting a reworked gear shifter and a modified control layout. The instrument cluster comes with new graphics and dials. Mazda also focused on minimizing gaps between interior parts, with the cabin now showcasing an enhanced feeling of quality fit and finish.
Although the Japanese automaker continues to offer the same selection of black and white leather, as well as black or sand beige fabric inserts, there’s a host of new tech features up for grabs. The sedan is now equipped with Active Driving Display, Mazda Connect with Internet connectivity and the i-Activesense safety package.
New For 2017
Inside, the 2017-model-year sedan gets Nappa leather seating surfaces with contrasting piping in Grand Touring models equipped with the Premium Package. These models also get a black headliner and heated steering wheel with traditional Japanese chidori stitching, heated rear seats, and a bright metallic finish to switches and trim throughout the interior.
Mazda also offers a new, full-color Active Driving Display, as well as a 4.6-inch, full-color TFT display in Grand Touring models. Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane-Keep Assist and Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring have also made their way into the 2017 Mazda6. Entry-level Sport models now come equipped with Mazda Connect.
Further enhancements includes upgraded sound insulation by means of improved door seals and tighter tolerance between panels and sound insulation materials added to the underbody, rear console, headliner and doors. The windscreen is now thicker to better block wind noise, while Grand Touring models come with laminated front side windows.
The same 2.5-liter, Skyactiv-G, four-cylinder engine sends 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque to the wheels
The drivetrain is the only department that carries over unchanged for the 2016 model year. The same 2.5-liter, Skyactiv-G, four-cylinder engine sends 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Any of the two combos enables the Mazda6 to reach 60 mph from a standing start in around 7.6 seconds.
Fuel economy remains the same with both transmissions. The manual sedan returns 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.The ratings jump to 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the automatic gearbox. The latter is standard on Touring and Grand Touring models, and optional on the Sport version.
i-ELOOP continues as a standalone option for the Grand Touring Trim. As a brief reminder, the system uses the kinetic energy created when braking to generate electricity that it’s later used to power the headlamps, audio system and the climate control. The energy reduces the amount of time the vehicle has to rely on the engine-driven alternator, thus reducing drag on the engine and increasing efficiency. The benefits of the i-ELOOP system are significant, as the Mazda6 Grand Touring’s EPA estimates rise to 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
New For 2017
The Mazda6 is the company first vehicle to use the all-new G-Vectoring Control (GVC). The first in a series of new SkyActiv dynamics technologies, GVC provides integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body. This gives drivers more precise control of their vehicles by reducing the need for steering corrections. Mazda claims driver will benefit from greater confidence and control both in day-to-day and spirited driving.
The American midsize sedan market is dominated by two cars, one of which is the Toyota Camry. Also the best-selling car in America, the Camry received an extensive facelift for the 2015 model, including an almost completely redesigned exterior and an all-new cabin. Boasting more upmarket materials and better fit and finish, the revised Camry remains the car to beat in 2015.
Much like the Mazda6, the 2015 Camry comes with the same drivetrains as its predecessor. The range begins with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder rated at 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet and continues with a 200-pony, hybridized four-banger. The top-level sedan is motivated by the familiar 3.5-liter V-6 that cranks out 268 horses and 248 pound-feet of torque. The facelifted Camry retails from $22,970.
The Accord is the Camry’s long-time competitor in the U.S. and carries over into 2015 with no updates whatsoever. Redesigned for 2013, the current Accord features an athletic design and a host of aerodynamic improvements, along with LED light units all around and dual exhaust pipes for the V-6 models. The interior is packed with premium features and technology for a non-luxury sedan, but a leather interior is available for only three of the six trim levels.
A 2.4-liter, inline-four pumps 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet, while a 3.5-liter V-6 delivers 278 ponies and 252 pound-feet of torque. Honda also offers hybrid and plug-in models, which sport a 141-pony 2.0-liter, four-banger and a 166-horsepower electric motor. The Honda Accord retails from $21,995.
The Mazda6 is one of the better looking midsize sedans and this mild update not only keeps it fresh for a few more years, but also adds a touch of boldness to the company’s KODO-Soul of Motion design. The interior is equally fresh, and although the drivetrain doesn’t see any improvements, that’s not to say the Mazda6 is lagging behind its competitors in terms of performance and fuel economy. Sure, it might not offer a hybrid option, but the i-ELOOP system is potent enough to help the sedan outgun its gasoline competitors.
- – Bold exterior- Revised interior- New safety features- Impressive fuel economy across the board
- – Only one engine- Tough segment
Updated 02/11/2015: Mazda announced prices for the 2016 Mazda6 sedan, which will be put on sale later in the spring. The model will be offered in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, with prices ranging from $21,495 for the base Sport version and up to $30,195 for the Gran Touring.
Debuting in 2012 as the flagship model in Mazda’s new-generation product lineup, Mazda6 earned high acclaim in markets around the world thanks to the alluring vitality of the KODO-Soul of Motion design language and SKYACTIV Technology’s balance of driving pleasure, environmental performance and safety. This round’s update aims to fully respond to customer expectations and Mazda went to extraordinary lengths to bring new levels of depth and maturity to every aspect of the model. In addition to an innovative interior design, the updated refreshed Mazda6 offers the customer greater sophistication and value with enhanced exterior design, functionality, ride comfort, quietness, and safety.
The 2016 Mazda6 features the following enhancements. Bold changes to the shape of the instrument panel and floor console give the interior a fresh new look. It fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design, based on Mazda’s unique Heads-up Cockpit concept, with a roomy front seat passenger environment. In addition, thorough attention was paid to minimizing gaps between parts and achieving an overall unified appearance, significantly enhancing the feeling of quality as befits the flagship model in the Mazda product lineup. Exterior features include a new front grille and signature wing design. These combine with new LED headlamps to create a bold and elegant expression that leaves a distinct impression of the evolution of the brand. Detailed refinements to dynamic performance include improved sound insulation throughout the body and improved front and rear seat performance. These enhancements yield a quieter and more comfortable riding experience, as befits the flagship model of Mazda’s range of new-generation products.
Further refined KODO design creates a bolder new exterior
Mazda6 gave form to the TAKERI concept car and is a pure expression of Mazda’s KODO design language. The design fused intellect, elegance and an emotional, dynamic shape to realize a strong presence as the flagship model. It earned high acclaim as a result, including being named a Top 3 Finalist for the 2013 World Car Design of the Year award.
For this round’s update, particular effort was dedicated to further polishing Mazda6’s award-winning design and to creating a deeper, stronger design expression. This includes the added texture and enhanced three-dimensionality of the front grille and signature wing; the strong sense of vitality of the new headlamps that look like eyes gazing straight ahead; and the new design expression created by the signature wing illumination. While the sophisticated air born of KODO design remains, the refreshed Mazda6 marks an evolution to a bolder and more elegant expression that lends it stronger presence as the flagship model and clearly conveys the further evolution of the brand.
• The fins on the front grille, which feature a stronger look of horizontal flow, combine with the dynamic shape and three-dimensionality of the signature wing to create a bolder front face with an elegant look.
• The LED lighting signature of the rear combination lamps gives the rear view a sharp, taut look.
• The new compact shark fin antenna accents the vehicle’s flowing form and stylish looks.
• The 19-inch aluminum wheel with high-gloss paint adopts a darker color that emphasizes the brightness and greater depth of its metallic look.
• The lineup of nine body colors includes the newly developed Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica, which was first introduced on Mazda3.
Interior Design & Functions
Refined textures and advanced functions highlight the sophisticated interior
The Mazda6 interior already featured sophisticated design and coordination, along with finely crafted forms. Careful selection of each material, including the finest quality leather covering the steering wheel and Mazda’s first use of off-white leather, embodied the sense of taste and fine texture that befitted the flagship model.
For this round’s update, every detail related to texture and quality was polished to perfection, further lifting the level of quality in the interior. The design team pursued beauty born of the fine mating and unification of carefully produced parts. To meet this goal, they boldly evolved the shapes of the instrument panel and floor console, while paying careful attention to the shapes, expressions and use of colors for the parts and ornamentation laid out in these areas. It also includes the adoption of Mazda Connect, Mazda’s next-generation car connectivity system and an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB). Mazda enhanced both convenience and comfort, while also heightening a sense of high quality as befits the flagship model.
• Bold changes to the shape of the instrument panel and floor console give the interior a fresh new look.
• Thorough attention paid to minimizing gaps between parts and achieving an overall unified appearance significantly enhances the feeling of quality as befits the flagship model in the Mazda product lineup.
• The interior fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design based on the Heads-up Cockpit and an instrument panel that extends horizontally to create a passenger environment with a sense of breadth and openness.
• The refreshed Mazda6 continues to offer a selection of black or white leather, or black or sand beige fabric interior materials. However, the leather interior adopts new color coordination.
• Mazda’s first implementation of an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB).
• A freestanding seven-inch center display is mounted on the top of the low dashboard.
• The Active Driving Display provides vehicle speed and other important driving information, such as that from the advanced safety systems, in real time.
• The Mazda Connect car connectivity system paired with a smartphone makes it easier to take advantage of functions including internet connectivity and access to social networking services.
Higher quality dynamic performance delivers pure driving pleasure
The smooth, linear response and feeling of oneness between car and driver realized by SKYACTIV Technology delivers a light and pleasant driving experience. For this round’s update, the development team devoted particular effort to adding greater depth to the enjoyment of the driving experience by further enhancing the level of all-round comfort, including ride comfort and quietness. Toward this purpose, Mazda further evolved NVH performance and seat performance, while also adopting Drive Selection for the SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission.
The 2016 Mazda6 continues to offer a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine. Also carried over are the six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmissions. Combined with Mazda’s i-stop idling stop system and i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, the powertrains deliver the right balance of linear, powerful acceleration, and excellent fuel economy and environmental performance.
• Excellent NVH performance befits the even higher-quality interior environment. The amount of noise transmitted into the cabin is reduced by approximately 10 percent when driving on rough roads and by approximately 25 percent on highways.
• The evolved front and rear seat structure provides a feeling of comfortable snugness and a good fit, excellent holding characteristics, as well as ride comfort befitting Mazda’s flagship model.
• The Mazda6 powered by a gasoline engine and paired with SKYACTIV-DRIVE adopts Drive Selection, which allows drivers to switch drive modes for a more responsive driving experience.
i-ACTIVSENSE safety features support driving pleasure with peace of mind
As befits a flagship model, the world-class safety performance of Mazda6 has earned high acclaim. Its adoption of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE*1 advanced safety technologies based on Mazda Proactive Safety*2 plays an important role in achieving this level of safety performance. The 2016 Mazda6 offers a wide variety of advanced safety technologies and further strengthens safety performance. This delivers greater driving pleasure and peace of mind, while adding further polish to the value offered by Mazda’s flagship model.
*1 i-ACTIVSENSE is an umbrella term covering a series of advanced safety technologies that employ detection devices such as milliwave radar units and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions, and minimizing damage in the event an accident does occur.
*2 Mazda Proactive Safety is Mazda’s safety philosophy that aims to minimize the risks that can lead to an accident and maximize the range of conditions in which the driver can safely operate the vehicle. The various technologies it provides enable the driver to act appropriately through all driving processes, including cognition, judgment, and operation. It thereby helps prevent or minimize damage in the event an accident cannot be avoided. Mazda Proactive Safety will continue to evolve in the future.
• Among the variety of i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies, Mazda made a particular effort to keep the driver more aware of conditions so they can enjoy driving at night or at highway speeds with greater reassurance.
o Mazda’s Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) detects vehicles approaching from the blind spot areas at the sides and rear. BSM also incorporates Mazda’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) function, which alerts the driver when it detects vehicles approaching from either side as the driver backs up.
o Available as an additional feature, Smart Brake Support (SBS) helps avoid frontal collisions or minimize damage when traveling mid- to high-speed.