Real-World Review

2016 Mazda6: Real World Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2015

Although we already think the Mazda6 is one of the best midsize sedans on the market, Mazda wasn't keen to let the model rest on its laurels for the latest model year. After all, the midsize sedan segment is highly competitive, with new and redesigned models popping up each year. Enter the 2016 Mazda6, which has received some major updates over last year's model. Just how far do they go? And is the new Mazda6 still among the top midsize sedans? We spent a week with the sedan to find out.

Handsome Inside and Out

As usual, everyone who drove the Mazda6 praised its styling, both inside and out. We weren't surprised by this, considering that we once had a Mazda6 long-term test car that garnered roughly the same praise. We were, however, surprised that most drivers said they actually preferred the updated design (with revised front and rear ends) to the look of last year's model. This suggests that Mazda was able to take a good thing and make it better -- which isn't always a common trait of midcycle face-lifts.

Other items that earned high marks from our drivers were the new "swooping" look of the fog lights, which is clearly an upgrade, and the excellent Blue Reflex exterior color. It's hard to say whether we'd choose it over the sedan's amazing Soul Red Metallic, but it would certainly be high on our list.

Comments about the Mazda6's interior were similarly enthusiastic. One tester, Tommy, noted that "the interior layout is really clean," while others praised the quality of materials, the overall cabin design and Mazda's color choices, which give the car's interior something of a luxury-car feel.

Other Benefits

The Mazda6's benefits aren't limited to its styling. Our drivers liked nearly everything about the sedan, including the seats -- one driver described them as "really comfortable" -- and the interior room -- a driver said there was "plenty" of room in back. The driving experience is also great, and the Mazda6 remains among the best in class thanks to excellent handling and a comfortable ride.

Still, we wonder if a midsize sedan made by a company whose new slogan is "Driving Matters" should have a more powerful engine option. With that said, we're hardly complaining about the powertrain when the discussion turns to fuel economy. We returned nearly 32 miles per gallon in the Mazda6 with primarily highway driving, which is an excellent figure for a family sedan.

The Drawbacks?

There were, however, a few things our testers didn't like about the 2016 Mazda6. Two, in particular. The car's number one issue, according to just about everyone who drove it, is the center armrest -- a small detail, yes, but one that got so many complaints we wonder how Mazda could have possibly missed it. One tester, Ben, called the armrest "quite narrow," while Tommy noted that "the console could have benefited from a better armrest" -- especially with the change from a large parking brake lever to an electronic switch.

Another complaint: the infotainment system. No, not the system itself, which has improved dramatically over past Mazda6 models. We mean the location of the system, as it's not integrated into the dashboard or center control stack at all. Many testers felt that this made it seem like the infotainment system was added as an afterthought to the car's interior.

Our Take

In the end, the positive traits of the latest Mazda6 dramatically outweigh the few negatives. We like this car a lot, and while we have a couple of gripes, we wouldn't be car reviewers if we didn't. Updates for 2016 only enhance what we already believe to be one of the best -- and most enjoyable -- midsize sedans on the market. As such, the Mazda6 remains high on our list of recommended family sedans.

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Used 2016 Mazda MAZDA6 Grand Touring
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Mazda6: Real World Review - Autotrader