The good news is the Mazda6 is still a fantastic sporty midsize sedan. The bad news about this 2020 Mazda6 Signature that I’ve been driving is that it’s basically the same car that we have been reviewing for years and was largely unchanged for the 2020 model year.
That’s not an overt plot to get you to click through more of our website, well it’s not just that. It’s a full paragraph to let you know that we consider ourselves subject matter experts on the Mazda Mazda6 at this point. So ideally each one of these articles gets a little better. So, if you are looking for a really good sporty sedan, this is your review.
This is where I normally give you, dear reader, a brief history of the vehicle I am testing. I’ve already done that though for the 2017.5 article, go back and read the bit at the top if you want my opinion on each of the Mazda6’s generations.
Trim levels have changed over the years. For the 2020 model year, we get to choose from five nicely equipped options.
The Sport and Touring come with the base 2.5L engine with 187 horsepower. Whereas higher trim levels, like our range topping Signature, come with the turbocharged 2.5L with a decent 250 horsepower.
Our test car came with minimal options, just a $100 cargo mat in the trunk and $300 for some gray paint. All in, we’re at $36,620.
I’ll talk about how the 6’er compares to the stiff competition in a bit, let’s see how it is to drive.
First off, the Mazda6 is still a great looking car, even if this generation is getting a little long in the tooth. I tried to get some good shots of the details of the 6, since it’s evolved nicely over this generation.
Like I mentioned during my last Mazda6 article, the days of it being the only attractive midsize sedan are over. The competition from Honda and Toyota in particular have really improved from a design perspective.
On the inside, I immediately loved the heated steering wheel, especially on cold, damp, DC day. Somehow, Mazda managed to make a heated steering wheel that is also fairly thin.
The overall dashboard design is minimalist, which is great. The screen does look a bit tacked on, but no more than those found in recent Audi and Mercedes vehicles. With just one narrow bit of buttons below it, the dash flows nicely.
Mazda’s ubiquitous rotary knob is still pretty functional, easily scrolling through options which are selectable with a quick push of the knob. My nemesis, Apple CarPlay did generally allow me to listen to FM/XM while doing other things through my phone. However, any time I got a notification it switched back to the CarPlay screen.
Other than that, my biggest gripe was that unlocking the drivers door does not unlock any other door. What’s the point, unless you’re always solo. You still have to unlock the other doors manually every time. On a “signature” top end model, I’d like to see some small features like this available.
First impressions out on the road – sporty and practical. It has typical Mazda zoom-zoomy’ness; whether that is real or imagined at this point, I’m not sure. I just know it’s fun to drive, and if this were your daily driver, you’d likely be pretty satisfied.
The seats are pretty solid, with decent bolsters keeping you in place while you pull those Gs. While pretty on a press loaner, I have to imagine the “parchment nappa leather” would get pretty weathered in this color.
The 250 horsepower (with 93 octane fuel, it’s 227 horsepower with 87 octane!) does the trick, with the 6 pulling pretty well on the highway or getting up to speed coming off of an on-ramp.
For awhile, the Mazda6 owned the “pretty” part of the segment. The Accord and Camry were too boring to compete from an appearance standpoint. As noted, that has changed, they are pretty good looking these days. Here’s a quick breakdown on how things look from a packaging and cost perspective to help you in your buying process.
Unsurprisingly, the Accord, Camry and Mazda6 all start at about the same price.
- Mazda6 Sport – $24,100
- Accord LX – $24,020
- Camry L – $24,425
So, if you are purely shopping based on entry level price point, you’re going to need to go deeper. Let’s look at powah!
- Mazda6 Sport – 2.5L 4-cylinder with 187 horsepower
- Accord LX – 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder with 192 horsepower
- Camry L – 2.5L 4-cylinder with 203 horsepower
So, we’re getting there, power is pretty similar. Let’s look at weight.
- Mazda6 Sport – 3437 lbs.
- Accord LX – 3131 lbs.
- Camry L – 3241 lbs.
Hmm, the 6 is a little hefty compared to the competition, all of which are in more newly updated generations. At least in base model trim. If you bump things up to the top spec versions, things normalize a bit.
The 2.5T engine in our Signature rates pretty closely to the Accord’s 252 horsepower, but falls short of the Camry’s V6 power (301 horsepower). Curb weight is closer too, with the 6 and Camry close to 3,600 pounds, quite a bit higher than the Accord’s near 3,400.
Other dimensions are all pretty comparable with the 6 having slightly less cargo space measurements.
So, where does that leave us? The midsize sedan segment has always been massively competitive. Sort of like full-size trucks, most buyers align to a brand and stick with it unless they have problems. So a Honda girl is a Honda girl and a Toyota girl is a Toyota girl. I hope that Mazda has been earning that brand loyalty. They are one of the few small independent automakers out there and they’re making great stuff.
Taken on the surface, it’s tough to recommend the aging Mazda6 over the more recently updated competition. They are known for great reliability and they are even kinda attractive now. The 6 has a lot of ground to cover with its next update. But if you need a car right now, you really can’t go wrong with the Mazda6. It’s still a great car, it’s just facing continually improving competition.