It's tough out there these days for vehicles that have less than five doors and more than two that don't have four wheel drive and are not utility based. Or don't have some elevated driving position. "I like to be up" is what they say. Well, if everyone is "up", is anyone really "up"? Today it's the rare sedan that is able to grab our attention by virtue of its styling too. That rare sedan is the 2016 Mazda 6.
Mazda introduced the current "6" back in 2012. With bulbous sheet metal and questionable curves, it had all the essence of an over designed Subaru, (current) Nissan Altima or a 1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. No matter how wonderful a car it may have been, she was hard to look at.
Mazda updated the 6' styling for 2016 and the subtle alterations did wonders for the over all appearance of the car. While the questionably bulbous front fenders remain, they don't appear to be as silly as before since the overall design of the car is far better balanced. I even like that jutting jaw front end even if the Mazda logo is a centimeter or ten too big.
What makes the 6 even more interesting is that it gets by with nothing more than a four cylinder, gas fired engine; albeit a fairly hefty one displacing some 2.5 liters. Making just 184 horsepower, an automatic transmission equipped 6 goes 0-60 in roughly 8 seconds. Not exactly an Accord or Camry V-6 at stop lights but, seriously, how much power do you need? It's cars like this that make me lol at beasts like the 365 horsepower, twin turbo, Ford Taurus SHO. I mean, c'mon. Seriously?
That lack of power, or just enough power, rewards drivers with an EPA highway mileage rating of nearly 40 miles per gallon. And no, "Skyactiv" ain't no stinkin' hyrbird thing either. It's Mazda's marketing of their engineering prowess that highlights engine efficiency and performance. Pssst, newsflash, kids, you don't need that hybrid crap. They don't get that much better mileage to offset the additional expense and when they break, it's going to break your bank account. Oh, you're a greenie? Do you have any idea how clean fossil fuel burning cars are today?
Many Japanese brands have become far to Americanized over the last twenty years and they've lost a lot of their specialness that sets them apart from American makes and models. While the Big Three have caught up remarkably to the point that all cars are as similar as a gallon of milk at different super markets, Japanese makes and models like the Accord, Camry (and Altima) might as well be Malibus or Fusions. That's meant as much as praise for GM and Ford, ok, Chrylser too, as well as it means that the Japanese have stopped being innovative and benchmark setting.
With the possible exception of adorable Subaru, all of the Japanese have fallen off, or have stopped innovating, except for little ole Mazda. Everything they do from the Miata to the 6 and yes, even their blasted cross overs, have a specialness about them that all Japanese makes and models had years ago before they all became Impalas. I first drove a Honda Accord in the mid 1980's and was enthralled at what a magnificent automobile it was. Of course I was comparing it to the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba I was driving at the time but still. These days, take a spin in an Accord and then drive a Ford Fusion; bet you really can't tell the difference.
Then take a Mazda 6 for a spin. Thank me later.