2020 Mazda 6 Signature new car reviews

"Superb driving dynamics balanced with sophisticated styling." That's how Mazda describes the new 2020 Mazda6. We'll let you judge the styling, but as far as the driving dynamics, the numbers do look promising: 227 horsepower and 187 lb.-ft. of torque on tap—with an extra 23 horsepower if you fill it with premium—from the available turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Otherwise, the Mazda6 is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four good for 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque.

Only front-wheel-drive can be had, and if you are looking for a hybrid option, you won't find one in the Mazda6.

We were given the keys to a Signature model, the top trim powered by the turbocharged engine and loaded with pretty much everything you would come to expect from a well-equipped midsize sedan like heated and ventilated seats, radar-assisted cruise control, a 360-degree exterior view and numerous electronic safety features.

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J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

I have a bit of an unwritten rule with my critiques of new cars that I will review and judge them for what they are, not what they aren’t. With strict adherence to that rule, I’d have to report that I really dig the current version of the Mazda6, and it’s got a healthy dose of the driver-centric driving dynamics that Mazda has built their reputation around, along with a general aura of goodness and usability as an every-day car.

Buuuuuuuttttt…

I’m going to break my own rule here because what this Mazda6 is not is pretty notable for a premium utility sedan in 2020. Mazda offers no hybrid drive system for the 6, and that puts it at a disadvantage to competitors—particularly Hyundai and Kia—who build hybrid and plug-in-hybrid versions of their market-adjacent and also quite excellent sedans.

It’s also worth mentioning that the current Mazda6 is a bit of a placeholder, riding out the run of the model, expecting to be replaced by an all-new 6 in 2022 featuring a north-south inline 6 with a hybrid system and rear-wheel drive. Uhh, that’s a hell of a reboot, and I’m surprised it’s keeping the same name, but, whatever. I’m not marketing whiz. Sounds like it’s going to be cool, though.

For now, the 6 soldiers on with a turbocharged 227hp Skyactive-G four-cylinder which delivers low-30mpg numbers and is entirely… adequate? Again, nothing really wrong here, just that competitors with instant electric torque and 10-15% better fuel economy are out there on lots right next door.

Inside, the 6 is darn nice, with a Mazda-typical excellent driving position and the right combination of buttons and touch screens to make the most common functions fairly intuitive. Mazda’s driver info center—operated with a clickable scroll wheel BMW iDrive style—can be a bit cumbersome at first, but is fairly intuitive to navigate after just a short period of use, even if some of the features are buried in extraneous menus (some of the maintenance functions are interacted with under “Maintenance” and some are under “Apps.” Just… streamline guys). Overall, it’s a pleasant and premium experience inside, and the chassis dynamics complement the excellent interior with that crisp Mazda feel. It’s ironic that the MX-5 feels like one of Mazda’s least-communicative chassis in off-the-showroom-floor trim at the moment. The 6, the 3, heck, even the small ute models have the feel and feedback we wish the MX-5 had. But that’s another story.

Our Signature trim level—like many companies, Mazda has all but abandoned individual options in favor of multiple trim levels with different standard equipment—checks all the boxes and then some when it comes to onboard technology and connectivity, and even adds some swank Nappa leather and real wood trim inside the car. At almost $37,000 it’s pricey, and there are a few diminishing returns over the next lowest trim level which features almost all of the electronics but does away with some of the high-end trim for nearly $3000 less.

Ultimately I have nothing bad to say about what the Mazda6 is. With the chassis on its way out the door soon, perhaps there will be some exceptional deals available as this model cycle winds down. But taken in the context of its current market competitors, Mazda should breathe a sigh of relief that this current 6 is getting the big reboot soon.

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fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/3/20 11:33 a.m.

in the stick non turbo highway speeds I would see ~37mpg in real world situations, driving around town was about 28-29mpg calculated too, really surprised to see the big hit in the "new" model to be honest. I was a bit surprised to find that it was getting better than reported mileage. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/3/20 12:36 p.m.

The turbo motor only has ONE more torque than the NA engine? devil

For the styling, I think they are quite handsome sedans. The ex-wife had a '15 Grand Touring Mazda 6, it was a really great car and rated at 40 on the hwy. 

thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter)
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/3/20 1:44 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I'm curious about that too. The peak numbers are confusing for an NA motor vs a turbocharged one. Same torque, more HP usually means more RPM, not boost. Both motors even have the same displacement.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
8/3/20 2:25 p.m.
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to z31maniac :

I'm curious about that too. The peak numbers are confusing for an NA motor vs a turbocharged one. Same torque, more HP usually means more RPM, not boost. Both motors even have the same displacement.

I think there is a typo on the side colum it says:

 

Torque:
310 lb.-ft at 2000 rpm
z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/3/20 2:32 p.m.
m4ff3w said:
thatsnowinnebago (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to z31maniac :

I'm curious about that too. The peak numbers are confusing for an NA motor vs a turbocharged one. Same torque, more HP usually means more RPM, not boost. Both motors even have the same displacement.

I think there is a typo on the side colum it says:

 

Torque:
310 lb.-ft at 2000 rpm

I know, that's why I put the emoji there. wink

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
8/3/20 2:51 p.m.

Same 2.5 turbo engine as the CX-9, therefore same torques, i.e. 310.

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