2021 Mazda 6 Signature new car reviews

The current version of the Mazda6 landed in showrooms early in 2013. The big news came in 2018 with the availability of turbo power. Well, one more bit of news: After 2021, the Mazda6 leaves showrooms without a replacement. "As consumer interests continue to evolve, Mazda will discontinue CX-3 and Mazda6 for the 2022 model year for the US market, the release states.

What do we think about this whole situation? Read on.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Perhaps if the turbo version had come sooner?

Let’s back up for a second.

The original Mazda6, sold here from 2003-’08, the successor to ye olde 626, was a darn fine car–as were its predecessors. If you were looking for a sporty, Japanese sedan, it was on the short list.

A Mazdaspeed version was offered, too–back when that label meant something. It added all-wheel drive and turbo power–like, real performance turbo power, not performance power that’s kinda just adequate.

I remember chasing one around Roebling Road. I think I was in my B16A-powered CRX. I could catch it in the turns, but the straights were another story.

[How to turn the Mazdaspeed6 into a rad autocrosser.]

Then we got a new Mazda6 for 2009. And it was a dog. (It was popular with the yellow sac spider, however.)

But then we got an all-new Mazda6 for 2014–although it debuted in very early in 2013. Crisp styling, roomy cockpit and a rock-solid touch and feel. (True story: I once had an off-duty New York police officer ferry me through the City during rush hour in one–long story–and it was perfect for the mission: quiet, roomy and seemingly light on its feet.)

Mazda even launched a full-on, factory-backed IMSA race effort featuring the new-for-2013-or-2014 Mazda6. Tube-frame, diesel-powered racers that, let’s be honest, had almost nothing in common with the cars offered at the corner lot.

Mazda never offered a diesel to U.S. consumers, and the race car fell into a short-lived IMSA GX class that will remain a footnote in things that almost made sense at the time but, looking back, leave us scratching our heads a bit.

But the road car must be fast, too, right? Well, its 2.5-liter engine made 187 horsepower. It was okay.

Then the big news for 2018: a facelift for the Mazda6 along with turbo power. Now we’re talking 250 horsepower (on premium fuel).

That sounds great, but by now the Mazda6 was old news. And you could also get a fine sedan from the Koreans. And people had largely forgotten about sedans in general. And, to a point, maybe Mazda? In an automotive landscape dominated by trucks, electrification and crazy performance, for years Mazda has offered D, none of the above.

So that’s where we are today. Mazda just reported its best May ever, but it also recently announced that the 6 and CX-3 go away after 2021. (Here we are deep into 2021 with a mass-market car offered largely unchanged since early 2013.)

That leaves Mazda dealers with the CX-5, its main moneymaker, along with the 3, CX-30, CX-9 and MX-5. (Of the 42,187 vehicles sold by the brand in the U.S. during May, the CX-5 accounted for nearly half; during the same month, Honda posted 42,090 CR-V sales.)

Mazda, we have been rooting for you for years. You make our readers’ favorite cars. Everyone in my family owns a Miata. I say this both personally and professionally: Hopefully you’re back in the game.

The sad thing is that the final take of the Mazda6 gets so much right. It has plenty of power. Its automatic offers crisp shifts and, when in sport mode, solid logic. The interior feels upmarket. The exterior styling still holds up well. Even the paddle shifters feature the perfect texture. If this car with this engine was available in 2013, things maybe would be different today.

So, what is it going to take to get people into a Mazda dealership these days? To stay in the game, you gotta move units.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
Countingcrowbars UltraDork
7/5/21 9:44 a.m.

Whatever happened to them making this a rwd bmw and stinger contender?

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/5/21 10:35 p.m.
Countingcrowbars said:

Whatever happened to them making this a rwd bmw and stinger contender?

You're thinking of what is in development in partnership with Lexus.. it's still not out yet.. but on the horizon.. and has no official name..

jcme0557 New Reader
7/6/21 8:49 a.m.

I owned a 2016 mid-grade "touring" trim one for several years. It was an excellent alternative to the typical "big three" Japanese midsize sedans of the time. Mine was equipped with a manual transmission and offered lively handling, a pleasant ride, good performance, and excellent fuel economy...all in an attractive sporty package with four doors and a trunk. Seriously, what more could you ask for? 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/6/21 9:10 a.m.

I test drove a 2020 6 Grand Touring Turbo when I was car shopping last Fall. That turbo 4 should have been offered in this car from the beginning. It was pretty quick and handled well. Two things kept me from driving home with it:

-The interior was nice enough, but it was nowhere in the same class as the lesser Mazda 3 that I drove right before it. If I'm paying a premium for a midsize car with a luxury package, it better be more luxurious than the smaller econobox. The car felt like a 6 year old brand new car inside, and not in a good way.

-The price. I was hoping to get a deal, since the car had been sitting on the lot for damn near a year, but they didn't go down nearly enough to make it worth it.

These will be a bargain in the "entertaining daily driver" used market in a few years after people forget that they made them, if you can find one. 

1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/6/21 9:13 a.m.

The obvious successor to the 1989 Mazda 626 LX that was my first new car purchase.  I would surely be driving one today if a small sedan was capable of meeting my needs.  Alas, such is not the case, and so I find myself in the just-barely-large-enough Mazda CX-9.

RX Reven'
RX Reven' UltraDork
7/6/21 10:23 a.m.

My daughter is taking her driving test next Tuesday and we dropped by my local Mazda dealership (Westlake Village, CA) yesterday to check out the Miata's.

Matt, who did an honest job of selling me a new Mazda two years ago, said that every car / Miata they're going to get for the balance of the year is either on the lot or scheduled.

He had two Miata's on the lot (one GT and one RF hardtop) and none of the three scheduled were Sports or Clubs....we want a Club in Soul Red.

Basically, he said the CX-30, CX-5, & CX-9 are all that Mazda is focused on at this point due to the chip shortage.

He also said they had very little foot traffic last Saturday, decided to be closed on the 4th and they have no reason to discount on cars / Miata's as they'll soon be out of inventory.

BTW, Mazda has introduced a new generation of Miata every 8.5 years on average with a standard deviation of 1.4 years...we're now in year seven for the ND so if history holds, 2022 will most likely be the last year.  


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/6/21 1:20 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

I agree: What if Mazda had launched the 6 with the turbo engine? Would that have made it a player?

And, yes, these will be bargains. 

Carsandbikes Reader
7/6/21 3:37 p.m.

For whatever reason, Mazda has teased potential customers in the U.S. market several times over the years, and taken too long to follow through on promised drivetrain options...to no good result.

Remember how we were promised a turbo diesel?  

Mazda is the only manufacturer that produced interesting cars that handled with manual transmissions, but their determined move upmarket kept me from buying one.  Crazy me, I have never owned or wanted to own a full boat, loaded to the roof, car.

We got a base model (no options whatsoever) 2017 Mazda6 as a lease, and it was so nice to drive we ended up buying it at the end of the lease term.  In hindsight we wish we had optioned the car better or waited a year to get one with a turbo, but even in base configuration the car is a hoot to drive.  Much nicer dynamics than Honda/Toyota/Nissan offer in their sedans, so it's a real shame to see this model end up on the chopping block.

We're seriously considering selling our 2017 and getting a 2021 if pricing every hits "closeout make me an offer" levels which seems like a real possibility.  It's just too good to not get the last one they make.

accordionfolder SuperDork
7/7/21 7:57 a.m.

In reply to jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) :

This exactly. My cx-9 and the cx-5 it replaced drove with so much more enjoyment than anything else we test drove. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/7/21 8:39 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Tony Sestito :

I agree: What if Mazda had launched the 6 with the turbo engine? Would that have made it a player?

And, yes, these will be bargains. 

I think it would've helped them sell more, but ultimately, it would would have been discontinued anyway.

Remember when the Ford Fusion was redesigned back in 2012-13? Everyone in the automotive press loved the looks, and three optional turbocharged power plants (one with around 250hp as well) and a later 325hp AWD Sport model didn't stay the execution. And they were selling a lot more of those than Mazda was selling the 6.

Fact of the matter is, no one wants sedans at the Mazda stores. Not even really nice ones. I'm still hopeful they bring out that sweet I6 RWD sedan they've been teasing for the past few years, but I'm not holding my breath given their track record of teasing things and never releasing them here. The Mazda of old is long gone, unfortunately.

calteg Dork
7/7/21 9:56 a.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

TIL there was a sleeper Fusion...wonder what that TT2.7L does with a tune....

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/7/21 10:22 a.m.

In reply to calteg :

They also made a 1.5L Ecoboost one with a 6-speed manual early on, and they make tunes for those. I briefly looked into those, but they are next to impossible to find these days.

calteg Dork
7/8/21 10:05 a.m.

Tough to find cocrete numbers regarding how much a tune might wake the Fusion up. Some light digging says that the 2.7L in the F-150 will get +50hp +60tq, though 2017 seems like there were some adjustments to the motor itself? 

CyberEric Dork
7/8/21 12:47 p.m.

I've talked about it here before, but I had one of these (non-turbo) as a rental for my wedding in Hawaii and absolutely loved it. Even in base, rental spec it was just such a great car. I'd love to drive one with the turbo.

Like has been mentioned, no one buys sedans anymore. Mazda may have sold a few more initially if it had started with the turbo, but this is Mazda. They are a small company trying to survive. The only reason that turbo exists is because it was developed for an SUV, the CX-9. It just happens to fit in the 6 and 3. I feel lucky Mazda still makes a great MX-5.

9 out of 10 Mazdas I see on the road are a CX-something.

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/9/21 8:59 a.m.

Don't forget about Mazda Motorsports membership provides access to S Plan pricing for you, your family and friends (dealer invoice). 



Our Preferred Partners