Outstanding available turbo engine. Like competing models in the midsize sedan segment such as the Nissan Altima, the 2020 Mazda Mazda6 has naturally-aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder engine choices.

The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and that’s less kick than what we’d prefer. It’s perfect for the Mazda Mazda3, however. For upgraded power, the turbocharged version ratchets performance up to 250 hp (when using premium fuel) and 310 lb-ft of torque

We’re disappointed Mazda doesn’t offer an all-wheel-drive option, although the sedan remains stable under hard acceleration thanks to redesigned dampers and a rigid body. Accurate steering and a smooth ride are two hallmarks of all Mazda6 models, but if you’re looking for exhilaration, the turbo is a must.

Designed to wow. We’ve long been impressed by the beauty of the Mazda6, and we believe its elegant shape has forced other manufacturers to improve their styling to compete – here’s looking at you, Toyota Camry.

The brand’s KODO (soul of motion) design theme may be the best in the segment and ranks up there with the luxury marques. A sharp grille, strong character lines, and an elevated and tapered rear-end combine to wow us.

Inside, the design is no less daring or elegant. Simple character lines dominate with just the right blend of contrasting details. Move up to the Signature trim and this one takes a page out of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class playbook with its fine-crafted leathers. No other mainstream brand rises to the level of a top-end Mazda6.

Mazda Mazda6

Strong tech features. The Mazda6 offers a competitive list of tech features, although you’ll want to move up from the base Sport model to at least the Touring trim to gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. The Touring also adds a pair of rear-seat USB ports, and that’s a big deal for today’s tech-savvy consumers.

The standard 8-inch touchscreen is slightly larger than most competing models and features a dial controller, which we found clunky to operate.

The middle of five trims, the Grand Touring, brings in an exquisite Bose audio system and satellite radio. Navigation, a surround-view camera system, and a 7-inch digital instrument panel display come with the range-topping Signature.

Steadfast safety. Perhaps the best attribute of the Mazda6 is in the safety realm. Here, this sedan garners the top safety ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA.

But Mazda doesn’t stop there. Following on the heels of Toyota and Nissan, which also have made advanced driver-assist features standard, the Mazda6 does likewise. Indeed, this model comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring.

On the Ground Touring Reserve and Signature, you’ll find a color head-up display.

Final thoughts. We know not everyone is looking at a crossover, although it oftentimes seems that way. But when it comes to sedans, the 2020 Mazda Mazda6 is a pacesetter in a shrinking segment.

Begin your search with the Touring trim and you’ll have nearly all the tech and safety equipment you need. Upgrading to the turbo engine begins with the Grand Touring trim, and it’s worth it if you wish to combine optimum performance with superior handling.

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