Dated but still a stunner. The bones of the 2021 Mazda Mazda6 have been around since 2014, giving it one of the oldest designs in the class. However, when it arrived, this midsize Mazda was a leader in style, so its looks may still hold up amid heavy competition.

The Mazda6 also offers a potent optional powertrain, a loaded cabin, and loads of value on top of its good looks.

Stunning looks inside and out, but watch your head when getting in. Like most other Mazda models, the Mazda6 offers a unique and attractive exterior design. Its flat nose, long hood, sweeping body lines, and coupe-likeC-pillars make it stand out in a crowd.

While the Mazda6’s design will appeal to many buyers, those looking for something more traditional will find this in the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima.

The Mazda6 has plenty of room in its back seat, which offers 38.7 inches of leg room and 37.1 inches of head room. However, its shallow-raked D-pillar cuts into the door opening, making it a hazard for taller people.

Buyers seeking a roomier rear seat will find this in the Accord, which offers 40.4 inches of leg room. Most other competitors are short of the Mazda6 by an inch or more.

The Mazda6 takes its biggest hit in luggage space with its 14.7-cubic-foot trunk, which is well short of the Accord (16.7 cubic feet), Hyundai Sonata (16), Kia K5 (16 ), Altima (15.4), and Toyota Camry (15.1).

Mazda Mazda6

Fantastic optional engine offset by so-so standard powertrain. The Mazda6 boasts an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. That low-end torque offers quick acceleration after a slight delay as the turbo spools up. Plus, this engine delivers an angry growl on hard acceleration.

The downside is this potent four-cylinder pairs with a dated six-speed automatic transmission. This cog-swapper is plenty capable and delivers smooth shifts, but it lacks at least two gears.

For buyers craving more horsepower, there's plenty out there. The Accord has an optional 252-hp four-cylinder; the K5 has an available 290-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder; the Altima has an optional 248-hp four-cylinder; and the Camry leads the pack with an optional 301-hp 3.5-liter V6. Except maybe the K5 GT or Camry TRD, none of these more powerful models handle as well as the Mazda6, though.

While its turbo engine is great, the Mazda6 gets dragged down to family car purgatory with its base engine. This 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers a surprisingly pedestrian 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. This puts it slightly below most other vanilla family sedans.

Tons of standard features, but the range-topper will make your eyes water. The Mazda6 is an incredible value in nearly every trim level. Even its base Sport trim, which starts from $25,270 including destination, includes a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 17-inch wheels, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

While all its key competitors include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Mazda6’s touchscreen is larger than the 7-inch units in the base Altima and Camry.

Also, on the safety front, only the Accord can match the Mazda6 in safety tech. All its other competitors have standard automatic emergency braking and maybe one or two other advanced features. The rest are all optional.

Buyers who want it all can opt for the fully loaded Signature trim, but it runs an eye-watering $36,695, which pushes it into the luxury car space. That’s a hard pill to swallow, even if it comes with premium goodies like Nappa leather.

Final thoughts. The current-generation Mazda6 has been around since 2014, so it’s a relative dinosaur in this class. Fortunately, Mazda’s design team looked forward with its styling, so it remains up to date and still looks great. Add to that a potent turbocharged powertrain and a premium-looking cabin, and you have an excellent family sedan.

That said, the 2021 Mazda Mazda6 lacks in range-topping power, as the Accord, K5, Altima, and Camry all have more power at the top of their lineups.

Buyers who plan to pack tons of luggage or cargo into the trunk may also find the Mazda6 a little tight. These shoppers may be better suited in the Accord.

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