The 2021 Mazda6 starts at $27,550 in Canada and at $24,475 in the United States before freight and delivery charges.
Reliable powertrain, good road manners, still got the looks.
Aging infotainment system, cabin could be quieter, small trunk.
Introduced for the 2014 model year, the current-generation of the Mazda6 is now the oldest midsize sedan on our market. At launch, it was praised for its seductive design, its fuel-efficient powertrain and its excellent handling characteristics. And yet, since then, it’s been stuck at the bottom of the sales charts. To try and fix this, the 2021 Mazda6 receives some changes across the board.
Adored by the automotive press, ignored by the buying public, the third-generation Mazda6 soldiers on, getting mild updates over the years to battle the likes of the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata, the Nissan Altima and the Chevrolet Malibu, among others. This year, the automaker reshuffled the sedan’s feature content in Canada and added the Kuro Edition, while the U.S. market gets minor equipment changes and the new Carbon Edition.
The Kuro and Carbon editions are largely the same, and receive an exclusive paint colour called Polymetal Gray, although the Kuro can also be chosen with Jet Black Mica paint. Both variants are also equipped with 19-inch black alloy wheels, gloss black mirror caps, red leather seats with contrast cross stitching, red dash and door panel stitching as well as black interior trim.
The Canadian-spec GS loses its heated rear seats, while the GS-L no longer offers the turbocharged engine, the 19-inch alloy wheels and the 10-way power driver’s seat, while the leather seating is replaced with simulated leather. The GT also ditches the turbo engine, but gains wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Signature adds rear autonomous emergency braking (called Smart City Brake Support Reverse), Driver Attention Alert and new badges.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the base 2021 Mazda6 Sport gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Touring and Grand Touring Reserve get no changes and the Grand Touring receives wireless phone projection. The top-shelf Signature edition inherits SCBS-R and DAA, just like in Canada.
As standard, the 2021 Mazda6 is equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.5L inline-four that develops 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, managed by a six-speed automatic that feeds the front wheels. While a manual gearbox was offered in previous model years, it’s long gone. This powertrain is more than up to the task, in addition to being relatively quiet and reliable. As for fuel consumption, the Mazda6 boasts city/highway/combined numbers of 9.1/6.7/8.0 L/100 km or 26/35/29 mpg.
A turbocharged 2.5L four is found in the Kuro and Signature editions in Canada as well as in all but the Sport and Touring variants in the U.S. It develops 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, and we appreciate Mazda’s decency to point out that those numbers apply when using 93-octane fuel. With regular unleaded—which the vast majority of owners will likely choose—output drops slightly to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet. The turbo engine is less efficient by roughly 1 L/100 km or 3 mpg compared to the base powerplant.
Pricing ranges from $27,550 to $39,950 in Canada and from $24,475 to $36,495 in the U.S. before freight and delivery charges.
Why You Should Buy a 2021 Mazda6
- Over the years, the Mazda6 has proven itself to be reliable, with no major issues regarding the Skyactiv powertrains.
- Despite its age, the 2021 Mazda6 is still one of the best-looking midsize sedans on our market. Well, in our opinion at least.
- The Mazda is among the best-handling cars in its category. It’s agile, with a good turning radius to make shopping mall parking manoeuvres easy. And yet, it’s not overly sporty, as segment buyers typically prefer comfort and refined ride quality over dynamic driving and stiff suspension setups.
- Interior fit and finish is pretty good, made up with quality materials, especially in the high-end trims that could almost pass as cockpits of luxury-brand vehicles.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2021 Mazda6
- If we’re the type of person who doesn’t mind camping outside all night waiting in line to buy the new iPhone, the Mazda might seem like an old vehicle. It is, even though it isn’t lacking in features.
- The 2021 Mazda6 isn’t the most spacious sedan in its segment, the biggest shortcomings being front and rear-seat legroom, in addition to having the smallest trunk. The Accord and the Volkswagen Passat have the biggest cargo capacities.
- The Mazda Connect infotainment system is still easy to use, once we get used to the menu layout and the multifunction knob’s operation. However, the display screen graphics could use an update, and the system could be faster by today’s standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can only be operated using the console-mounted control knob, as Mazda believes reaching out to poke a touchscreen is distracting.
- Fuel economy is good, but many rivals have surpassed over the years, such as the Accord, the Camry, the Sonata, the Altima and the Subaru Legacy.
The 2021 Mazda6 has aged well, and remains competitive in many areas such as road manners, interior build quality and overall reliability. It wasn’t always priced right, but these days, the automaker seems to have found a sweet spot and the sedan’s trim level range is now in line with its rivals.
For reasons unknown, the current-generation never sold well in the U.S. and Canada, despite the automotive press’ appreciation of the car over the years. Rumours suggest the next generation will move upscale and receive a rear-wheel-drive platform. Reaching the end of its production cycle, the 2021 Mazda6 still a competent midsize sedan that does a lot of things right.