Top 10 Midsize Sedans – 2016 Mazda6 Is Best, Subaru Legacy Second

mazda6The Mazda6 is the best-looking, best-handling and most refined mid-size sedan available even before these updates.

But two areas kept the car from being a world-beater: the cabin design and a slightly unexciting exterior in the lower and cheaper trim levels. Yes, the Grand Touring had big wheels and LED accents, making the most of the absolutely gorgeous core design. The Mazda6 in every trim now looks like it should costs $50,000, versus only the GT giving that impression before.

Both issues are resolved for 2015 with a sweeping enhancement to the design and content of a long-time favorite family sedan.

This has been a big year for mid-size sedan redesigns — with your humble scribe spending time in many of them.

How would we rank the class of 2015 if spending our own money? These are engine-specific in the case of the Camry and Sonata – both of which are too slow as base four-cylinders to be considered.

1. Mazda6

2. Subaru Legacy


The above are the only ones we would buy with our own cash, but the list continues…:

3. Toyota Camry V6

4. Honda Accord Sport

5. Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

6. Volkswagen Passat

7. Chevy Malibu Turbo

8. Nissan Altima V6

9. Ford Fusion

10. Chrysler 200

Probably forgetting one or two dreadful other ones, but there you have it. Mazda6 on top.




Here are two drive videos describing what made the 2014 Mazda6 so amazing.


2016 Mazda6

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2016 Mazda6

A major refresh to Mazda’s flagship model

The refreshed Mazda6 makes its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Nov 19, 2014

Debuting in 2012 as the flagship model in Mazda’s new-generation product lineup, Mazda6 earned high acclaim in markets around the world thanks to the alluring vitality of the KODO—Soul of Motion design language and SKYACTIV Technology’s balance of driving pleasure, environmental performance and safety. This round’s update aims to fully respond to customer expectations and Mazda went to extraordinary lengths to bring new levels of depth and maturity to every aspect of the model. In addition to an innovative interior design, the updated refreshed Mazda6 offers the customer greater sophistication and value with enhanced exterior design, functionality, ride comfort, quietness, and safety.

The 2016 Mazda6 features the following enhancements. Bold changes to the shape of the instrument panel and floor console give the interior a fresh new look. It fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design, based on Mazda’s unique Heads-up Cockpit concept, with a roomy front seat passenger environment. In addition, thorough attention was paid to minimizing gaps between parts and achieving an overall unified appearance, significantly enhancing the feeling of quality as befits the flagship model in the Mazda product lineup. Exterior features include a new front grille and signature wing design. These combine with new LED headlamps to create a bold and elegant expression that leaves a distinct impression of the evolution of the brand. Detailed refinements to dynamic performance include improved sound insulation throughout the body and improved front and rear seat performance. These enhancements yield a quieter and more comfortable riding experience, as befits the flagship model of Mazda’s range of new-generation products.

Exterior Design
Further refined KODO design creates a bolder new exterior

Mazda6 gave form to the TAKERI concept car and is a pure expression of Mazda’s KODO design language. The design fused intellect, elegance and an emotional, dynamic shape to realize a strong presence as the flagship model. It earned high acclaim as a result, including being named a Top 3 Finalist for the 2013 World Car Design of the Year award.

For this round’s update, particular effort was dedicated to further polishing Mazda6’s award-winning design and to creating a deeper, stronger design expression. This includes the added texture and enhanced three-dimensionality of the front grille and signature wing; the strong sense of vitality of the new headlamps that look like eyes gazing straight ahead; and the new design expression created by the signature wing illumination. While the sophisticated air born of KODO design remains, the refreshed Mazda6 marks an evolution to a bolder and more elegant expression that lends it stronger presence as the flagship model and clearly conveys the further evolution of the brand.

  • The fins on the front grille, which feature a stronger look of horizontal flow, combine with the dynamic shape and three-dimensionality of the signature wing to create a bolder front face with an elegant look.
  • The LED lighting signature of the rear combination lamps gives the rear view a sharp, taut look.
  • The new compact shark fin antenna accents the vehicle’s flowing form and stylish looks.
  • The 19-inch aluminum wheel with high-gloss paint adopts a darker color that emphasizes the brightness and greater depth of its metallic look. 
  • The lineup of nine body colors includes the newly developed Sonic Silver Metallic and Titanium Flash Mica, which was first introduced on Mazda3.2016 Mazda6 Interior 10 2016 Mazda6 Interior 1 2016 Mazda6 Interior 3 2016 Mazda6 Interior 6 2016 Mazda6 Interior 7 2016 Mazda6 Interior 5 2016 Mazda6 Interior 9 2016 Mazda6 Interior 2 2016 Mazda6 Interior 8 2016 Mazda6 Interior 12 2016 Mazda6 Interior 11 2016 Mazda6 Interior 4

Interior Design & Functions
Refined textures and advanced functions highlight the sophisticated interior

The Mazda6 interior already featured sophisticated design and coordination, along with finely crafted forms. Careful selection of each material, including the finest quality leather covering the steering wheel and Mazda’s first use of off-white leather, embodied the sense of taste and fine texture that befitted the flagship model.

For this round’s update, every detail related to texture and quality was polished to perfection, further lifting the level of quality in the interior. The design team pursued beauty born of the fine mating and unification of carefully produced parts. To meet this goal, they boldly evolved the shapes of the instrument panel and floor console, while paying careful attention to the shapes, expressions and use of colors for the parts and ornamentation laid out in these areas. It also includes the adoption of Mazda Connect, Mazda’s next-generation car connectivity system and an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB). Mazda enhanced both convenience and comfort, while also heightening a sense of high quality as befits the flagship model.

  • Bold changes to the shape of the instrument panel and floor console give the interior a fresh new look.
  • Thorough attention paid to minimizing gaps between parts and achieving an overall unified appearance significantly enhances the feeling of quality as befits the flagship model in the Mazda product lineup. 
  • The interior fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design based on the Heads-up Cockpit and an instrument panel that extends horizontally to create a passenger environment with a sense of breadth and openness.
  • The refreshed Mazda6 continues to offer a selection of black or white leather, or black or sand beige fabric interior materials. However, the leather interior adopts new color coordination.
  • Mazda’s first implementation of an Electrical Parking Brake (EPB).
  • A freestanding seven-inch center display is mounted on the top of the low dashboard.
  • The Active Driving Display provides vehicle speed and other important driving information, such as that from the advanced safety systems, in real time.
  • The Mazda Connect car connectivity system paired with a smartphone makes it easier to take advantage of functions including internet connectivity and access to social networking services.

Driving Dynamics
Higher quality dynamic performance delivers pure driving pleasure

The smooth, linear response and feeling of oneness between car and driver realized by SKYACTIV Technology delivers a light and pleasant driving experience. For this round’s update, the development team devoted particular effort to adding greater depth to the enjoyment of the driving experience by further enhancing the level of all-round comfort, including ride comfort and quietness. Toward this purpose, Mazda further evolved NVH performance and seat performance, while also adopting Drive Selection for the SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission. 

The 2016 Mazda6 continues to offer a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine. Also carried over are the six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmissions. Combined with Mazda’s i-stop idling stop system and i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, the powertrains deliver the right balance of linear, powerful acceleration, and excellent fuel economy and environmental performance.

  • Excellent NVH performance befits the even higher-quality interior environment. The amount of noise transmitted into the cabin is reduced by approximately 10 percent when driving on rough roads and by approximately 25 percent on highways.
  • The evolved front and rear seat structure provides a feeling of comfortable snugness and a good fit, excellent holding characteristics, as well as ride comfort befitting Mazda’s flagship model.
  • The Mazda6 powered by a gasoline engine and paired with SKYACTIV-DRIVE adopts Drive Selection, which allows drivers to switch drive modes for a more responsive driving experience. ?????????????????????????????? 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 44 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 43 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 42 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 41 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 40 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 39 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 38 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 37 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 36 2016 Mazda6 Exterior 35

i-ACTIVSENSE safety features support driving pleasure with peace of mind

As befits a flagship model, the world-class safety performance of Mazda6 has earned high acclaim. Its adoption of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE*1 advanced safety technologies based on Mazda Proactive Safety*2 plays an important role in achieving this level of safety performance. The 2016 Mazda6 offers a wide variety of advanced safety technologies and further strengthens safety performance. This delivers greater driving pleasure and peace of mind, while adding further polish to the value offered by Mazda’s flagship model.

*1 i-ACTIVSENSE is an umbrella term covering a series of advanced safety technologies that employ detection devices such as milliwave radar units and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions, and minimizing damage in the event an accident does occur.
*2 Mazda Proactive Safety is Mazda’s safety philosophy that aims to minimize the risks that can lead to an accident and maximize the range of conditions in which the driver can safely operate the vehicle. The various technologies it provides enable the driver to act appropriately through all driving processes, including cognition, judgment, and operation. It thereby helps prevent or minimize damage in the event an accident cannot be avoided. Mazda Proactive Safety will continue to evolve in the future. 

  • Among the variety of i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies, Mazda made a particular effort to keep the driver more aware of conditions so they can enjoy driving at night or at highway speeds with greater reassurance.
    • Mazda’s Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) detects vehicles approaching from the blind spot areas at the sides and rear. BSM also incorporates Mazda’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) function, which alerts the driver when it detects vehicles approaching from either side as the driver backs up.
    • Available as an additional feature, Smart Brake Support (SBS) helps avoid frontal collisions or minimize damage when traveling mid- to high-speed.

Major specifications of the 2016 Mazda6 U.S. model (Preliminary)

View News Release Full Screen
Body type Sedan
Seating capacity 5
Overall length x width x height 192.7 x 72.4 x 57.1 inches
Wheelbase 111.4 inches
Engine SKYACTIV-G 2.5 gasoline engine
Transmission 6-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT6-speed automatic SKYACTIV-Drive
Drivetrain Front wheel drive
Max. power 184 HP / 5,700 rpm
Max. torque 185 ft-lb / 3,250 rpm
Suspension (front / rear) MacPherson struts / multi-link
Break (front / rear) Disc (ventilated) / Disc (solid)
Steering system Rack & pinion
Tire P225 / 55 R17P225 / 45 R19
Wheel 17 x 7.5J19 x 7.5J
Weight MT: 3,179 lbsAT: 3,250 lbs
Fuel economyEPA city/ highway/ combined MT: 25 / 37 / 29 mpgAT (w/o i-ELOOP): 26 / 38 / 30 mpgAT (w/ i-ELOOP): 28 / 40 / 32 mpg


About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)