2016 Mazda MAZDA6 Driving Impressions

The Mazda6 is fun to drive. The chassis is solid, with minimal body roll (lean) around corners. MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup in the rear make for a sporty ride that’s firm and compliant, without sacrificing ride quality.

The all-electric power steering on the Mazda6 is more efficient than traditional hydraulic systems and it’s surprisingly responsive. Maneuverability is comparable to that of the Toyota Camry, both of which can turn in tighter spaces than can the Ford Fusion or Honda Accord.

Mazda6 is slightly lighter than an Accord and nearly 300 pounds lighter than a Fusion. In general, less weight allows better fuel economy, better handling, better braking, better acceleration.

The 184-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine works well in most driving situations, but the driver needs to rev the engine to get the most from it. A lack of power can be felt when climbing steep hills and in other demanding driving situations. High-altitude areas, such as Denver, may challenge it more, though we have not tested this.

The automatic transmission is remarkably smooth. Its unique design uses a torque converter, like those found in traditional automatics, to propel the car and provide creep at speeds less than 5 mph. At higher speeds, a multi-plate transmission changes gears, providing quicker shifts that are tuned to hold revs longer and give plenty of thrust when needed. All that said, we still preferred the manual transmission for this sporty sedan, with its crisp feel and easy clutch.

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