New cars: Mazda 6

What the critics say about the $19,810 Mazda 6.

Car and Driver

Say goodbye to the original, undersized Mazda 6 design that debuted in 2003. This new, bulked-up model takes direct aim at drivers 50 and older, who want “competence rather than passion.” The 170-hp, five-speed automatic gets 30 mpg on the highway, and standards include side air bags, side curtains, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes. Options can push the price to $28,500.

Motor Trend

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“By Mazda’s own admission,” the previous 6 series lacked size, power, and perceived quality. This new incarnation achieves a level of styling and engineering sophistication that “its predecessor never managed to approach.” The standard four-cylinder includes power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; and a tilt/telescoping steering column. The Sport versions come with cruise control and keyless remote.

Popular Mechanics

Michelin four-season radials come standard, as do child-seat hookups for the grandkids. Yet the Mazda 6 is “a hoot to drive, unlike its less-sporty foes in the marketplace.” The V6 version features a 3.7-liter, 272-hp engine, but sound-dampening measures make this car “as quiet as a church mouse.” Going bigger and heavier fortunately “didn’t affect this car’s zip and nimble driving characteristics.”

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