At first glance, one wonders why Mazda decided to enlarge their midsize sedan, a vehicle that was considered the enthusiast's choice in its segment. Then it dawns on you: "Ah yes", you say, "Mazda actually wanted to sell some of their cars".
Now don't assume Mazda's first-generation 6 was a flop. No, that replacement for the 626 was quite successful indeed. Battling with the larger Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima (whose success ranks in that order) made life for the 6 difficult, however. The new 6 is more than four inches longer than the Camry while also being slightly wider with an extra half-cubic foot of space for passengers and a trunk that's 1.6 cubic feet larger.
All that says is that the 6 is finally on level ground. With prices that take the fight squarely to the Camry and Accord, the 6 doesn't soundly win the value quotient game, either. If all is square up to this moment, the appearance of a 6 in front of midsize buyers ought to help put them over the edge. Mazda's midsizer isn't grandfatherly like the Camry, excessive like the Altima, or forgettable like the Accord. Now you can have an average sedan that is typical in every way but actually excites the eyes. It's been a while.
Engines: 175 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque from a 2.5L four-cylinder and 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque from a 3.7L V6
City Mileage: 17-21 mpg
Base USD Price: $19,220
Anything Else? The 6s induction into The Good 12 for 2009 basically comes as a result of bettering the Honda Accord, a member of The Good 12 last year. Competitors in what can easily be argued is the most competitive segment in North America are, for the most part, excellent. Every one of them. The Mazda adds visual flair with value; Honda's Accord does not.