The 2011 Mazda 6 is among the top family sedan picks thanks to its impressive handling, strong V6 engine version, smooth transmission, roomy interior, large trunk capacity and sleek design.
The truth is, the Mazda 6 proves that a family sedan doesn't have to be bland and boring. Nor does its good looks and athletic driving dynamics come at the sacrifice of other important family priorities as it's still comfortable for full-sized adults, has a history of excellent crash test scores and is reasonably priced for the segment.
Even so, this is a particularly competitive segment with a number of other worthy choices. And those shopping this segment can come to the most informed final buying decision by comparing other top rivals. Both the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima offer similar performance at a smaller price, but can't match the 6's cabin space. Also sporty are the Nissan Altima as well as the Ford Fusion, and there's always the tried and true Honda Accord.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Mazda 6 is offered in six trims: i Sport, i Touring, i Touring Plus, i Grand Touring, s Touring Plus and s Grand Touring. Models with an "i" prefix are equipped with a four-cylinder engine. Models with an "s" prefix come with a V6 engine.
Standard features on the Mazda 6 i Sport include power windows, power mirrors, power doorlocks, 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, air conditioning, a manually height-adjustable driver seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, keyless entry, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the i Touring model adds a power diver seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, foglights and upgraded interior trim accents.
The Mazda 6 i Touring Plus then adds a sunroof, electroluminescent instrument gauges, external mirrors with integrated turn signals and a blind-spot monitoring system, while the i Grand Touring model adds a multi-information display, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and a 10-speaker Bose audio system.
The s Touring Plus is equipped just like the i Touring Plus, but adds the V6 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission and some special exterior trim details. The s Grand Touring tops things off by adding 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels.
In terms of optional features, the Technology package (offered on Grand Touring models) includes a power passenger seat, driver memory functions, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio, automatic xenon headlights, automatic wipers, heated external mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirror. Also available only for Grand Touring models is voice-activated navigation with a 7-inch touchscreen display. Many of the above features are also available as stand-alone options, depending on the model, and also include remote engine start, a chrome fuel-filler door and a rear spoiler.
Under the hood of 2011 Mazda 6 i models is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 170 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with either a standard 6-speed manual transmission on the i Sport or an optional 5-speed automatic with manual shift control, which is the only available transmission on the other i models.
Powering the Mazda 6 s versions is a 3.7-liter V6 engine good for a robust 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. It's paired only with a 6-speed automatic. In performance tests, the s model was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in a very quick-for-the-class 6.5 seconds. The four-cylinder automatic was timed in the same sprint in a more modest 9.1 seconds.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the i Sport with a manual transmission stands at 21 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway. Ratings for the Mazda 6 i automatic model come in at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Fuel economy numbers for the V6 s models are 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
Mazda doesn't skimp when it comes to the 6's safety either. Standard safety equipment across the board for all 2011 Mazda 6 models include traction control, stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
Government crash testing had not yet been completed on the 2011 model at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 Mazda 6 received the highest possible ratings of five stars in all frontal-impact and side-impact occupant protection categories.
The Mazda 6's cabin is attractive, roomy and solidly constructed. The red electroluminescent gauges also add to its sporty looks, while the spacious back seat is easy on passengers, even taller ones. The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear with ample headroom and legroom.
In addition, the Mazda 6 boasts one of the largest trunks in its class at 16.6 cubic feet, made even more accommodative by 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
The drive of the 2011 Mazda 6 is certainly one of the most nimble in the family sedan segment and is aimed at shoppers who value a more engaging and capable driving experience. That said, its athletic road manners also result in a somewhat firm ride quality. Road noise is also a little louder than most, but these drawbacks aren't likely significant enough to outweigh its pluses for those who appreciate a more advanced drive.
Most drivers will also be satisfied with the base four-cylinder engine as it is capable enough in most situations, but it is not particularly lively or inspiring, as is the V6 with its significant boost in power and wider, more-performance-friendly tires.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Auto Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.
2011 Mazda 6:
i Sport, manual: list price: $19,990, invoice price: $18,481
i Sport, automatic: list price: $20,990, invoice price: $19,405
i Touring, automatic: list price: $22,635, invoice price: $20,923
i Touring Plus, automatic: list price: $24,240, invoice price: $22,406
s Touring Plus, automatic: list price: $27,080, invoice price: $25,030
i Grand Touring, automatic: list price: $26,820, invoice price: $24,788
s Grand Touring, automatic: list price: $29,320, invoice price: $27,098