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2011 Mazda MAZDA6

Overview
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2011 Mazda MAZDA6 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

With this iteration of the Mazda6, the product team at Hiroshima aimed for the sweet spot of the mid-size market in the U.S. In short, the team targeted the Accord and Camry with a North American-specific model larger than that sold in Europe and Asia. The hopes were as big as the Mazda's new, larger footprint - but Mazda marketers have discovered that Accord and Camry loyalists need a compelling reason to change, while in a recession everyone needs a compelling reason to buy. And despite attractive bodywork and feature-laden content, the new Mazda6 hasn't enjoyed many more handraisers than the old Mazda6. With modest enhancements for 2011, Mazda will keep trying.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you've been impressed by Mazda's previous lineup - including its volume leader, the Mazda3 - the Mazda6 is an excellent way for a growing family to move up. While not the sport-oriented platform enjoyed by its predecessor, the newest Mazda6 retains fun-to-drive elements, while offering far more interior volume for passengers and cargo. And with a base price of under $21,000, it's perfectly positioned for a consumer's cautious return to the market.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Mazda's recipe for its mid-size sedan has gone mainstream, while (historically) its core audience has been anything but. In the same manner that the Mazda3 wasn't a Civic or Corolla, the previous Mazda6 worked hard to differentiate itself from Accord and Camry. For some, this Mazda may be too much like Camry-lite.

What's New for 2011

Mild enhancements for 2011 include a new headlight and fog light design, along with a new 17-inch alloy wheel. Upgrades inside include a new steering wheel and premium trim accents on the center instrument panel. Grand Touring models receive a Multi-Information Display, Bluetooth controls and a rearview camera as standard equipment, while the Touring model receives Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio in its standard menu.

Driving the MAZDA6

Driving Impressions For Mazda's mid-size sedan, those elements to modify "sedan" with "sport" are all in place. The Mazda6 i Sport and i Touring enjoy a responsive - and torque - 2.5-liter...

in-line four, all-independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. And while the available 3.7 liter V6 isn't in a particularly high state of tune (with but 272 horsepower), neither does it unbalance the 6's front-wheel drive platform. The end result is a more mature architecture than previously offered, and while refinement is up those more visceral - and often intangible - qualities of its predecessor are missing. This, in the final appraisal, is a mid-size sedan with sporting ambitions, while prior to this iteration's 2009 intro the Mazda6 was closer to a sport sedan with mid-size ambitions. The platform is, however, viable, as demonstrated by a Mazda6 pace car massaged by the folks at MazdaSpeed. "Zoom-zoom" can still be added, but consumers will have to do the heavy lifting themselves.

Manual transmission
While we still have a manual in a mid-size, volume-targeted sedan, it shall be celebrated. And in an era of distracted driving, a component that demands a driver's undivided attention can't be a bad thing, can it? Happily, not only does Mazda still provide the ability to shift manually, but they equip their 6-speed manual with one of the very best linkages. Go forth and shift!

The Mazda Showroom
As any manufacturer will tell you, its retail network isn't owned or controlled by the manufacturer. With that as a given, the Mazda showroom can still generate excitement for the enthusiast. Even when shopping for something mildly prosaic - Mazda6 sedan, Mazda5 mini-minivan or the Tribute - the glow of Mazda's RX-8 and Miata continue to shine on the process. A Mazda dealership remains an import store, while its more volume-oriented brethren present themselves (with varying degrees of success) as "domestic."

2011 Mazda MAZDA6 Details
Interior

In outlining the requirements of Mazda's newest sedan, the design team retained some elements typically identified with Mazda design - round instrumentation and a three-spoke steering wheel - while executing them with significantly higher quality. Surfaces, gloss levels and trim all received more aggressive scrutiny in both their design and manufacture. Mazda also wanted to create an expansive feel, which was helped - to be sure - by the new 6's larger footprint. To enhance a larger cabin, a bi-level theme was approved, with the bottom area conveying roominess and the upper area communicating security. Even at its entry point, the Mazda6 communicates thoughtful design and an upscale choice in materials; for Touring leather is modestly introduced (steering wheel cover), while in Grand Touring upholstery is leather in either black or beige. Notably, the rear seat is split 60/40, and can swallow large cargo when folded.

Exterior
2011 Mazda MAZDA6 photo

With a front fender that evokes Mazda's RX-8, and a 4-door profile that reminds an observer of a closely coupled coupe, the Mazda6 stands out in the segment as perhaps the least generic mid-size sedan from Japan's Big Four. And with the right wheel-and-tire package (anything north of the standard 16-inchers), its stance is positively athletic. An aggressively raked windshield and sloping rear backlight provide a visual balance in profile, and contribute to a very low .27 coefficient of drag. The cargo area, boasting almost 17 cubic feet of space, is visible in the Mazda's slightly exaggerated rear overhang.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Entry level is - at least in a Mazda showroom - effectively a misnomer, as the standard equipment menu at entry level is anything but. In the Mazda6 i Sport, propulsion is provided by a smoothly responsive 2.5-liter four connected to a six-speed manual transmission. Air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary audio input jack and Sirius Satellite Radio-ready head unit are all included in the Mazda6's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of under $21,000. Chassis enhancements include 4-wheel disc braking, Dynamic Stability Control and a Traction Control System.

Optional Equipment

The move from i Sport to i Touring provides you with 17-inch alloy rims, 215/55R17 rubber, fog lights, 8-way power driver's seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, trip computer and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio operations. The biggest functional upgrade occurs as you move from "i" to "s" in the Mazda6 hierarchy. Checking that box nets you a 3.7-liter V6 connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. And the 3.7 is sweet, producing 272 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The Grand Touring spec is among the most comprehensive in the mid-size, affordable sedan segment.

Under the Hood

If the standard 2.5-liter DOHC mill provides zoom, then it's left to the optional V6 to supply the zoom-zoom. Although not stellar (Honda's four retains King of the Hill honors at the entry level), Mazda's base engine does a very respectable job of motivating the Mazda6, delivering 170 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon highway (manual transmission). The 3.7-liter V6 adds just over 100 horsepower while extracting 27 miles per gallon highway (automatic), which is a two mile-per-gallon improvement over last year. If you value handling balance over outright acceleration, note that the V6 Mazda6 outweighs the in-line four by 250 pounds, and most of that weight differential is over the front wheels.

2.5-liter in-line four
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual), 22/31 (automatic)

3.7-liter V6
272 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
269 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27

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2011 Mazda MAZDA6 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 177 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Very reliable and sporty

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Power and comfort"

Cons: "Gas milage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This car has not given me any trouble in the 5 1/2 years I have owned it. Love the power the 3.7 liter engine gives and the handling is good for a front wheel drive car. If Mazda added a turbo to this engine and made it rear wheel drive they would have a big seller."

great sports sudan

By on Monday, July 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very fun to drive. Be sure to get the V6!"

Cons: "I would like a quiter interior from road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very fun car to drive and the reliability has been awesome. Have owned it for over 5 years now with 105,000 miles with no problems. My only complaint is that the leather around the steering wheel faded quickly."

Great Car

By on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "ride, room, trunk, steering, Dependable, Bose."

Cons: "Passing acceleration."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought my 09 Mazda 6 new in 2008 when they just came out.It has been a great car. Very reliable. Very comfortable, i'm 6'3'. Huge trunk. smooth ride. good mileage. could be i little faster. for passing.normal driving fine. I have been extremely happy . would by another Mazda but the 2014 6 has less head room."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Decent midsize vehicle for the price

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Interior room, trunk size, interior design/control"

Cons: "Driving dynamics and feel, interior materials"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"The 2011 Mazda 6i Sport is a decent midsize vehicle for the money. The exterior design is reasonably distinctive, although I would not call it handsome. The interior is well-designed and thoughtfully laid out, but the materials feel hard and cheap. They are a step below their competition. The layout of the controls for the driver and the passenger are favorable, so it makes it easy to live with. The cloth seats leave something to be desired. They provide very little lumbar support and the seat cushion can be uncomfortable on long drives of over an hour. The steering wheel controls are a nice touch and make it easy to adjust the audio and the cruise control. The instrument panel is easy to read and is very logical. It looks like it belongs on a make of a far more expensive car. The vehicle dynamics are very poor. For those familiar with a Toyota Camry, you won't be disappointed, but if you are looking for a sporty "Zoom-Zoom" model, look elsewhere. The steering is very soft and numb, with very little feedback. The steering feels soft through cornering until it suddenly and without warning firms up mid-turn as you cross some magic speed threshold around 30 mph. It can be very jarring and hard to get used to. The suspension is set up strictly for a comfortable cruise, so don't bother trying to make it an engaging drive. There is a lot of dive and squat during acceleration and braking, and the car leans hard into turns as you take a turn with any speed. Quite frankly, this is a very disappointing outcome considering the sporty image that Mazda spent so many years cultivating. The gas mileage is decent though. I tend to drive with a heavy foot and do a lot of mixed driving during rush hour, and I regularly get 25-26 mpg. You can certainly do better with a lighter foot on the accelerator pedal. During long highway road trips, you can easily get 30-32 mpg. The backseat is huge and rather comfortable, with plenty of leg, shoulder, and headroom. You can take long road trips with passengers back there and they won't be uncomfortable. The trunk is impressively large. It is very wide and long, and the opening sits low enough to make putting things inside of it a breeze. I have had mixed luck with regards to the reliability. I invest a fair amount in preventative maintenance for my cars, with full-synthetic oil changes every 5,000 miles and I get all the fluids changed just as the owner's manual recommend. The car has been decent to me, but all of the headlights and taillights have burnt out after 50,000-60,000 miles and there were some odd electronic gremlins in the transmission at about 68,000 miles. The mechanic cleared the codes and it drove just fine, but it was somewhat disconcerting. Overall, it's a decent value for the money as long as you get a good price from your dealer/seller."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Decent midsize vehicle for the price

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Interior room, trunk size, interior design/control"

Cons: "Driving dynamics and feel, interior materials"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"The 2011 Mazda 6i Sport is a decent midsize vehicle for the money. The exterior design is reasonably distinctive, although I would not call it handsome. The interior is well-designed and thoughtfully laid out, but the materials feel hard and cheap. They are a step below their competition. The layout of the controls for the driver and the passenger are favorable, so it makes it easy to live with. The cloth seats leave something to be desired. They provide very little lumbar support and the seat cushion can be uncomfortable on long drives of over an hour. The steering wheel controls are a nice touch and make it easy to adjust the audio and the cruise control. The instrument panel is easy to read and is very logical. It looks like it belongs on a make of a far more expensive car. The vehicle dynamics are very poor. For those familiar with a Toyota Camry, you won't be disappointed, but if you are looking for a sporty "Zoom-Zoom" model, look elsewhere. The steering is very soft and numb, with very little feedback. The steering feels soft through cornering until it suddenly and without warning firms up mid-turn as you cross some magic speed threshold around 30 mph. It can be very jarring and hard to get used to. The suspension is set up strictly for a comfortable cruise, so don't bother trying to make it an engaging drive. There is a lot of dive and squat during acceleration and braking, and the car leans hard into turns as you take a turn with any speed. Quite frankly, this is a very disappointing outcome considering the sporty image that Mazda spent so many years cultivating. The gas mileage is decent though. I tend to drive with a heavy foot and do a lot of mixed driving during rush hour, and I regularly get 25-26 mpg. You can certainly do better with a lighter foot on the accelerator pedal. During long highway road trips, you can easily get 30-32 mpg. The backseat is huge and rather comfortable, with plenty of leg, shoulder, and headroom. You can take long road trips with passengers back there and they won't be uncomfortable. The trunk is impressively large. It is very wide and long, and the opening sits low enough to make putting things inside of it a breeze. I have had mixed luck with regards to the reliability. I invest a fair amount in preventative maintenance for my cars, with full-synthetic oil changes every 5,000 miles and I get all the fluids changed just as the owner's manual recommend. The car has been decent to me, but all of the headlights and taillights have burnt out after 50,000-60,000 miles and there were some odd electronic gremlins in the transmission at about 68,000 miles. The mechanic cleared the codes and it drove just fine, but it was somewhat disconcerting. Overall, it's a decent value for the money as long as you get a good price from your dealer/seller."

My 3rd Mx 6/626 - I keep buying 'em for a reason!

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Value, reliability"

Cons: "slightly noisy in terior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Completely reliable - I put 170k and 193k mies on my first 2 626s [93, 01]- original everything except brakes and tires - even original clutch. Never fails me [my second one needed a fuel pump at one point]. Great cars, exceptional value and reliability. My '10 Mz6 is the same - it just keeps going. LOve them!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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