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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 196 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
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

I'VE OWNED MAZDA RX7's,626's,Millenia's and MAZDA6

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "CR REPORTS IT AS ONE OF THE TOP BEST SEDANS;AGREE!"

Cons: "POOR SEATS......POSSIBLE MELTING DASH"

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

"My Mazda 6 I touring 170 hp is more than enough power for any condition...very quick and super regular gas milage. The seats lack long trip comfort. MY ONLY COMPLAINT: My M6 HAS A MELTING DASHBOARD! Due to the small number of complaints MAZDA CORP has received;they will not recall or repair the condition,since it is out of the 36,000 mile warranty! A really good car."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

This car is low maintanance, reliable, great value

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Have had car since new and has not let me down once. Nothing to do with this car so far except oil changes, air filter, spark plugs and tires. Muffler is still there at 94,000. Breaks great. Love manual shift for hills."

Driver's car that's practical and reliable

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, very reliable, practical, manual available"

Cons: "road noise, factory tires lack grip"

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

"I bought my Mazda 6i Sport new in 2009. I needed a roomy, reliable, affordable, and relatively efficient car, but being an enthusiast, I refused to buy an automatic or anything that wasn't fun to drive. The 6 fit the bill. It's neither fast nor underpowered, but the chassis loves a good twisty road workout, especially with good tires. The factory 16" tires were apparently designed for low rolling resistance and do not have the grip to do justice to the chassis. 18" aftermarket wheels and UHP tires make a huge difference. The body doesn't roll much, the steering is direct, and the car responds to throttle adjustments. The shifter is direct with light but positive throws, and snicks through the gears with little effort. The ratios are close and somewhat short--great for enthusiastic driving, but I wonder if a taller 6th gear would improve highway mileage. 3000-4000 RPM on the highway does mean I don't often have to downshift, and the engine is smooth enough that it's not intrusive. At 6'2", I have plenty of room, and can comfortably fit in the back without moving the driver's seat forward. Controls are well laid out, and the seats are supportive and comfortable, even on 500-600+ mile days. The car has been extremely reliable: Besides normal maintenance, very little has gone wrong: -The low beam headlight bulbs burn out more quickly than I'd expect, and are a pain to change (you have to remove a panel and reach up through the wheel well; you can only access the high beams through the hood). -I had to replace the clutch pedal assembly to get rid of an annoying squeak, but the clutch itself still works well. -I had a few rattles fixed when the car was under warranty. Besides normal maintenance, that's it; nothing else has gone wrong in over 100,000 miles. Here are the other downsides to the car: -As another commenter mentioned, the air vents tend to blow warm air when the air conditioner is off. I often put the windows down when the outside air is in the upper 50s. The A/C itself could be stronger, but given enough time, it does make the cabin comfortable when it's hot outside. Also, it would be nice to have vents for the back seat passengers. -There's a fair amount of road noise, which becomes intrusive on textured pavement. There's very little wind noise and the engine is fairly quiet. -More power would be appreciated, especially with a load and/or at higher altitudes. It feels fairly quick in 1st and 2nd gears and adequate in most situations. The engine isn't particularly special; it doesn't rev quickly or sound great, although it's fine for a family sedan. -Gas mileage ratings are considerably lower than some new cars in its class. If memory serves, it was rated at 20/29 city/highway. I usually see 26-28 in mixed driving and 30-32 with mostly highway driving. With mostly in-town, short trips, it's usually 24-26. Overall, I'd highly recommend this car to buyers looking for a sports sedan without German prices and ownership costs, or for anyone looking at mid-sized sedans. Six years in, people still occasionally comment on the styling, and some think it's a new car. I didn't buy it for the looks, but it doesn't hurt that it's aging gracefully."

Sporty car, great ride, great value.

By on Friday, June 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, very reliable."

Cons: "Could use a little more sound dampening."

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

"Mazda simply makes high quality and fun to drive cars with great reliability. The motors have timing chains, not belts that have to be replaced at great expense every 80k miles or so. The chasis is sport tuned, rides firmly but comfortably and has very little body sway in curves. Everything is intuitively laid out in the cabin and cockpit. The climate control system works quite well and changing the cabin filter is a breeze. The motor has good power with the 2.5 4-cyl. and does not leave you lacking for power on the interstate highways. I have averaged around 28 mpg during my 90,000+ miles of ownership. The best part is the steering which has great feel and feedback and keeps you pointed straight down the road. You can't go wrong with a Mazda.....this is our 3rd one."

Love my car!

By on Saturday, May 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Everything - fun to drive and looks great!"

Cons: "Eats tires but that could be my fault!"

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

"Handling, power, looks, features - this car has everything I need and want. Mine is black with black rims and is a beautiful vehicle. This the second Mazda I have owned and I will buy Mazda again whenever I am looking for my next car. I have had no issues with the car at all!"

Fun car to drive, min.maintenance, priced right

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "A car that stays longer then you do!"

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

"Great car, #2,#3 etc. Moderately priced. Give your 16 y.o. a car on next year's worldwide Kid's Day. You will rock their world at least until they get in college!!!!"

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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