By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The 2012 Mazda6 sedan is in the midsize category with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but it presents itself as a sophisticated alternative to the everyday family sedan. With clean lines and RX-8-inspired front fenders, the 2012 Mazda6's exterior remains competitive with newer offerings, such as the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. With a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines, the 2012 Mazda6 can deliver on the promise of power or reasonable fuel economy, but not necessarily both, as the 2012 Mazda6 sedan's fuel economy figures don't compare with many competitors whose 4-cylinder models offer more horsepower while approaching 35 mpg on the highway. And, despite the car's rich interior and excellent road manners, the 2012 Mazda6 has not been a sales leader. Still, we think this is a sedan that is worthy of a test drive.
If you're looking for a family sedan that displays a more upscale look without the upscale price tag, the 2012 Mazda6 might be for you. Its sporty exterior is matched by its excellent driving characteristics, handsome interior and powerful V6 engine.
If you're as much about high-tech audio and infotainment as you are passion and performance, the 2012 Mazad6 sedan falls short of the features offered in the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.
There are no major changes for the 2012 Mazda6 sedan.
Driving Impressions In the 2012 Mazda6 sedan, you'll find a family 4-door that melds the best attributes of a luxury car with the spirit of a sport coupe to...create a very un-family-like sedan. The 2.5-liter engine that's standard on i trims (Sport, Touring and Grand Touring) is responsive with one or two people on board, but becomes sluggish with a full complement of passengers. The 2.5-liter's performance cannot match that of the newer, more powerful 4-cylinder engines, such as in the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. If you value performance, the best choice for the 2012 Mazda6 remains the 3.7-liter V6. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic with a manual mode and Mazda's well-tuned suspension, the V6 has the power to motivate the Mazda6 while still returning decent, but not best-in-class, fuel economy. This, in the final appraisal, is a mid-size sedan with sporting ambitions, although its size and engine/transmission lineup fall decidedly on the side of comfort over performance.
Although available only on the i Sport trim, Mazda still offers a manual transmission in a mid-size, volume-targeted sedan, and it shall be celebrated; 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 it equips its 6-speed manual with one of the very best linkages. Go forth and shift!
Keyless start and go
Not having to fumble with a key fob to gain access, or worry about finding the ignition slot at night, is the entire purpose behind this option. Simply keep the remote fob on your person and the Mazda6 allows you entry. Starting the Mazda6 requires the mere push of a button.
Inside the 2012 Mazda6 sedan you'll find the last remnants of Mazda's previous design language, a simple and elegant look for which we have high praise. The dash is relatively clutter-free, with simple rotary knobs for the ventilation controls and soothing red backlighting for the gauges and steering wheel controls. The quality of the materials and their applications is first rate, as are the front seats, which offer excellent support on long drives. There's a feeling of great space inside the Mazda6, although that space is more horizontal than vertical, with rear-seat passengers likely to find head room to be a bit lacking. The cargo area, with almost 17 cubic feet of space, can be expanded via the 60/40-split folding rear seats. While even the most basic Mazda6 offers an impressively handsome interior, it's the Grand Touring trims that are the most opulent, with leather seating and available features that include navigation, rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry and start. Unfortunately, the Mazd6 doesn't offer any form of telematics (think GM's OnStar) or infotainment system (think Ford's SYNC). The 2012 Mazda6 doesn't even offer an iPod interface, just an auxiliary input jack in the console.Exterior
The 2012 Mazda6's front fender design is clearly derived from the discontinued RX-8 sports car, which is in no way a bad thing. The sleek sedan profile and long swept-back C-pillars give it a coupe-like stance that is faintly reminiscent of the new class of 4-door luxury coupes, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS. With the exception of the base model's 16-inch wheel covers, we think Mazda offers some of the most attractive wheels in the segment. With the right wheel-and-tire combo, the Mazda6 sedan leaves the realm of boring family sedans and moves toward Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen CC territory. The Mazda6's aggressively-raked windshield, sloping rear window and smooth side panels look good and contribute to reduced aerodynamic drag.
The 2012 Mazda6 i Sport has a smoothly responsive 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary audio input jack, Sirius Satellite Radio, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and Dynamic Stability Control with traction control.
Moving up from the i Sport to the i Touring trim level adds 17-inch alloy wheels, 215/55R17 tires, fog lights, 8-way power driver's seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel, in-dash 6-disc CD changer and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio features. Going from the "i" to the "s" trim levels adds the 3.7-liter V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission; the V6 is rated at 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Options for the Grand Touring include navigation, keyless entry and start, HID headlamps, heated side mirrors with driver's side auto-dimming and rain-sensing wipers.
If the standard 2.5-liter, 16-valve 4-cylinder engine provides zoom, then it's left to the optional V6 to supply the zoom-zoom. Although not stellar, Mazda's base engine does a very respectable job of motivating the Mazda6, delivering 170 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon on the highway with the manual transmission). The 3.7-liter V6, available only with the automatic, adds just over 100 horsepower while being rated at 27 miles per gallon on the highway. If you value handling balance over outright acceleration, note that the 2012 Mazda6 V6 sedan outweighs the 4-cylinder version by 250 pounds, and most of that weight differential is over the front wheels, so the 4-cylinder version might be expected to be slightly more responsive to steering inputs.
170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual); 22/31 (automatic)
272 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27
By Toby on Sunday, March 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,897overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value for price - beats BMW 318i in value"
Cons: "Does not have rear passenger vents"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The car handles beautifully. I have no fear taking the car through tight corners and accelerating. I have left BMW's behind in my wake. The car has excellent use of interior materials - the car is classy. I feel extremely confident in driving this car. The car has a great 6 cylinder engine with very good acceleration. I love the front wheel drive and its low profile - on a windy day it slices through the air with very little buffeting. Instruments are well located and provide many features. Great Bose speaker system. I really enjoy switching from automatic to standard shifting."
By Tracy on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The most fun car ever"
Cons: "only a few tire options available in the market"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My 2009 Mazda 6 Grad Touring still kicks up the 272 horse with no problem after 110,000 miles - I pray I can find an equal to her when it comes time to trade - my next Mazda will have big shoes to fill!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By DianaJ on Thursday, February 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliability, comfortable cabin, looks good"
Cons: "A slight fast-acceleration lag;"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my favorite, out of all the cars I have owned. My standards are that it has to be reliable and a comfortable ride, accelerate well, get decent gas mileage, look good on the inside and outside, be mid-sized and affordable. This one does well on all fronts. It has been absolutely reliable; not a problem in 5 years, with regular maintenance. I first drove one as a rental while my 2006 Ford Fusion was in for repairs, and thought, "this is the car I should be driving. Before the weekend was over, I owned a 2010 Mazda 6. Fuel economy is fine, at about 29 miles to the gallon. It does have a slight hesitation on sudden acceleration, but not badly. Turning the car around in tight spaces: not the best. Overall, great car. I was told recently by a 15-year old who is already mentally car shopping that it still looks like a nice car. One more thing: the back seats are nicely sized, comfy, and very easy for elderly aunts to get into."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Rick on Monday, January 05, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Very poor reliability
Pros: "Sporty appearance. Strong but thirsty V6."
Cons: "Engine knock was absolutely terrible."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Owned this car back in 2009. Mine was the Grand Touring V6 w/o navigation. This car was the very essence of a bad dream from the get go! Looks wise, it was great. Always getting compliments and several requests to drive it. However, this is where the good ends and the bad starts! Shortly after taking delivery, I noticed that my Mazada 6 was knocking hard whenever it required torque such as climbing a steep grade. Took it back to the dealership three times and they could never fix it; even when consulting with company engineers! Cleverly they refused to give me any receipts after their first attempt to repair it. This way it would have been nearly impossible to file for a refund under PA lemon law. Took a terrible loss when I traded it in but it's inability to be repaired successfully drove me crazy. Apparently this model wasn't exactly flying off the shelves and the depreciation was astronomical! Never again will I deal with Mazada or buy any of their products. Stick with Honda, Toyota, or Hyundai. There's a reason why these brands have a lion's share of the U.S. mid-size auto market!"
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Isabella on Monday, November 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I actually do love my car, i do have an issue with changing the head lights because you actually have to remove the tire in order to change it, but overall i do like the car."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Tookie on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautifully styled, handles well"
Cons: "Poor visibility."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The car handles well and has been reliable; however, between the small, sloped rear window and the headrests, visibility out the side and rear windows is greatly impeded. Even the side-view mirrors block my view at intersections. The low profile tires need to have air added on a regular basis, which is inconvenient."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful