It’s been one month and 800 miles (no, I don’t drive a lot) since I bought my new Mazda6. As you all know, I had wanted one of these since they were first introduced in mid-2013 (as an early 2014 model). I love the style, the look, the driving feel, everything.

My trusty 2008 Mazda3 was doing alright, but it was depreciating rather quickly and it was pretty small. My wife and I are now beginning to try and have a baby, and the 3 effectively became a two seater (driver and baby) with an infant seat installed. I also recently started a new job that is secure, pays more, and I enjoy more. That, and my wife’s vehicle (a 2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport) has been paid off for around two years. So, our only other big bill is the mortgage. After a lot of praying, thinking, worrying, and wondering, we both decided to go for it and drove to the Mazda dealer we have the CX-5 serviced at (Duell’s Evansville Kia Mazda Volvo in Evansville, Indiana - if you’re in the area and in the market for a car, check them out. They were super easy to work with and made the process a LOT less stressful than it could’ve been) to see what they’d give us for the 3 as a trade-in and what we could get on a new 2016 6.

The 6 I have now was on their lot for two whole days before it went home with me. I found it online, with the “Just arrived - no photos” tag. I called, got the color and the trim (and the options), and made an appointment to test drive it. I had already been in a new Mazda6 before, but that was mid-2013 and it was a 2014 Sport (base model). I knew I wanted a 6. I didn’t want an Accord, a Camry, an Altima, a Fusion, a Malibu, a Sonata, an Optima, or any other family sedan. I wanted a 6. I have always wanted one. And if I was going to have a car payment, then damn it, I wasn’t going to settle.

We ended up getting the exact (to the dollar) Blue Book trade-in value for the 3. We then put $1,000.00 down and negotiated the price of this 6 down to $100.00 over invoice. They weren’t overly willing to haggle since this is a 2016, but I still think we got a good deal. We ended up financing a bit over $20,000.00. Our loan is stretched out pretty far, but we are making double payments and will have it paid off early - before the factory warranty is up. I refuse to make payments on a car that doesn’t have a warranty, reliability be damned.

(Full Disclosure: Mazda wanted me to drive this 2016 Mazda6 so badly that they built it in Japan, shipped it to a dealer in Evansville, Indiana, and made it so damn good looking and fun to drive that I couldn’t resist buying it.)

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The photo below is the first picture I ever took of it after it became mine and we left the dealer. We had just signed the papers (and stopped for breakfast) when I snapped this photo:

Exterior: 10/10

The styling of the 2014+ Mazda6 has always been shockingly good looking to me. It stands out from the seas of beige Camry base models and silver (yes, like every one of them is silver) Accords. But, it does so without being over the top or so exuberant that it won’t age well. It is simply a clean, attractive design. Mazda’s “Kodo” design language is really beautiful. I think what I appreciate most about it is its simplicity. It somehow manages to be simple, yet elegant. Understated, yet not boring. The 19-inch wheels that come with the Touring and Grand Touring models are awesome (in my opinion) as well.

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For 2016, the exterior styling of the Sport and Touring models remains much the same, while the Grand Touring models get exclusive wheels (a darker color than the ones found on Touring models) and slightly re-worked front fascia.

My car is finished in “Deep Crystal Blue Mica” over black leatherette interior.

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Interior: 8/10

The interior of this car is a nice place to be. The seats are a bit narrow, but they’re very supportive. The leatherette doesn’t feel much different than leather I’ve encountered in other cars, and it doesn’t have the temperature extremes, either (which is good since my mid-level Touring model is not equipped with heated seats). The 2016s have some interior upgrades, such as a redesigned dashboard and a different stereo system (less troublesome than the smaller units of the 2014 and 2015). There is also now an electronic parking brake and a Sport mode for the automatic transmission.

The fit and finish is great. No noticeable panel gaps, hard plastics, or cheap feeling items. Everything feels like it belongs in a much more expensive car. Mazda really upped their game with this one. Some have said the head unit looks odd sticking up out of the dashboard, but I like the look myself.

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Rear HVAC vents are a nice touch as well, standard on the Touring and Grand Touring models.

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Acceleration: 8/10

Every review of this car says that it needs more power. That it’s slow. Every. Single. One. Well, guess what? There’s a difference between what people say and what is actually true in real life.

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This car has plenty of punch. Acceleration is more than enough. I think it’s quick, myself, especially for a four-cylinder automatic family car. It’s just as (if not more) quick than my Mazda3 was. The Sport mode actually makes a difference as well. The already smooth transmission holds gears a lot longer and shifts firmer as well when the Sport mode is engaged.

The car’s readout for average MPG is a bit low (especially since I accidentally reset it the other day) but my calculations are showing 29 MPG average with mostly city driving. Not too shabby.

Braking: 8/10

Let’s see. It has brakes. Good ones. ABS is standard, obviously. The car stops quickly, smoothly, and quietly.

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Ride: 7/10

The 19-inch wheels the Touring and Grand Touring models come with do make the car have a slightly firmer ride than the base Sport models with their 17-inch wheels. However, the car does a great job absorbing the harsh bumps and cracks in these Kentucky roads.

Handling: 9/10

Handling is an advantage that all Mazdas have. And the Mazda6 is no exception. Despite being front-wheel-drive, the car doesn’t exhibit all that much understeer. It stays firmly planted in the corners, allowing the driver to take curves at much higher speeds than he or she probably should. The tires hold on well (they’re a lot grippier than the Chinese no-names I had on my 3), and the electronic nannies do well at keeping their nose out of one’s business.

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Gearbox: 8/10

This automatic is smooth. Buttery, silky, smooth. Shifts are almost not noticeable. Downshifts come quickly, almost before you can even expect them. The car does upshift as soon as it can in the interest of fuel economy, of course, but it’s never a slouch when it comes to downshifting and using all of the available 184 horsepower.

Audio: 8/10

My car is a Touring model rather than the Grand Touring I’d have opted for if I had more money, but it does have the Bose stereo. I’ve read mixed reviews of Bose units over the years, particularly with GM models. However, I enjoy the sound this unit produces. Bose CenterPoint and AudioPilot both do well at arranging sounds pleasantly. From rap/hip-hop to classic rock to the smooth voice of Adele, all songs I’ve played in this car are loud, clear, and crisp with minimal distortion. CenterPoint apparently is the equivalent of an old-school equalizer raising it’s “mid” tones. AudioPilot is what it sounds like, adjusting the sound via speed and road noise levels.

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Toys: 8/10

With my car, I have a power sunroof, leatherette seats, rear HVAC vents, blind spot monitoring, traction/stability control, rearview camera with rear cross traffic alert, Bose stereo, Bluetooth, text message forwarding/readout capability, advanced keyless entry, a CD player (even though no one uses CDs anymore), power driver’s seat, Homelink and auto-dimming rearview mirror, one-touch power windows, automatic-off headlights, Satellite radio, etc.

Bluetooth is standard on all 2016 Mazda6s. A rearview camera is standard on all but the base Sport model with manual transmission. A CD player is standard on the Touring and Grand Touring models, and unavailable on the Sport.

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Value: 8/10

The M.S.R.P. on my car is a little over $27,000.00. That’s not too bad for a decently equipped car in today’s day and age. Of course, no one pays M.S.R.P. In my experience, Mazda is a little more eager to work with customers than Toyota or Honda (unless of course you buy a current-year model in a year-end blowout sale). That could also be because I got lucky enough to find a good dealership.

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82/100

Engine: 2.5 liter SkyActiv G four-cylinder

Horsepower: 184

Torque: 185 lb. feet

0-60: 7.0 seconds

Top Speed: 130 mph

Seating: 5

MSRP: $27, 435.00

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