As the best-selling vehicle in the manufacturer’s lineup, the Mazda6 is part of arguably the most competitive car segment — family sedans.

The 2017 Mazda6 is a strong challenger top family sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The 2017 Mazda6 is a strong challenger top family sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Images © James Raia/2016

For 2017, the 16th year of the vehicle, the Mazda6 continues its strong market position. It’s a performance-oriented option among iconic more tradition rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima.

The Weekly Driver Text Drive

Equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower, the 2017 Mazda6 has a six-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration seems peppier than the car’s specs, largely because of the sport-oriented tuning and responsive steering.

While technically a family sedan, the Mazda6’s sporty persona is further exemplified by its cornering precision and lack wind and road noise at all speeds.

The 2017 Mazda6 has a sportier design and drive than many of its rivals.
The 2017 Mazda6 has a sportier design and drive than many of its rivals.

My weekly driver was the top-line Grand Touring trim. Its GT Premium Package features regenerative brakes and active grille shutters to conserve fuel. Mazda says the features add about one mile to gas mileage averages.

The Premium Package ($2,500) also includes Nappa leather seats, heated rear seats (heated front seats are standard), a heated steering wheel with upgraded stitching, and a black headliner.

The standard equipment is lengthy on all trims and includes items like heated side mirrors and other features available as options in some competitors’ models.

With its spacious two-tone interior, well-positioned and comfortable seating, the Madza6 joins an ever-growing list of recently reviewed vehicles that nearly immediately present the comfort of a family room on wheels. And unlike some family sedans, the car’s sporty, angular exterior design, particularly when adorned with machine gray metallic paint, attracts attention.

The new Mazda6 also has a host of safety and security features, tire pressure monitoring to smart city brake support. It’s an automatic braking system at speeds of 20 mph or less. There’s also a lane departure warning and lane keep assist. The latter feature is sensitive and required a learning curve. I first thought the wheels were out of adjustment when the feature engaged, but the safety component is beneficial, of course.

With its siblings, the Mazda CX-3 and Mazda3, the Mazda6 is rated by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as “Top Safety Pick+” for 2017.

Facts & Figures: 2017 Mazda6

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.6 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 27 mpg (city), 35 mpg (highway), 30 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 184.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,695.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: www.mazdausa.com.
Price As Tested: $34,530.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“At its core, the 2017 Mazda 6 is a competent, comfortable and sensible midsize family sedan. When you add in a strong performance, plenty of driver engagement and.” — edmunds.com.

“If your practical side needs a sedan that does usual sedan duties, but your heart craves something that quickens its pulse when the road curves, the solution. — kelly blue book.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Categorizing the 2017 Mazda6 as family sedan does it and disservice. It’s more performance-oriented than the segment’s definition. Hey, Honda, Toyota and Nissan, the Mazda6 is approaching quickly in your respective rear view mirrors.”

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