The Mazda 6 is one of the car world's great unsung heroes. Shoppers fixated on Accord, Camry, and Malibu would do well to give this low-profile mid-size family sedan serious consideration. Powered by a smooth but strong 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the 6 runs as smoothly and quickly as some of the larger, heavier, V-6-motivated alternatives. Mated to a five-speed automatic, it delivers the magic 30-mpg number in EPA highway tests along with enough punch to run at the front of the traffic stream and full manual control over gear changes. Crisp steering response, well-damped body motions, and a supple ride hurdle the line distinguishing boring transportation from rolling entertainment. There's ample room for five thanks to a well designed back seat and easy entry under the sleek roofline. My only gripes are the tacky antenna stuck to the decklid when you opt for Sirius satellite radio and the lack of interior releases for folding the rear seatback.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor