I know we all loved the previous Mazda 6 - but customers didn't buy it, and that's what counts. I don't agree with some others that Mazda abandoned its Zoom-Zoom image with this car: buyers in this segment who choose a V-6 do it for passing power and refinement, not for sportiness.
Yes, this 6 is less sporty than the previous one -- but it definitely answers what mid-size sedan customers want: smooth, refined power; elegant looks; and a nicely equipped, spacious interior.
I have a few frustrations with the 6's six-speed automatic transmission, the biggest being that it still downshifts in manual mode, and in drive mode, it sometimes refuses to downshift all the way.
But get the 6 out on a mountain road and you'll feel the Zoom-Zoom for sure, especially compared to its other enormous competitors (Accord and Camry.) Torque steer is remarkably well controlled, and this despite the engine's big thrust and the rack's communicative nature.
If I were shopping in this segment, there's no question the 6 would be at the top of my list.
Jason Cammisa, West Coast Editor