KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

An emphasis on fun-to-drive is how the Mazda Mazda6 distinguishes itself in the crowded mid-size sedan segment. The 4-cylinder-powered version of the car offers good fuel economy, while the 6-cylinder delivers better performance but poorer gas mileage.

You'll Like The 2012 Mazda Mazda6 If...

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.

You May Not Like The 2012 Mazda Mazda6 If...

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.

What's New

There are no major changes for the 2012 Mazda6 sedan.

Interior Features

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 Features

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.

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.

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Mazda6 i Sport sedan (the "base" model) is well-equipped and has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of approximately $21,000. The mid-level i Touring with a 5-speed automatic is around $24,000, and a loaded s Grand Touring will be over $32,000. Thus, the 2012 Mazda6 is a value in the segment, although perhaps not as aggressively postured as the Hyundai Sonata. For an idea of what consumers are paying in your market area consult kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price. The 2012 Mazda6 has a good projected resale value, although it still falls behind the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry.

Notable Equipment

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.

Notable Options

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.

Favorite Features

Manual transmission

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.

Under the Hood

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.

2.5-liter in-line-4

170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual); 22/31 (automatic)

3.7-liter V6

272 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm

269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27

Editors' Notes

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.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Mazda Mazda6 Owner Reviews

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Great lil sports sedan with ample room and great reliability!

2012 Mazda Mazda6 i Sport

I love this car, I have put about 25k miles on it in less than 2 years driving cross country several times and it is held together! My only problem is at one point my passenger side window wouldn't roll up all the way and it leaves a gap, so it looks like the window may be off is tracks maybe so there's a slight noise when driving from the gap, which is annoying but given all the miles it is had put on it, that I can live with. Mazda sent me a letter saying that there has been some recalls and I took it to a dealership and they took out all the recalled parts and replaced them all free of charge!

- Shannon G

Red Mazda 6 easy on gas and a wonderful family car or first car for teenagers.

2012 Mazda Mazda6

The Mazda is really comfortable and a great fit for anyone doing a bunch of traveling. It is great on gas and has traveled over 1000 miles in a day and never gave any issues. It is also very comfortable and fits car seats. The seats are easy to clean and this is a very suitable family car. It was also useful as a first car for my child in college. Easy to use and navigate. However, the battery does die in cold weather. It is easily jumped and it begins to work again, but it must be started periodically to ensure that the battery does not get too cold and die.

- Whit R

A compact, comfortable and reliable city car.

2012 Mazda Mazda6

I really like my vehicle because it does not require a lot of service being done. I live in California so gas is pretty high, but it only takes about $45 to fill up my tank completely. My car is extremely reliable and has never broken down or gave out on me in the last 6 years I have had it. The only con of the 2012 Mazda 6 is the Bluetooth delay. When I connect my Bluetooth device to the car, there's a 5 second delay when I want to play music or connect a call. Other than that I love my car and can rely on it to get me from one destination to the other.

- Danielle T

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