2020 Mazda6 Signature
The current generation of Mazda’s sporty midsize sedan debuted as a 2018 model, taking the Mazda6 more upscale with the addition of a top-level Signature trim and a powerful turbocharged engine. Mazda6 joined the automaker’s lineup in 2003 when it replaced the long-running Mazda 626. Best known for the sporty two-seater MX-5 Miata, Mazda strives to inject a little of that halo car’s spirit and driving dynamics into each of its other models — including the 2020 Mazda6 Signature.
Mazda provided us with a 2020 Mazda6 Signature — the top trim level of Mazda’s midsize sport sedan — finished in Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint with a Parchment Nappa leather interior. Starting MSRP for Mazda6 Signature is $35,300; our test car with the optional Soul Red paint, a carpeted cargo mat and delivery / handling fee topped out at $36,915.
The latest Mazda6 continues a design language consistent with the popular CX-5 and CX-9 crossovers, with the most obvious update being a new grille flanked by standard LED headlights and integrated fog lights that give the Mazda6 a wide stance. Soul Red has become a signature Mazda color, and the new Mazda6 offers the newest Soul Red Crystal Metallic with an even brighter and more striking finish than the Soul Red hues of earlier model years. This Soul Red Crystal definitely highlights and enhances the sporty yet sophisticated design of this particular Mazda6.
The 2018 redesign completely revamped the Mazda6 interior, with only the steering wheel and a few trim pieces remaining unchanged. The dashboard has a clean look that emphasizes the width of the cabin, with the middle dash flowing into the door panels and wrapping around front-seat occupants. The seats have been revised, and the Mazda6 Signature goes upscale with Nappa leather and Sen wood along with metal and Ultrasuede accents for a more refined finish to the sporty design. Front seats are heated and ventilated; outboard rear seats are heated as well.
Under the Hood
The 2020 Mazda6 Signature derives power from the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine introduced in the CX-9. Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit produces 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm for excellent performance. The 2.5T gets mated with a SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission delivering power to the front wheels. Mazda pairs the 2.5T engine with all-wheel drive in other models, which makes us wonder why AWD is not offered as an option for Mazda6.
On the Road
Comfortable and easy to drive in everyday conditions, the Mazda6 Signature has abundant torque available at a low rpm, so pulling into traffic or accelerating onto a highway is effortless. A Sport mode changes shift points and keeps the transmission in lower gears longer, yet it offers plenty of power for normal conditions. Under aggressive acceleration, the front tires of the Mazda6 spin fairly easily, although traction and stability controls engage without being too obtrusive so power gets applied smoothly.
Quiet, Smooth and Sporty
Quiet and comfortable, the Mazda6 Signature is so pleasant to drive it’s easy to overlook the sporty demeanor that lives within Mazda’s clever design. Simply flicking the Sport button and heading out on a favorite winding back road, drivers will soon discover the sport sedan lurking beneath the polish and upscale materials of the Signature.
This refined Signature offers a luxury feeling rarely found in other models within this price range. The leather seats are comfortable and nicely finished, with metal details in the upper seatbacks. Although the overall interior design invokes a sporty vibe, the wood, leather and metal trim throughout the Signature definitely move this Mazda6 upscale. As with the CX-9 and CX-5, Mazda strives to offer a more premium experience in this midsize sedan, while continuing to provide value and sporty driving dynamics.
Under normal driving conditions, the Mazda6 remains well balanced with fine steering feedback. But if drivers start to push a little, they will soon discover the untapped power of the 2.5T engine. While most Mazda6 shoppers will likely be looking for the everyday practicality and room that this midsize sedan offers, those who enjoy driving will be pleasantly surprised by a fun driving experience not found in many competitor vehicles, especially the many taller crossovers offered today.
A lingering annoyance with Mazda’s infotainment interface remains. Listeners have no way to select the channel list and move from station to station. Each time a station is selected, the interface moves back to another screen, forcing an additional step to return to the channel list. This simple task becomes very annoying for listeners who want to review what’s currently playing on multiple stations.
With great driving dynamics, a sporty exterior design and a powerful engine — combined with the upscale interior of the Signature trim — the 2020 Mazda6 offers a super sedan alternative in a boundless sea of crossovers.