The current Mazda6 and Ford Fusion are two power players in the hotly contested mid-size family sedan segment. To compete here you need to have room for five, comfort and offer a good overall driving experience. Carmakers such as Chevrolet, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and let’s not forget Hyundai, all offer top quality vehicles capable of dominating this segment (see Comparison Test: 2014 Mid-Size Sedans). Make a mistake here and you may not recover for years to come. Remember the Mitsubishi Galant? I didn’t think so.

For the purpose of this comparison, we have the 2015 Mazda6 GT featuring the latest Skyactiv technology, sporty styling and plenty of room to grow your family from 3 to 5. Loaded as this one is, it has a pre-tax MSRP of $35,395. The competition is the 2014 Ford Fusion SE FWD highlighting EcoBoost technology, a suave exterior profile and all the necessary comforts you and the kids are likely to require. Suggested MSRP for this test vehicle is $33,389 before tax.

Let’s get to the comparison!

Under the hood

2015 Mazda6 GT

The Mazda philosophy is to build cars with a fair amount of zoom-zoom. My first experience with the company was to purchase a used 1978 Mazda GLC with a little four-cylinder engine and four-speed manual transmission. Back in the day, it was a Great Little Car, and for the most part the brand has steadily improved with each new model year.

Under the hood of our 2015 Mazda6 GT test vehicle is a 2.5-litre Skyactiv engine. It produces 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. Skyactiv is Mazda’s fancy term for high-tech, lightweight, fuel-efficient technology. It is a term used to describe not just the engine, but also the transmission, suspension, anything that improves fuel economy.

Matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, this Mazda6 GT will reach highway speeds in above-average time. Top speed is not really all that important here; let’s just say it can easily go fast enough while returning good fuel economy to get you from point A to B in no time flat.

2014 Ford Fusion engine bay2015 Mazda6 engine bay
2014 Ford Fusion, 2015 Mazda6 engine bay. Click image to enlarge

2014 Ford Fusion SE

Ford has proven it is heading in the right direction over the past few years and the Fusion is one of the reasons why the Dearborn-based company is once again a respected brand. Then again, it can’t hurt to pattern the front nose of the Fusion after that of an Aston Martin. Intentional or not, it looks fantastic.

Power comes from a unique 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbocharged engine that generates 181 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 4,320 rpm. The term EcoBoost is Ford’s way of saying small displacement, direct injection turbo-powered engines with exceptional fuel economy.

It too is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission for smooth performance. Acceleration is strong, it feels a little faster than the Mazda6 and fuel efficiency is excellent with a combined city/highway rating of 7.3 L/100 km. By comparison, the Mazda6 offers a near identical combined rating of 7.2 L/100 km.

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