2011 Mazda6 GT-V6
2011 Mazda6 GT-V6. Click image to enlarge

Related links
More Mazda6 articles on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Mazda Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2011 Mazda6

Mid-size sedans under $40,000 tend to fall into one of two categories: “comfortable family cruisers” and “driver-oriented sport sedans.” In the former category, you’ll find cars like the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, and Chrysler 200, while in the latter class, you’ll find the Honda Accord V6, Mazda6 V6, Buick Regal Turbo, Hyundai Sonata Turbo, the new Kia Optima Turbo and new Volkswagen Passat V6.

Like most sporty sedans though, the Mazda6 GT V6 (this week’s test car) isn’t a no-compromises performance sedan like the Mazdaspeed6 was. It’s an everyday family car that provides a satisfactory combination of performance and fuel economy, responsive handling and a comfortable ride, a roomy interior with plenty of safety and luxury features, and a decent-sized trunk.

Last redesigned for the 2009 model year, the Mazda6 is a clean, attractive design, but still rather non-descript. Its most distinctive feature is the prominent front fender bulges that echo the RX-8 sports car, but other than that, there’s little to grab your attention. Of course, for many buyers, this simplicity is a plus, not a negative.

2011 Mazda6 GT-V6
2011 Mazda6 GT-V6. Click image to enlarge

Pricing and trim levels

Base 2011 Mazda6 models come with a four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission: the GS I4 ($23,995) has a standard 170-hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode ($1,200). New features for 2011 include standard electronic stability control, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone system, steering wheel design and illuminated steering wheel buttons, and rain-sensing wipers.

Four-cylinder models are also available in the well-equipped GT trim level ($29,395) which adds a bunch of luxury items like leather seats, automatic climate control, sunroof, 18-inch radials and alloy wheels, fog lights, and HID headlights. Some items have been deleted this year, including the remote opening feature for the sunroof and windows, and the passenger one-touch up/down windows feature (also deleted in the GS and GT V6 models.)

The four-cylinder Mazda6 is available with a manual six-speed transmission, but the six-cylinder model is not; the latter comes standard with a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. There’s no doubt a V6 model with a standard manual transmission would be more of a driving enthusiast’s car, but Mazda has probably figured out that the demand for V6 manuals is just not there.

2011 Mazda6 GT-V6
2011 Mazda6 GT-V6. Click image to enlarge

The base V6 model, the GS V6 ($31,500) has a 272-hp 3.7-litre V6 engine with all the standard features of the GS four-cylinder model plus a few other features, and the standard automatic transmission. The GT V6 ($37,440) is similar to the four-cylinder GT in trim, plus a standard 10-speaker Bose audio sound system, Sirius Satellite Radio, Blind Spot Monitoring system, an intelligent key system and push-button start, four-way power passenger seat, and audio display screen. New for 2011 are a driver’s memory seat, rear-view camera, folding side mirrors with automatic dimming and integrated turn signals.

Full details about Mazda6 features and pricing are available in Autos.ca New Car Buyer’s Guide.

Driving impressions

Since Mazda6 GT V6 models have the standard keyless ignition and door unlocking feature, getting in and out is easy. With the key in your pocket, just grab the driver’s door handle and the doors unlock. Press the black button on the door handle to lock them after you get out.

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