While the amply proportioned 2010 Mazda 6 may no longer be the sportiest family sedan on the market, it is unquestionably one of the best.
The midsize sedan market is crowded with competition, and until a major redesign last year, the Mazda 6 seemed to flounder at the back of the pack. As Japan's self-proclaimed performance brand, Mazda focused more on exciting driving dynamics than what American family sedan buyers were really looking for -- comfort, reliability, safety and affordability.
The re-imagined Mazda 6 that debuted last year was bigger in nearly every dimension than the previous generation. This provided occupants with one of the roomiest cabins in the midsize sedan class. When vehicles make substantial gains in size, we usually expect a corresponding drop in handling ability, acceleration and overall excitement. But that's not the case with the newest Mazda 6, as we've been pleasantly surprised to find that much of the previous athleticism is still intact.
For 2010, the Mazda 6 capitalizes on last year's gains by lowering the price on many of its trim levels. The resulting savings to buyers is not without a few sacrifices, though, as many standard features have been relocated to higher trim levels. New for 2010 is a Touring Plus model (it slots in just below the top-of-the-line Grand Touring) and a reworked display for Bluetooth and audio information.