First Drive: Mazda6 Signature

I spent some time in Colorado in the new Mazda6 Signature, Mazda's midsize luxury sedan, as with past Mazda Signature trim level vehicles I have driven, the 6 was well appointed and had excellent fit and finish. You can tell that Mazda has put the work in to make the Signature trim level on par with much more expensive luxury sedans. That targeting is apparent when you notice that the Mazda6 Signature is priced right in alignment with the base price of a BMW 3 series, Audi A4, or Acura TLX, with more equipment and similar performance figures the Mazda6 should do a good job of converting a few "premium" brand shoppers.

The 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four makes 250 horsepower, 310 pound-feet of torque, and the six-speed automatic is smooth and fun to drive through the winding roads outside of Vail Colorado. While the car is sporty, it is not what I would call a sports-sedan (the manual 6-speed is not an option on the Signature), the Signature trim level is more about luxury than performance, but it does luxury well. Inside the heated and air condition seats keep you comfortable and the cabin is quiet and well laid out. The addition of  Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ make the infotainment even better.

After spending a week in the Mazda6 Signature I have to say that it is a clear leader in interior styling, comfort, and finish for the price. You won't find the equipment and quality in a European competitor anywhere near the as-tested price of $36,140. Heated Steering Wheel, Moonroof, premium sound, and many other features you wouldn't expect from a Japanese car maker at this price point. Interior and trunk space was also impressive fitting all of our luggage for a trip Vail plus all of my camera gear with room to spare.

Exterior styling clean and distinctive and not much changes on the outside between trim levels, which is great for those looking at the $21.950 Mazda6 Sport, but leaves a little gap in exclusivity for Signature trim level owners, who only visually get a badge, some chrome, and different wheels.

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