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There’s a lot to like in the midsize sedan category, which is one of the most popular vehicles these days in the U.S.

The landscape includes the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and Kia Optima. Frankly, at this point in time, a car shopper seeking a family sedan couldn’t go wrong in choosing any of the above.

The 2016 Mazda6 is a fine midsize sedan with a lot of enviable qualities, which include affordability, styling, family-friendly interior space, plus solid fuel economy and performance. It was fully redesigned in 2014, has added a few changes for 2016, and is clearly one of the must-see vehicles in this popular class.

The latest version of the Mazda6 handles well, provides good performance, and the interior is appealing and smart.

2016 Mazda6

* Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 184 horsepower
* Mileage estimate range: 26-38 mpgย ย ย 
* Price: $21,495-$30,195
* Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 3 years/36,000; corrosion 5years/unlimited

And one more thing about the 2016 Mazda6: You can buy the standard model for just under $22,000. Like most vehicles, the price can climb dramatically when more features are added, which leads us to the upper end price of around $30,000 for the i Grand Touring.

The exterior of the Mazda6 features a curvaceous look with a long hood, wraparound taillights, a bolder front end, and a chrome strip running the width of the car. It’s a well done look that gives the Mazda6 a pleasant curb appeal. Exterior changes for 2016 include a new grille and available LED headlights.

The Mazda6 is the second model (Mazda3 was the first) to come equipped with the SKYACTIV. The goal is to increase gas mileage – now 26-38 mpg – and not compromise the performance.

Both the consistent performance and fuel economy increase can be traced to Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology. The Japanese auto manufacturer says the technology “combines breakthrough innovation and state-of-the-art engineering and is applied to engines, transmissions, body and chassis systems – all lighter, more efficient, with increased responsiveness.”

The Mazda6 has surprising performance, considering it’s equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 185-pound-feet of torque. It delivers quick acceleration, clocked at 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds. That’s plenty quick for a four-speed “family” sedan.

Despite a fine-performing engine, it would be nice for another offering like several of its competitors – adding a peppy V6 or a turbocharged model.

One can choose from the automatic transmission or go for the six-speed manual, where shifting gears was fairly effortless in the test model here thanks to a not-so-touchy clutch pedal. The Mazda6 has a new smaller steering wheel, which no doubt plays a role in the ease of how the vehicle handles.

Some car experts are suggesting that the Mazda6 interior ranks right near the top in the segment. The aesthetically appealing cabin has many soft-touch materials, very readable instruments and gauges, and is quite capable overall.

The Mazda6 provides generous head and legroom for both rear and front-seat occupants. The trunk space is 14.8 cubic feet. This sedan is spacious overall due to its 111.4-inch wheelbase.

Thanks to its stylish exterior, smart interior, and its ability to be fuel-efficient while also delivering performance, the Mazda6 is now a very attractive buy in the crowded field of family sedans.

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