Mazda 6: Chronicling the Changes

The Mazda 6 is a midsize sedan, the largest car sold by this Japanese brand. The 6 follows a succession of Mazda midsize models and is also one of the few vehicles in its class also offered as a hatchback. But like several other manufacturers, Mazda quit offering the 6 to concentrate on utility vehicles.

Mazda logo

2021 — For its final model year, the Mazda 6 is mostly unchanged.

2020 — No notable changes for this year.

2019Mazda drops the previously available 6-speed manual transmission. Light changes accompany each grade.

2018 — A turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine joins the powertrain lineup. Mazda refreshes the sedan’s exterior and interior, and debuts Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility.

2017 — Select features previously optional are now standard. A G-vectoring control system is new.

2016 — An electronic parking brake and upgraded interior trim highlight the changes this year. All but the base model come with a 7-inch touchscreen display and a sport mode with the automatic transmission.

2015 — Light changes accompany the Mazda 6 one year removed from its most recent overhaul.

2014 — Mazda rolls out the third-generation 6. This year, the 6 offers one engine choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. This engine works with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. This model is offered in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring grades.

Third-Generation Mazda 6

The third-generation Mazda 6
The third-generation Mazda 6

2013 — No changes of note.

2012 — A new headlight and fog light design chart the changes. Mazda moves select features around between the different grades.

2011 — Refreshed front and rear styling and a new 6-speed automatic transmission highlight the changes this year. Also, both V6 engines are improved to deliver more power.

2010 — One year removed from its most recent overhaul, the 2010 model reflects light changes to equipment offerings only.

2009 — Mazda introduces the all-new and second-generation Mazda 6. Beginning this year, only the sedan is offered for a model that is larger and roomier than before. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine works with either a manual or automatic transmission. The available 3.7-liter V6 pairs with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Second-Generation Mazda 6

The second-generation Mazda 6
The second-generation Mazda 6

2008 — Mazda drops the sport wagon model while keeping the sedan and hatchback. The remaining changes involve package and trim shuffling.

2007 — Front and side airbags are now standard across the grade range. Also, Mazda overhauls the grade naming convention and adds Touring and Grand Touring editions.

2006 — The Mazda 6 receives a refresh with new front and rear fascias. Other changes include an available 5-speed automatic transmission with the four-cylinder engine. Traction control and an antilock brake system are now standard.

2005 — The optional automatic on V6 models gains an additional cog and is now a six-speed transmission.

2004 — The big news for the Mazda 6’s second year is the introduction of two additional body styles: a hatchback and a sport wagon. The trio make for an unusual combination in a segment dominated by sedans.

2003 — After a three-decade run, Mazda replaces the 626 with a new vehicle dubbed the 6. Sometimes stylized as the Mazda6, the all-new model delivers a sporty look in otherwise dull segment. A 2.3-liter inline-four is standard and works with either a manual or automatic transmission. The same can be said about the Ford-supplied 3.0-liter V6.

First-Generation Mazda 6

The first-generation Mazda 6
The first-generation Mazda 6

Mazda 6 Considerations

The Mazda 6 has always been a style leader, but more so in its final generation. Sadly, declining sales killed this model, at least in the U.S. market. The available turbo gave this model a true sport sedan. Oddly, Mazda never offered all-wheel drive for the 6.

The segment continues to decline but is represented by several stalwart models. These include the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and the Nissan Altima. The Chevrolet Malibu, Kia K5, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, and Volkswagen Passat are other models worth comparing.

See AlsoMazda Rolls Out EV, Expands Crossover Lineup, and Adds an I6 Engine

Photo Attribution

Third-generation photo copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Second-generation photos courtesy of Vauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo.

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Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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