Performance

When the Mazda6 debuted last year, I drove a powerful V-6 version called the ''s.'' That car handled like a true sport sedan, with relatively heavy steering and a pretty rough ride. It was fun, but I didn't think the gains in performance were worth the sacrifices in everyday comfort.

I was expecting a similar experience with the four-cylinder model, minus all that power, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a sedan that nearly matches the Camry in terms of ride comfort. While it wasn't quite as cushy as the Camry — which is so cushy some drivers find it unappealing — I would put it alongside the Fusion and Malibu in terms of offering a good combination of comfort, handling, noise isolation and acceptable acceleration. This is the version of the Mazda6 that's a terrific daily driver.

The Mazda6's mileage isn't as great as some of the competition, at 21/30 mpg city/highway for the automatic, four-cylinder model I tested (20/29 mpg with the manual transmission). The V-6 s trim gets 17/25 mpg. After filling up at the gas station, I calculated my mileage at less than 21 mpg after commuting in heavy traffic for more than 300 miles. The trip computer registered 21.5 mpg over the same distance.

Automatic, four-cylinder versions of the 2010 Accord, Fusion and Camry return 21/31, 22/31 and 22/32 mpg, respectively.

While EPA gas mileage figures are important, a 1-2 mpg difference isn't enough for me to sway a buying decision from a car I want because of its looks or its comfort to one with marginally better mileage.

    See also:

    Mirrors
    qOutside Mirrors Check the mirror angles before driving. Mirror type Flat type (driver's side). Flat surface mirror. Convex type (passenger side). The mirror has single curvature on its surface ...

    Meters and Gauges
    (Black-out meter) When the ignition switch is in the ON position, the dashboard gauges illuminate. 1. Speedometer 2. Odometer, Trip Meter and Trip Meter Selector 3. Tachometer 4. Engine Coola ...

    Vehicle Information Labels
    Vehicle Identification Number The vehicle identification number legally identifies your vehicle. The number is on a plate attached to the cowl panel located on the left corner of the dashboard. ...