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:

    Interior Equipment (View B)
    1. Audio control switch. 2. Air bags. 3. Cruise control switches. 4. Information display. 5. Climate control system. 6. Hazard warning flasher switch. 7. Audio system. 8. Glove box. 9. AMB s ...

    Front Seats (Manually Operated Seats)
    WARNING: Do not modify or replace the front seats: Modifying or replacing the front seats such as replacing the upholstery or loosening any bolts is dangerous. The front seats contain air bag c ...

    Floor Mat
    WARNING: Make sure the floor mats are hooked on the retention pins to prevent them from bunching up under the foot pedals: Using a floor mat that is not secured is dangerous as it will interfere ...