Is the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition Really ‘Tired’ and ‘Contrived’ as Car and Driver Says?

Mazda is known for its excellent handling and competitive SUVs. But the automaker has also been making sedans for decades. One is the family-friendly Mazda6. And the 2021 model comes with newer features that give it a more expensive look than rivals such as the Nissan Altima.

The Mazda6 also offers a smooth ride that combines athleticism and refinement. It’s arguably one of the classiest mainstream sedans out there. And to kick things up a notch, the 2021 model boasts a Carbon Edition appearance package. But not everyone is a fan.

The 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition

One of six Mazda6 trims, the Carbon Edition takes this sedan to a new level. Though similar to the Grand Touring Reserve trim, including a starting price approaching $33,000 and a 2.5-liter turbo-four engine, the Carbon Edition offers a dark color scheme and more aggressive appearance.

According to Mazda, the Carbon Edition boasts black exterior mirrors, a black rear decklid spoiler, black metallic-finish 19-inch alloy wheels, metallic-gray body paint, and red leather seating. These new features make this sedan a sporty ride combining sophistication, performance, and style.

But these features don’t impress Car and Driver‘s Drew Dorian. “Throwing black wheels and darkened trim on an existing model and calling it a special edition is a tired trend,” he writes. “Mazda is the latest automaker to buy into this gimmick …”

So, is the Mazda6 Carbon Edition worth a look, or is it tired and contrived as Dorian claims?

A closer look at the Mazda6

Despite the “tired and contrived” jab at the Carbon Edition, Car and Driver’s Dorian admits this “midsize sedan blends value, luxury, and driving prowess.” The turbocharged engine gets more torque once you fill it with 93-octane fuel. And the top-trim Signature model has a driver-attention monitor and automated emergency braking. Plus, all Mazda6 models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. 


The Mazda6 has a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that offers decent speed and generates 187 hp. This engine is ideal for moderate drivers, and its 186 lb-ft of torque makes it pretty capable.

For those who like to go a little faster, there’s that 2.5-liter turbocharged motor. You’ll find it in the Grand Touring, Carbon Edition, and Signature trims. It can produce 227 hp and 320 lb-feet of torque, but MotorTrend says it’ll get 250 hp and 320 lb-ft with 93-octane fuel. This engine makes the car feel fast and responsive.


The 2021 Mazda6’s interior design is one of its best selling points. It has spacious legroom of 42.2 inches up front and 38.7 inches in the back row. The Carbon Edition’s dazzling red seats are also improved, with the four outboard seats heated and the front two ventilated, MotorTrend reports.


This sedan also boasts plenty of advanced safety features. They include blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Add to that a collision warning system, smart brake, pedestrian support, and an array of other features, and you have one of the safest cars for the occupants and others alike.

Those are some of the reasons why the Mazda6 has scored consecutive Best Car Brand awards from U.S. News in the past six years.

Key takeaway


The 2021 Subaru Legacy Only Has 1 Big Advantage Over the Mazda6

Indeed, sedans might seem tired in an SUV world, but the Mazda6 offers plenty to recommend it. The 2021 model has added new features and continues to offer Mazda’s zippy handling. Plus, there are several trims to choose from (including the Carbon Edition), two available engines, and even a new sound system. For buyers still interested in sedans, the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition is worth a second glance.