Sedans & Coupes

Does the 2020 Mazda6’s Terrible Acceleration Make It Any Less Sporty?

Mazda has a sterling reputation for producing cars that are sporty yet affordable. Thoughts of slipping into the driver’s seat of their sport sedan can instantly turn an average joe into a racecar driver. When putting the pedal to the metal, Mazdas typically thrill the heart of any gearhead. So does the 2020 Mazda6 rise to the occasion or fall drastically short?

The Mazda6 is a luxurious sedan, certainly looking the part with its sleek, athletic design. It easily blends in with its modern brethren, so one could easily assume it performs just as well. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that you’ll only get sporty performance from the 2020 Mazda6 if you’re willing to shell out the cash for performance upgrades.

What has caused the discrepancy within an otherwise seamless brand, and why should you temper expectations when considering the 2020 Mazda6’s entry-level trim?

The 2020 Mazda6 doesn’t zoom past the competition

The 2020 Mazda6 driving down a city street with buildings in the background
The 2020 Mazda6 driving down the street | Photo via Mazda

Drivers of sport sedans live for that moment when they can unleash the open throttle. The Mazda6 may not be a straight-line burner like the Dodge Charger or Alfa Romeo Giulia, but you’d still expect it to have some giddy-up. Unfortunately, unlike Mazda’s fastest cars, that’s not the case with the Mazda6’s standard 187-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

Consumer Reports registered a 0-60 MPH acceleration time of 9.2 seconds for the midsize sedan. That’s more than three seconds slower than the Dodge Charger, 2.5 seconds slower than the Alfa Romeo Giulia, and 1.5 seconds slower than the Mazda3.

Does this mean the Mazda6 isn’t the energetic car people make it out to be? Not exactly. Consumer Reports’ review of the 2020 Mazda6 defended the car’s sluggish acceleration with the following statement:

“This updated 6 feels more expensive than it is. But with the improvements, the car has become slower and less fuel-efficient. That said, the base four-cylinder engine and responsive automatic transmission make the sedan feel quicker than the numbers alone indicate.”

How to get the power you crave

Unfortunately, you’ll need more than a lead foot to make the 2020 Mazda6 sing. It requires a turbocharged kick. That’s why higher trims feature a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that helps the 2020 Mazda6 become a true sport sedan. This upgraded engine produces 227 hp with regular 87 octane fuel and 250 hp with premium 93 octane fuel.

Even though the engine’s speed leaves something to be desired, it still maneuvers smoothly. No matter which powerplant the 2020 Mazda6 is outfitted with, it delivers the automaker’s signature agile handling. Additionally, both powertrains come with a six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode.

The Mazda6 won’t win any drag races with its standard engine, but that might not matter too much. According to owners, the brand came through on other essential features. Consumer Reports gave the Mazda6 positive ratings in braking, ride, noise, emergency handling, and transmission. The publication also noted the high level of comfort and quality materials of the midsize sedan.

Just short of perfection

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Capturing the essence of what it feels like to race ahead full-throttle on the open road can be difficult for automakers. Even seasoned manufacturers such as Mazda can fall short of perfection. 

The 2020 Mazda6 is a good car with athletic attributes, but it doesn’t quite have the quick acceleration many drivers expect. Regardless, this midsize sedan is still one of the most well-rounded and sportiest in its class, and it is still a worthy choice for those who want driving thrills. However, it’s best to spend the extra money to upgrade to the available turbocharged engine to enjoy the Mazda6 to its fullest extent.