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Even incredible cars lose luster over time, and the 2021 Mazda6 may have reached its expiration date. Mazda attempted to breathe life into this aging sedan by offering a Mazda6 Carbon Edition for 2021. However, this effort fell flat, and fresher competing models are becoming more attractive options.

Why isn’t the Mazda6 Carbon Edition a game-changer? And what should you do if you’re in the market for a sporty midsize sedan? Let’s explore Mazda’s latest offering and see how it stacks up against its rivals.

What enhancements does the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition offer?

A grey 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition on display in front of a silver background
The 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition on display | Mazda

Mazda infamously didn’t boost this sedan’s performance level. But even more astoundingly, this trim level doesn’t even have any carbon components inside of it. Instead, Mazda only gave the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition superficial design enhancements.

This variant rides on 19-inch wheels with a stylish black metallic finish. Additionally, it features a gloss black grille, Polymetal Gray exterior paint, black heated side mirrors, red leather-trimmed seats, and more.

The 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition’s upscale, athletic design may fool the untrained eye. However, this pricey, aging model will disappoint car enthusiasts looking for driving thrills.

Critics put the Carbon Edition’s purpose into question

A look inside the interior of the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition, which features red leather seats
The red leather interior of the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition | Mazda

MotorTrend’s Alex Leanse detailed the dilemma that the 2021 Mazda6 presents. As Leanse explained, the car is as fun as ever to drive. However, its rivals offer a much more complete package and are quickly catching up on the fun factor.

The publication recently tested a 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition and praised it for its athletic performance and potent engine. However, it harped on the fact that this variant didn’t bring anything new to the table while commanding a premium price.

Meanwhile, Car and Driver’s Drew Dorian called out Mazda for its disappointing attempt to reinvigorate the Mazda6. He said, “For a car company that prides itself on being different, the Carbon Edition treatment of the Mazda 6 feels lazy.” Additionally, Dorian praised the car’s dynamic on-road performance while criticizing its outdated technologies.

More worthy alternatives to the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition

Mazda stuck a $32,950 MSRP on this all-new trim level. This price is quite extreme, considering the Carbon Edition’s lack of genuine enhancements. You could save a few hundred dollars by choosing the nearly identical Mazda6 Grand Touring Reserve instead. Alternatively, the Grand Touring trim costs almost $3,000 less and has the same powertrain, but you’ll have to sacrifice several premium features.

Other manufacturers simply offer better value for your money. However, we recommend test-driving two models in particular – both of which can beat the Mazda6 in a drag race.

The 2021 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T is surprisingly sporty, but it costs significantly more than the Mazda6 Carbon Edition. However, its $36,900 sticker price is well justified. It’s loaded with more advanced features than the Mazda6 Carbon Edition. 

And unlike the Mazda6, the Accord’s 252-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine doesn’t require premium gas to deliver maximum performance. Meanwhile, you have to fill your Mazda6 up with expensive 93-octane fuel to achieve 250 hp; otherwise, it only produces 227 hp.

Those who aren’t willing to spend that much should consider purchasing the 2021 Toyota Camry TRD, which has an MSRP of $31,285. Unlike its rivals, the Camry TRD utilizes a 301-hp V6 instead of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Plus, Toyota actually gave this race-inspired model performance enhancements, such as a track-tuned suspension.


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