Is the Mazda CX-5 Just a Taller Mazda6?

The CX-5 is the most popular Mazda for obvious reasons. This crossover promises exciting handling and surprising luxury. But if these attributes are most appealing to you, the underrated Mazda6 is also an enticing option.

How does driving the 2021 Mazda CX-5 compare to driving the 2021 Mazda6?

A metallic-gray 2020 Mazda6 in the city
Mazda6 | Mazda

Unsurprisingly, the CX-5 and the Mazda6 have similar driving dynamics. They both stand out in their respective classes for their athleticism and refinement. Plus, they’re among the most efficient too.

The CX-5 and the Mazda6 share the same powertrain: a 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed automatic. Both models feel quick off the line, but you might long for more power, especially in the CX-5. The Mazda6 has a slight advantage regarding fuel economy with an EPA rating of 29 mpg overall; the standard CX-5’s rating is a point lower.  

Mazda gives the 2021 CX-5 a noticeable refresh.
2021 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Unlike its Toyota competition, the Mazda6 is only available with front-wheel drive. So, if you’re looking for a model with more traction control, the CX-5 wins out. Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system is available on each CX-5 trim.

The CX-5 and the Mazda6 offer more power to those who want it. These Mazdas feature a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on the upper-level trims. CX-5s with this engine produce 250-hp. Mazda6s with the turbo-four make 227- or 250-hp depending on the octane level, as U.S. News highlights. 

The CX-5 offers more interior space 

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature's interior as seen from the rear seats
2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD rear interior | Matthew Skwarczek

Mazdas have become more upscale over the year, which makes them more comparable to actual luxury models. The CX-5 and the Mazda6 boast high-quality trimmings and comfort. Both models can accommodate five. Reviewers have been more impressed with how plush their seats are, but the available legroom isn’t as remarkable in either vehicle. 

The CX-5 has the advantage regarding storage space. This crossover has 59.6 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded. With the Mazda6, you get 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space. You can fold the Mazda6’s back seats for more room, but the releases are in the trunk, not the cabin itself.

The 2021 Mazda Carbon Edition lineup – CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda6
The 2021 Mazda Carbon Edition lineup | Mazda

There are plenty of options to make your Mazda more luxurious. The CX-5 and the Mazda6 are part of Mazda’s Carbon Edition lineup. Carbon Edition models have a red leather interior and have a unique Polymetal Gray exterior. Other optional frills include synthetic leather, Nappa leather, and heated seats.

Both models have lots of tech 

A view of the the Mazda6's interior through the right passenger window.
2020 Mazda6 interior | Mazda

Tech lovers will be happy with either the CX-5 or the 6. Mazda packed these vehicles with a suite of active safety functions, including blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, and lane departure warning. You can add on other helpful features, such as a heads-display.

Cockpit area of the 2021 Mazda CX-5
2021 Mazda CX-5 Interior | Mazda

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We also appreciate that Mazda has improved its infotainment offerings. The CX-5 and 6 come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the CX-5 has a few more advantages. All CX-5s now have a 10.25-inch touchscreen; the 6 gets an 8-inch one. Furthermore, the CX-5 comes has a wifi hotspot; the 6 doesn’t offer one.

Would you with the sedan or the crossover?

The 2021 CX-5 begins at $25,270, and the 2021 Mazda6 starts at $24,325. You could say that the CX-5 is the taller and more spacious version of the 6. It’s hard to go wrong with either one, but the CX-5 is more family-friendly; the 6 is ideal for city life.