Not Even the Acclaimed 2021 Mazda6 Can Slay the Toyota Camry

Some cars seem to have it all. So is the case with the well-rounded 2021 Toyota Camry. However, some shoppers may still lean toward the sporty, sophisticated 2021 Mazda6. But is that a mistake? Taking an in-depth look at both sedans proves why the Camry is the clear-cut favorite over the Mazda6.

There’s more to the 2021 Toyota Camry than meets the eye

Both midsize sedans present different images. The Camry is all about value, while the Mazda6 represents a refined driving experience. In reality, these vehicles are somewhat alike. And surprisingly, Toyota’s sedan is more expensive.

The 2021 Toyota Camry has a starting MSRP of $24,970 – $495 more than the Mazda6. But in true Toyota fashion, you’re still getting a ton for your money.

The Camry’s interior is more upscale than you’d expect, especially when it comes to the pricier models. It still doesn’t reach the near-luxury level of the trim-topping Mazda6 Signature ($35,900 MSRP.) However, you won’t feel like your settling for a sub-par vehicle.

Plus, the 2021 Toyota Camry is absolutely loaded with desirable features. Both sedans come standard with six speakers, two USB ports, and an infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

However, the base Camry holds some significant advantages over its rival. Toyota added Amazon Alex compatibility and a Wi-Fi hotspot to the mix.

Does the 2021 Mazda6 outperform the 2021 Toyota Camry?

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Mazdas are known for sporty driving dynamics. So, we wouldn’t blame you if you assumed the Mazda6 was more fun to drive.

However, the 2021 Toyota Camry puts up a surprisingly good fight. Its engine options are much more potent than those of the 2021 Mazda6.

For example, the Camry’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine kicks out 203 hp (and 206 hp on XSE models.) Meanwhile, the Mazda6’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine only musters up 187 hp.

Mazda and Toyota took different approaches to the more advanced engine options. Toyota opted for a potent 301-hp 3.5-liter V6, and Mazda equipped its sedan with a turbocharged four-cylinder that kicks out 227 hp (or 250 hp if you use premium 93-octane fuel.)

Power isn’t everything. Despite the 2021 Mazda6’s slow acceleration, it holds the upper hand with its responsive handling. However, the 2021 Toyota Camry is no slouch in this department either, as it offers above-average agility.

Toyota even helps you turn up the fun factor by providing a Camry TRD option. This trim level ($32,185 MSRP) comes standard with the V6 engine, and it also features a track-tuned suspension and other performance upgrades.

The 2021 Mazda6 lacks a crucial feature

The 2021 Mazda6 set up in front of a gray background for a photoshoot
The 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition on display | Mazda

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This sporty sedan has a lot, but it doesn’t have it all. Unlike the 2021 Toyota Camry, the Mazda6 isn’t available with an all-wheel-drive system. This drawback could dissuade shoppers who live in snowy or rainy climates from buying the otherwise stellar car.

AWD helps a vehicle maintain a better grip while driving on slick surfaces. Thus, it provides a little extra peace of mind while you forge through inclement weather conditions. Notably, Toyota only allows you to equip an AWD system to Camrys paired with a four-cylinder engine.

The winner is clear: The 2021 Toyota Camry keeps its crown

A blue 2021 Toyota Camry XLE driving down a highway road with a cityscape in the background
The 2021 Toyota Camry in action | Toyota

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It’s no surprise why experts like the U.S. News & World Report continually rank the Camry atop the midsize sedan class.

The 2021 Toyota Camry provides an overall great package at an affordable price point. And while it doesn’t lead rivals like the 2021 Mazda6 sedan in every category, it’s not too far behind in the areas where it trails. All-in-all, the Camry has a little something for everyone.