Family sedans occupy a strange place in the automotive landscape of 2018. With Ford’s surprise announcement earlier this year that it would be discontinuing its extensive line of compact and mid-size sedans by 2020, coupled with the general decline in sedan sales, many industry watchers have speculated that we might be seeing the end of the sedan as the go-to family vehicle. At the same time, for many drivers the family sedan continues to be offer the best balance between driveability, fuel economy, and comfort, and this can perhaps best be seen in the Mazda 6, one of the most innovative mid-size sedans on the market.
The Mazda 6 first appeared in 2002, replacing Mazda’s long-running Capella nameplate. From the beginning, the Mazda 6’s careful engineering, superior handling, and energetic approach distinguished it from the rest of the mid-size pack. Now in its third generation, the Mazda 6 reached one million units sold faster than any other vehicle in Mazda’s line-up. It has also proved to be an enduring favourite in the used car market: shoppers who want to get a pre owned Mazda have found the Mazda 6 to be one of the most reliable options due to its staying power and long life.
While the Mazda 6’s success doubtless has something to do with its ability to maintain high standards of performance under even the most demanding circumstances, Mazda’s ability to bring together the agility and fun driving of a smaller vehicle with the size and comfort shoppers expect from a mid-size sedan has also had much to do with its popularity. Where its smaller and better-known sibling, the Mazda 3, is designed to be an agile, compact commuting machine, the Mazda 6 offers this exact same intuitive, dexterous driving while also providing plenty of room in the back seat and ample storage space.
The 2018 Mazda 6 received a mid-generation facelift, providing drivers with an extended range of features and updating its looks to give it a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile akin to the ever-popular Mazda 3 and Mazda CX-5. The new Mazda 6 has also been praised for its sumptuous interior, inspiring some industry critics to wonder whether the Mazda 6 isn’t actually closer kin to a luxury vehicle than a standard family sedan. The cabin is one of the quietest you will find in a mid-size car, and quality construction materials like Japanese Sen wood go a long way toward creating the sense of opulence and class that have also made this car a favourite. No wonder the Mazda 6 is bucking sales trends and holding its own.
For all the prognostications about falling sedan sales, there remains a solid market for quality mid-size family vehicles. Manufacturers like Mazda, who have been able to deliver a product that is perfectly suited to the family shopper looking for a reliable passenger car, can count on a loyal customer base — so long as they continue putting out vehicles that blend quality, driveability, and function as deftly as the Mazda 6 does.