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Reinventing the most overlooked family sedan, the Mazda6

Reinventing the most overlooked family sedan, the Mazda6

The Mazda6 has long struggled to standout in the crowded family sedan segment, but the company aims to change that with bold styling and fuel-saving Skyactiv engine technology introduced at the LA Auto Show.

The first Mazda to benefit from lightweight construction, high-compression-ratio engines, and more direct automatic transmissions was the CX-5 small SUV. The outgoing Mazda 6 has always been one of the sportiest contenders among family sedans, yet undeservedly overlooked and obscure. The new Mazda6 has a coupe-like silhouette and is rather striking looking but in a humble, understated way. It will be powered by the Skyactiv 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 184 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic. Being a Mazda, a manual transmission is still offered—a rarity in this class.

The interior is attractively furnished and feels solid and well constructed. Despite the swoopy styling, rear seat accommodations are fairly spacious, relative to the class. Considering the new Ford Fusion and Honda Accord, and the roomy Volkswagen Passat, the 6 remains one of the more compact family sedans. This may be an asset when it comes to agility and fuel economy. We will find out soon, once we drive it.

The new Mazda6 goes on sale in January, with a diesel variant further distinguishing the sedan when it arrives in summer 2013.

See our complete 2012 LA Auto Show coverage.

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