The Mazda 6: Years to Consider and Those to Avoid

The Mazda6, an exquisite mid-size sedan known for its sporty performance, stylish design, and excellent fuel efficiency, has won the hearts of many automobile enthusiasts worldwide. However, like any other vehicle model, it has had its highs and lows.

In this article, we’ll delve into the Mazda6’s timeline, identifying the golden years that produced exceptional vehicles and pointing out certain years that prospective buyers may wish to steer clear of.


What Are The Best Years For The Mazda6?

1.     2016 Model Year

The 2016 Mazda6 is a gem in the Mazda lineup, a model year that signaled a transformative period for the mid-sized sedan. This year’s Mazda6 witnessed a significant refresh, including a revamped exterior design that exuded a more refined, upscale look compared to its predecessors.

A major highlight was the introduction of the Mazda Connect infotainment system as a standard feature across all trims. This easy-to-use system, coupled with a 7-inch touch screen, brought the Mazda6 into the modern age of connectivity, offering features like hands-free text messaging and internet radio.

Safety also received a boost in this year’s model. It earned the highest ratings in almost all categories from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), contributing to its recognition as a 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Its enhanced reliability and robust safety features make the 2016 Mazda6 a smart pick for those seeking a dependable, well-rounded vehicle.

2016 Mazda 6 interior view.

2.     2018 Model Year

The 2018 Mazda6 underwent a significant makeover, both inside and out. For the first time, it offered two engine options – a standard 2.5L four-cylinder and a potent turbocharged variant. The latter, available in the higher trims, significantly boosted the Mazda6’s performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency, making it one of the most powerful and economical choices in its class.

Inside, the 2018 model saw the addition of high-quality materials and premium features like ventilated front seats and a surround-sound system, depending on the trim level. It also introduced advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, bolstering its reputation for prioritizing driver and passenger safety.

3.     2020 Model Year

The 2020 Mazda6 proved to be an evolution in Mazda’s quest to provide an upmarket feel without an upscale price. It offered an impressively high-end interior, complete with quality materials and an elegant design. Plus, the standard infotainment system came with an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay – all contributing to an enhanced user experience.

Under the hood, a turbocharged engine became available, providing robust power for those craving a sportier drive. The Mazda6’s performance was further complemented by its agile handling and precise steering, living up to Mazda’s well-known driver-oriented ethos.

4.     2022 Model Year

The 2022 Mazda6 brought something new to the table with its Carbon Edition. This unique offering included a Polymetal Gray exterior, black mirror caps, and a red leather interior, offering an appealing blend of style and exclusivity. The Carbon Edition also boasted more standard features, including a moonroof, a Bose audio system, and several driver-assistance technologies.

As for performance, the 2022 Mazda6 held its own with a standard 187-hp engine, offering an optional turbocharged variant for those wanting more power. Coupled with its impressive fuel economy and user-friendly tech features, the 2022 model made for a compelling package.

5.     2023 Model Year

2023 Mazda 6 exterior view.

The 2023 Mazda6 has been a game-changer for Mazda, signaling a dramatic shift in its design and engineering philosophy. Sporting a bold, redesigned exterior and a revamped, luxurious interior, the 2023 Mazda6 is a testament to Mazda’s continued evolution towards premium territory.

A significant development was the introduction of hybrid and electric variants, marking Mazda’s entry into the world of electric mobility. Coupled with Mazda’s innovative Skyactiv technology, the 2023 model strikes a fine balance between exhilarating performance, outstanding fuel efficiency, and eco-friendliness.

 5 Worst Mazda6 Years

1.     2007 Model Year

The 2007 Mazda6 had numerous issues reported by customers, particularly concerning the vehicle’s engine. There were instances of premature engine failure, noisy operation, and timing chain malfunction. In addition, it was also reported to have problems with the body paint and interior accessories.

2.     2003 Model Year

As the first model year of the Mazda6, the 2003 version faced quite a few teething problems. Common complaints included transmission failure and rough shifting. Many owners also reported suspension issues leading to excessive tire wear, and some experienced issues with the cooling system, like a faulty thermostat.

3.     2009 Model Year

The 2009 model year saw frequent complaints about the vehicle’s brakes, with owners citing premature wear and a soft brake pedal. Additionally, there were some reports concerning electrical systems, such as malfunctioning air conditioning systems and problems with interior and exterior lights.

4.     2004 Model Year

Owners of the 2004 Mazda6 reported issues primarily with the engine and transmission. These issues included engines stalling or failing while driving and automatic transmissions not shifting correctly or failing. This year also saw an influx of complaints about issues with the body and paint, such as premature rusting.

5.     2010 Model Year

The 2010 Mazda6 had its fair share of issues, with owners frequently citing problems with the vehicle’s steering. There were reports of power steering loss, which could pose a serious risk while driving. Moreover, there were also complaints regarding the electrical system, such as faulty headlights and malfunctioning door locks.

While the issues listed for these years can be concerning, it’s important to note that not every vehicle from these model years will experience these problems. A well-maintained Mazda6, regardless of the year, can still be a great vehicle. However, if you’re considering a used Mazda6 from these years, be sure to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected before purchase.

Best Alternatives To The Mazda6

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Mazda6, there are several midsize sedans that offer comparable reliability, comfort, and performance. Here are some options:

1.     Honda Accord

A consistent top pick in the midsize sedan category, the Honda Accord offers a comfortable ride, impressive fuel efficiency, and a spacious interior. It also boasts a long-standing reputation for reliability and longevity, and its safety ratings are consistently high.

2.     Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is renowned for its outstanding reliability and resale value. It also provides a comfortable ride and offers a wide range of powertrain options, including hybrid variants. Its interior is high-quality and comes equipped with the latest technology features.

2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid rear badge photo.

3.     Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is a well-rounded midsize sedan that provides a smooth and comfortable ride. Its interior is spacious and upscale, and it comes equipped with many standard features. Additionally, the Sonata has one of the best warranties in the industry.

4.     Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima is another excellent alternative to the Mazda6. It features comfortable seating, and an upscale interior, and provides a smooth, relaxed driving experience. The Altima also offers an optional turbocharged engine for more power and all-wheel drive – a rarity in this class.

5.     Subaru Legacy

The Subaru Legacy stands out in the midsize sedan class with its standard all-wheel drive, which provides extra traction in harsh weather conditions. It offers a comfortable ride, a spacious interior, and a wealth of standard safety features.

Mazda6 Longevity

On average, with regular maintenance and barring any major issues, a Mazda6 should easily last for over 200,000 miles. This is about 10-15 years for most drivers. Many owners have reported reaching this milestone without encountering significant problems.

However, individual experiences can vary based on driving habits, the quality of maintenance, and the conditions in which the car is driven. Regular servicing and promptly addressing any issues can significantly extend the lifespan of the vehicle.

Pros And Cons Of The Mazda6

The Mazda6, like any vehicle, has its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at them in detail:

Driving Mazda 6.


1.     Driving Dynamics

The Mazda6 is known for its sporty handling and engaging drive, which is somewhat of a rarity in the midsize sedan segment. The car’s steering is precise, and it takes corners with confidence.

2.     Interior Quality

Mazda6 offers a high-quality, upscale interior, especially in the higher trims. The design is sleek and modern, and the materials used are soft-touch and durable, which enhances the overall driving experience.

3.     Safety Ratings

The Mazda6 has received high safety ratings from organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The vehicle comes standard with a variety of safety features, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.

4.     Fuel Economy

With its four-cylinder engines, the Mazda6 provides competitive fuel economy in its class, which can lead to significant savings over the life of the vehicle.


1.     Engine Power

While the Mazda6 offers strong driving dynamics, some competitors in the segment offer more powerful engine options. The base four-cylinder engine in the Mazda6 is satisfactory for daily commuting but may lack the punch some drivers desire.

2.     Infotainment System

Some users find the infotainment system in the Mazda6 to be less intuitive compared to rivals. The absence of a touchscreen interface and the reliance on a rotary knob for controls may not be to everyone’s liking.

3.     Rear Seat Space

While the Mazda6 is comfortable overall, rear-seat space is a bit tighter compared to some competitors. This can be a consideration for buyers who regularly carry several passengers.

Biggest Problems With The Mazda6

As for problems, some of the most common issues reported by Mazda6 owners include:

1.     Premature Brake Wear

This is especially common in the 2009 models. Some drivers have reported needing to replace the brake pads and even the rotors more frequently than usual.

Car brake disc.

2.     Engine Issues

Some model years of the Mazda6, especially the 2007 version, have faced notable engine problems. These have included premature engine failure, noisy operation, and issues with the timing chain.

3.     Transmission Problems

Early models like the 2003 and 2004 Mazda6 have seen reports of transmission failures and rough shifting.

High Mileage Problems With The Mazda6

As the Mazda6 reaches higher mileage, some issues can start to become more common:

1.     Worn Suspension Components

Suspension parts can start to wear out, leading to a less comfortable ride and potentially more serious issues like uneven tire wear.

2.     Engine Wear

High-mileage cars can experience engine problems, such as leaks or burns in the oil system. Regular maintenance and oil changes can mitigate these issues.

3.     Exhaust System Issues

The exhaust system can start to deteriorate over time, leading to issues like a loud exhaust or even exhaust leaks.

4.     Interior Wear and Tear

This isn’t a mechanical problem, but the interior of a high-mileage vehicle can start to show signs of wear, including the upholstery, carpets, and controls.

Auto detailing of the interior of the car.

In conclusion, while the Mazda6 has had some issues, it also offers many benefits, including excellent driving dynamics, a high-quality interior, and strong safety ratings. As with any used vehicle, a thorough inspection by a trusted mechanic can help ensure that you are aware of any potential issues before purchasing.

Reliability Of A Used Mazda6

The Mazda6 is generally considered a reliable vehicle. It often ranks well in its class for reliability in various consumer surveys and reports. Of course, as with any used vehicle, the reliability of a specific car will largely depend on its maintenance history, the care taken by previous owners, and the mileage. Regular servicing, prompt repairs, and considerate driving habits can all significantly extend the lifespan of a vehicle.

Certain model years of the Mazda6 have faced more issues than others, as discussed in previous sections, but overall, the Mazda6 tends to be a dependable choice. It’s always a good idea to have a trusted mechanic inspect a used car before purchase to avoid potential issues.

Mazda6 2016 Timing Belt Or Chain

The 2016 Mazda6 comes with a timing chain, not a timing belt. This is beneficial as timing chains typically last longer than timing belts and are designed to last the life of the engine, thus not requiring regular replacement like a timing belt.

Longevity Of A 2016 Mazda6

With regular maintenance and no significant issues, a 2016 Mazda6 should easily last over 200,000 miles, which translates to about 10-15 years for most drivers. Some owners have reported reaching this milestone and beyond without encountering significant problems.

However, it’s important to remember that the lifespan of a vehicle can vary based on various factors, including driving habits, quality of maintenance, and conditions in which the car is driven. Regular servicing and prompt addressing of any issues can significantly extend the lifespan of the vehicle.

Mazda Timing Chains Longevity

In a Mazda vehicle, like most cars with a timing chain, the chain is designed to last the life of the engine, which is typically around 200,000 miles or more. So under normal circumstances, it should not need to be replaced.

However, the longevity of a timing chain can be affected by various factors, such as maintenance habits and driving conditions. For example, if the vehicle’s oil isn’t changed regularly, the timing chain could wear out faster.

If a timing chain does fail, it’s often due to a problem with a related part, such as a tensioner or guide, rather than the chain itself. Signs of a failing timing chain could include a rattling noise from the front of the engine, especially on startup, or trouble starting the vehicle. If these symptoms occur, it’s important to have the vehicle checked by a mechanic promptly, as a timing chain failure can lead to severe engine damage.

What Makes The Mazda6 Stand Out In Terms Of Driving Dynamics?

The Mazda6’s driving dynamics stand out due to its well-tuned suspension, responsive steering, and overall sporty feel. Unlike some competitors in the midsize sedan segment, the Mazda6 offers a more engaged and spirited driving experience.

It’s precise handling around corners and tight steering response create a connection with the road that enthusiasts appreciate. Moreover, the balance between ride comfort and agility offers an appealing compromise for daily commuting and more spirited driving alike.

How Has Mazda Addressed Some Of The Known Issues In Newer Models?

Mazda, recognizing some of the issues in older models, has taken steps to improve newer iterations of the Mazda6. The brand has introduced more robust engine components, improved transmission systems, and enhanced interior materials and technology.

By listening to customer feedback and investing in research and development, Mazda has worked to rectify earlier problems, resulting in a more reliable and satisfying ownership experience for more recent models.

How Does The Mazda6 Compare With Luxury Sedans In Interior Quality?

Although the Mazda6 is positioned in the midsize sedan market and is not considered a luxury vehicle, its interior quality rivals many luxury brands. High-quality materials, ergonomic design, attention to detail, and advanced infotainment features contribute to an upscale feel inside the cabin.

In higher trims especially, the Mazda6 offers amenities often found in luxury vehicles, such as leather upholstery, heated seats, and advanced navigation systems. However, it may still lack some ultra-premium materials and features found in high-end luxury sedans.

What Are Some Considerations For Families When Choosing A Mazda6?

Families considering the Mazda6 should take into account factors such as rear-seat space, safety features, and cargo capacity. While the Mazda6 offers an impressive array of standard safety features, the rear-seat space might be a bit tight for families needing to accommodate child car seats or taller passengers. Additionally, the trunk space should be evaluated to ensure it meets the needs of family outings, grocery trips, and sporting activities.

What Options Are Available For Buyers Interested In A More Eco-Friendly Mazda6?

2021 Mazda 6 exhaust detail.

As of the information available up until 2021, Mazda has been increasingly focused on fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. Although the Mazda6 does not offer a dedicated hybrid or electric variant, the car’s SkyActiv engine technology emphasizes fuel economy and efficiency.

These engines are designed to provide a responsive yet fuel-efficient performance that can appeal to environmentally conscious buyers. Future iterations of the Mazda6 may see the introduction of hybrid or electric options as Mazda continues to evolve its lineup.

How Does The Mazda6’s Infotainment System Compare To Its Competitors?

The Mazda6’s infotainment system offers an array of modern features such as smartphone integration, satellite radio, and navigation. However, some users may find the system less intuitive due to its reliance on a rotary control knob rather than a touchscreen interface.

While this design aligns with Mazda’s driver-focused philosophy, it may not be as user-friendly as the touchscreen systems found in some competitors. It’s a matter of personal preference, and potential buyers should explore the system during a test drive to see if it suits their needs and expectations.

What Steps Can A Potential Buyer Take To Ensure A Used Mazda6 Is A Reliable Purchase?

Buying a used Mazda6 can be a wise investment, but it requires careful consideration. A potential buyer should research the specific model year to be aware of any common issues, request a vehicle history report to check for accidents or significant repairs, and have a trusted mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection.

This inspection can uncover potential hidden issues, assess the overall condition of the vehicle, and provide peace of mind. Asking the seller about maintenance records and how the car was used (e.g., daily commuting, and long-distance travel) can also provide valuable insights into the vehicle’s reliability.


The Mazda6 is a standout in the midsize sedan segment, offering engaging driving dynamics, a quality interior, and an attractive design. While it has faced some challenges in specific model years, overall, it offers a compelling balance of performance, comfort, and value.

Potential buyers, whether considering a new or used Mazda6, have much to gain from this well-rounded vehicle, but should also be aware of its unique characteristics and the considerations outlined in this article. By doing so, they can make an informed decision that aligns with their needs, preferences, and expectations, and enjoy the many rewards that the Mazda6 has to offer.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!