This just in: All Mazdas are not red.
The past five or six years, most Mazdas – at least in the press fleet that supplies vehicles for journalists to review and in advertising materials – are one color: the extra-cost and admittedly stunning Soul Red Metallic.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s an eye-popper and it goes well with promoting Mazda’s sportier-than-the-pack driver’s cars.
But in the past two model years, Mazda has been moving upscale, becoming a more premium brand – and a more sophisticated color palette can’t hurt.
Our latest Mazda tester, the 2020 Mazda 6 Signature, came with optional Machine Gray Metallic paint. And the effect is tremendous. This is a color that can look like a three-shades darker silver in some settings, yet also appear deeper, darker and more elegant depending on the sky.
It’s frankly perfect for the Signature, which is the top-of-the-line trim level for arguably the most grown-up and mature vehicle the company sells – the Mazda 6 sedan. And it sets it apart from the direct competition (Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima) with a blend of performance and tailored style.
Under the hood is the 2.5-liter turbocharged Mazda SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine with 227 horsepower and 310 pounds per foot of torque. The car goes from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with sport mode. That holds down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy average to 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway. More gears would help.
The Mazda 6 Signature also has G-Vectoring Control Plus, 19-inch wheels, an independent front and rear suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars and four-wheel disc brakes.
All that adds up to a quick car, with quick reflexes. It’s a family sedan that loves winding country roads. There’s Miata DNA here, and it makes the Mazda 6 our choice among family sedans.
Opting for the Signature trim gets you a Nappa leather interior that, in our tester’s Parchment color, looks spectacular. The overall appearance of the Machine Gray Metallic paint and the Parchment interior was that of a car costing at least $50,000.
However, the 2020 Mazda 6 Signature’s base price is $35,300.
Among the standard equipment is rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, navigation and radar cruise control with stop-and-go.
The car is loaded – so much so that the only extra-cost options were the aforementioned Machine Gray Metallic paint ($300) and a carpeted cargo mat for the trunk ($100). So, with the $920 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the Mazda 6 Signature is $36,620.
Even if you were looking to spend $50,000 on a car, I could make a very strong case for buying the Mazda 6 Signature in Machine Gray Metallic with the Parchment interior and banking the $13,380 difference. It’s better looking,
better performing and better handling than some $50K cars out there – and your neighbors, just looking at it, will think you’ve got money and taste.
Which, with the 2020 Mazda 6 Signature in the driveway and $13,380 in the bank, you will.
Mike Hagerty, vice president of membership for Western Automotive Journalists (waj.org) has been writing about cars since 1997. Read more of his reviews on his website
(MikeHagertyCars.com) and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/mikehagertycars) and Facebook (facebook.com/mikehagertywritesaboutcars).