This just in: All Mazdas aren't red.
The past five or six years, at least in the press fleet that supplies vehicles for journalists to review and in advertising materials, most Mazdas have come in one color, the extra-cost, and admittedly stunning Soul Red Metallic (like the CX-5 Signature I reviewed last month). Don't get me wrong---it's an eye-popper and it goes very 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 ($300). And the effect is tremendous. This is a color that can look like a three-shades darker silver in some settings, but go 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, Hundai Sonata, 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. 227 horsepower, 310 pounds per foot of torque. Zero to 60 miles an hour happens in 6.4 seconds. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with sport mode. That holds down the EPA fuel economy average to 23 city/31 highway. More gears would help.
The 2020 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. 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 effect of the Machine Gray Metallic paint and the Parchment interior was that of a car costing at least $50,000.
But---the 2020 Mazda 6 Signature's base price is $35,300. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the standard equipment is rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, a 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 $920 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2020 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.