The 2018 Mazda6 Signature 2.5T is hands down the best looking sedan on the market that doesn’t cost you as much as a house. But it does drive and feel as rich for so little. 

I’m currently sitting in a hotel room a few miles away from the Mazda dealer that I used to sell at. After buying a CX-7, then trading it for a Mazdaspeed6 7 months later, I wanted to sell Mazdas to get the word out about how great these cars were. It was also at this time that I decided to start RawAutos.com, and my the first car that was ever sent to me was a Mazdaspeed3.

So it’s fitting that this brings me to the 2018 Mazda6 Signature in Soul Red Crystal with Deep Chestnut Nappa Leather. Since testing it, I’ve been calling the 6 Signature the Audi Killer.

The 2018 Mazda6 Signature is fitted with a 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder making 227 horsepower with 87 octane, or 250 horsepower with 93 octane, and 310 lb-ft of torque, regardless of the fuel used. I’m not sure what the car was filled with when it was dropped off in my driveway, but it wasn’t hard to achieve the 23 city and 31 highway mileage. I averaged between 22 and 26, depending on how hard I was driving the car. I did fill it up with 93, and the power and torque, while not abundant, feel ample and make corners go by quickly and with ease.

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The newly tweaked 6 had an as-tested price of $36,435. For that price, like the Mazda3 5-dr Grand Touring I reviewed recently, Mazda give you the everything but the kitchen sink, pretty much. The Signature package comes fully loaded, so the only option is the exterior color. The interior is always the sexy, chocolate brown, and it comes with every package possible on the 6.

For this class, you’ll find each car comes equipped similarly. This 6 is similarly equipped to the Camry XSE V6 I reviewed recently.

Standard for the Signature trim are: heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, driver memory (2 options not available on the Camry), heated rear outboard seats, adaptive LED headlights, heads-up display, radar-guided cruise control, one-touch up and down on all four windows (something even a $100,000 Cadillac Escalade can’t be optioned with), suede interior trim, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, of course with blind spot monitoring, smart city and full brake support, auto-high beams, auto-brake hold, and traffic sign recognition. The traffic sign system displays speed limits, stop signs, no-entry signs, etc. on the heads-up display as you’re driving around town and on the highway.

And, as a first for a Mazda, the 6 can be equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

Before I get started on kissing the Mazda’s ass, I’m going to get the things I didn’t like out of the way. The Mazda6’s mirrors don’t fold in. While that’s not a big deal, that is a pretty standard feature on most cars in this price range. The navigation system should look nicer and more appealing to use. I like that it has touchscreen abilities, but once you get above 5 mph, you can only use the knob. That’s fine, I’m not bothered by that. But it takes a minute to get used to switching the source. Also, the tires. I’ll talk a bit more about this in a couple paragraphs, but the Falken Ziex ZE001 all-season “performance tire” that’s equipped on the 5 2.5T is anything but. It’s really just a crossover tire that’s thrown on this car to achieve good fuel economy and ride well. It does that job. Though it comes at the cost of performance and fun in the long run. 

The back seat space isn’t very large for such a car. Rear legroom is more than a Camry or Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, but less than the Accord. But it’s the shoulder, head, and hip room where the Mazda falls short compared to its competition. The Camry XSE V6 I tested had a very large and wide backseat area, where as the Mazda6 is just enough. It’s still comfortable in the back, but the roof is a little low for some. But where the Camry has a 15.1-cubic foot trunk, the Mazda’s is 14.7. Not a huge difference, but possibly enough to push you towards another car in the class. The Honda Accord offers 16.7 cubic feet, however. The Mazda’s trunk is at least larger than an Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class at 14.1 and 13.1, respectively.

Handling isn’t a problem for the Mazda, but straight-line speed is. From a dig (you know, 0 mph), Motor Trend and Car and Driver have observed the 6 2.5T at 6.4 seconds to 60. 6-tenths slower than the already one of the slowest sporty variants in the class, the Camry XSE V6. And the stopping distance from 60 is 127 feet, 4 more than the XSE V6. Both are still slower than the much faster Accord 2.0T. Slap a better tire on this bad boy, and I’d like to think it would go faster, stop better, and corner even harder than it already does. I don’t know, maybe I’ll have to lease or buy one and do that test manually. 

Where the Camry XSE is shockingly good to look at in be in, the Mazda6 Signature makes you believe you’re in something $50,000 or more.

That’s the M-O of the Mazda – making you feel like you’re in something more expensive and special. Not that the car isn’t special, because it certainly makes the driver and passenger feel like a million dollars. Especially the rear passengers with two 2.1 amp charge ports in the center armrest instead of under the rear vents.

Mazda designed all of the seats to allow the passenger’s pelvis to sit more upright, keeping the spine in an s-shape, like when you’re walking. This helps a couple of things: one, less fatigue when driving and riding, along with a less-bolstered seating area. Having less bolstering might seem counterproductive, but because you’re more upright in the seat (and I assure you this isn’t uncomfortable at all), you have a more planted feel in the seat. It genuinely works. I drove two hours to the beach in the morning, and two hours back about eight hours later. I spent most of the day in the Mazda6 Signature, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

Look, I’m partial to Mazda for numerous reasons. I love them because of the feeling they offer their owners and drivers. But I also appreciate that they speak well for themselves without making it seem like I’m too biased. While the 6 2.5T isn’t the best in its class, it is better than cars above its class, and that, I think, holds more weight. 

The 2018 Mazda6 Signature handles beautifully, looks amazing, has a German-luxury-like interior, and the poise to make you feel like you’re living your best life. Who needs a Rolls-Royce when Mazda can make you feel like you’re cheating the system? 

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