We all know that auto engineering has become so sophisticated that it's rare for an automaker to offer a car that doesn't perform well.
Sure there have always been lemons out there, but those are increasingly rare. More often than not, once you select the type of car you want, the differences are often aesthetic or environmental.
Buyers that seek midsize sedans may well have one of the more difficult auto search challenges. It's a crowded field and the differences among many models are often subtle at best.
2010 Mazda 6i touring
» Engine: 2.5 L DOHC 16-valve, four-cylinder with variable valve timing
» Transmission: Five-speed automatic (also available in manual)
» Gas mileage: 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway (automatic)
» Manufacturer's suggested retail price: Starting at $21,650
That's why it's important to consider the 2010 Mazda 6i Touring. The difference between this model and others in its class may seem subtle but will mean a lot to many drivers.
Yes, the car is a sporty-looking sedan with nimble handing whether on the highway or on suburban roads.
But there are plenty of cars that offer the same; again, the difference is in the details.
The Mazda 6, formally called the Atenza, is set apart by elegant but athletic lines that include prominent wheel arches and short overhangs and an almost wavelike flow throughout the body. A large-point grille, expanded lower air intakes and vertical-type fog lamps are some of the details that highlight the overall look. Do other cars in this class offer some of these same features? Of course, but it's the combination here -- the details, which not only offer style but improved aerodynamics -- that make the difference.
The impressive exterior is actually not as impressive as the sportlike interior that has plenty of interesting extras.
Much like the exterior, the interior is functional but very sporty with a "floating" column on the dashboard.
Steering wheel controls allow the driver to control audio, air conditioning, the trip computer and more. The driver also has access to an easy-to-read center display. Best of all, the controls are very intuitive so you can program and go with minimal fuss and nary a look at the car's manual.
The car's interior also has a nice mix of colors and surfaces with such touches as grains on plastic surfaces that add hints of sophistication. Soft interior lighting is also welcome.
You don't often think of sedans as fun to drive, but this Mazda really is with plenty of smooth acceleration, nimble steering and responsive braking.
Mazda credits front high-mount double wishbones and rear E-type multilink suspension arrangement are what creates the smooth driving feel and stability.
The car I test drove didn't have a rearview camera, but it was equipped with technology that sensed and signaled when a car or other barrier was in its blind spots. What I liked about it was that it only sounded when a turn signal was engaged.
Yes, like many of its contemporaries, the Mazda 6i Touring is well engineered but it also has a bounty of niceties that buyers won't find in cars in the same class.