I've owned over two dozen cars in my life, and driven many more. The Mazda6 is easily the most surprising of all. The way this car drives puts it a notch or two above the Camcords of the world. With a roomy cabin and attractive styling, I don't know why it doesn't outsell them all.
Beauty is entirely subjective, but I think the Mazda 6 is a beautiful car. Particularly considering it's a mainstream family sedan, the flowing lines, the arc of the greenhouse and man, those front fenders. It works for me.
I think there's something to the zoom-zoom catchphrase. The 6 has direct, accurate steering, with great turn-in, a well damped ride and little body roll. It has the demeanor of a European sedan.
Materials & workmanship
I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent paint and precise panel fits (better than the 2010 Honda Accord I previously owned). The doors close with a dull, Teutonic thunk. Inside, fit and finish is very good with generally good materials.
Rear seat room & comfort
I am six feet tall with a long torso and legs, so I usually have the seat pretty far back. With the front seat in a comfortable position, the rear seats have plenty of leg and head room for adults, even more so for my kids.
Discounts & incentives
At this point (March 2013), the 2013 Mazda 6 is a steal because the 2014 redesigned model is already in showrooms and dealers are heavily discounting these great cars. I have to smile every time I remember what I paid for this fantastic mid-size car.
I got the 6 speed manual transmission paired with the 2.5 4-cylinder. Mazda has geared the transmission with very close ratios, to the point that even the overdrive 6th gear leaves the engine spinning at close to 3,000 rpm at 70mph. It is geared like a sports car. I list this as a "con", although I personally love the set up. I just want potential purchasers to know that they'll be shifting a lot (which is a pleasure with the transmission) and that fuel economy suffers a little due to the sporting orientation of the powertrain. Thankfully, the engine is smooth and revvy paired with the best manual transmission I've ever driven. So, maybe not exactly a "con", but something to point out.
I can't really complain because I got the base model, but most cars today, even economy cars, come with Bluetooth. A glaring omission, and the only thing I miss.