Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years

The Mazda 6 has always been a favorite among those seeking an elegant yet practical vehicle due to its sleek exterior and luxurious interior.

The best & Worst Mazda 6 years stand out for their innovation and quality, while others may fall short in comparison.

From cutting-edge technology upgrades to potential mechanical issues that plagued specific releases on navigating the world of Mazda 6 ownership. 

Mazda 6 Generations

The Mazda 6 has been a popular choice for drivers seeking an enjoyable and reliable midsize sedan. When it comes to the best years of the Mazda 6, many enthusiasts and experts point to some model years.

This version received high praise for its agile handling, fuel efficiency, and upscale interior. The inclusion of advanced safety features also sets it apart from its competitors, making it a standout choice for many consumers.

Here’s an extensive summary of the Mazda 6 models spanning from 2003 to 2021.

1st generation (GG1)2003-2008
2nd generation (GH1/GH2)2009-2013
3rd generation (GJ1/GL)2014-2021

Mazda 6 Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When evaluating and classifying the top and bottom Mazda 6 model years, we take into account a wide range of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Yearly maintenance expenses
  • Reliability and satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Owner ratings from Edmunds
  • JD Power and Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
  • Vehicle ratings from VehicleHistory and

The graph to come combines information from the aforementioned sources, offering a thorough summary of annual performance evaluations for the Mazda 6.

Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years

Following is a table that classifies the Mazda 6 models into the best, neutral, and worst Mazda 6 years, grounded on an aggregate of data.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (GG1)20082006
2nd generation (GH1/GH2)20132011
3rd generation (GJ1/GL)2017

Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years 1st Generation (2003-2008)

The first generation of the Mazda 6, produced from 2003 to 2008, saw a mix of highs and lows in terms of performance and reliability. 

Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years

The Best Year for Mazda 6: 2008

The 2008 Mazda 6 emerged as a standout in its class thanks to its enhanced engine options.

The standard 2.3-liter MZR L3 four-cylinder engine was a game-changer, delivering an impressive 156 horsepower and offers drivers the choice of a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

This powertrain combination provided a delightful balance of performance and efficiency, making the Mazda 6 an appealing choice for both daily commuting and spirited driving on open roads.

The Neutral Years: 2006, 2007

During the neutral years of 2006 and 2007, the Mazda 6 continued to uphold its reputation for sporty performance and sleek design.

The introduction of the Mazda speed variant offered a turbocharged engine delivering exhilarating power while still maintaining the car’s practicality as a daily driver. 

Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years

With its impressive handling and dynamic driving experience, the Mazda 6 remained a top contender in the midsize sedan market.

The interior received subtle upgrades, with improved materials and enhanced comfort features, making it a more luxurious and inviting space for both driver and passengers.

The Worst Years: 2003, 2004, 2005

2003, 2004, 2005 Mazda 6 years to avoid and faced a significant setback with the throttle position sensor, which created a ripple effect of frustration and reliability concerns among drivers.

This issue resulted in sudden power loss, posing a significant safety risk on the road. Despite efforts to rectify the problem, many owners were left deeply disappointed and wary of the vehicle’s performance.

The powertrain issues experienced by the 2004 and 2005 Mazda 6 models have left many owners frustrated and disheartened.

The repeated complaints regarding automatic transmission failures and engine troubles, particularly the leaking oil from the timing chain, have overshadowed what could have been successful years for Mazda.

Owners have reported costly repairs and ongoing maintenance, causing a lack of reliability in these particular models.

Despite its sleek design and decent performance capabilities, the persistent powertrain setbacks have significantly marred the overall driving experience for many Mazda 6 owners during these years.

Best & Worst Years for Mazda 6 2nd Generation (2009-2013)

The Mazda 6’s second generation, which was manufactured between 2009 and 2013, experienced both successes and setbacks.

The Best Years: 2013

The 2013 Mazda 6 truly shone bright with its Skyactiv-G engine, setting a high standard for performance and efficiency in the midsize sedan category.

The ability to achieve up to 21 city and 30 highway mpg was nothing short of impressive for a non-hybrid vehicle, seamlessly combining power and fuel economy. 

Drivers were able to experience the exhilaration of a spirited drive while still benefiting from fewer visits to the gas station.

The smooth six-speed AWTF-80 SC automatic option provides a seamless and effortless driving experience, making daily commutes and long journeys a pleasure.

Its range of trim levels offers something for every type of driver. The Sport trim level provided a well-equipped and comfortable driving experience, while the Grand Touring took luxury to the next level with its premium features.

The TomTom-based navigation system was a game-changer, ensuring that drivers could easily navigate wherever they needed to go without hassle.

Coupled with the Bose sound system, this made for an unparalleled audio and navigation experience.

The Neutral Years: 2011, 2012

During the Neutral Years of 2011 and 2012, Mazda 6 owners faced challenges with headlight longevity and specific electrical components.

While a notable number of drivers reported these issues, it’s essential to recognize that they were relatively minor compared to the more severe problems witnessed in other model years.

Despite these concerns, many Mazda 6 enthusiasts found the driving experience and overall performance to be satisfactory during this period.

mazda 6 years to avoid

The company’s responsiveness to owner concerns demonstrates a commitment to enhancing their vehicles and prioritising customer satisfaction.

The resilience and dedication of Mazda 6 owners during these years should be acknowledged, as they continued to appreciate their cars despite encountering some technical setbacks.

The Worst Years: 2009, 2010

The 2009 and 2010 mazda6 years to avoid and enthusiasts as the models experienced significant performance and efficiency issues.

Despite having engine and transmission configurations similar to their later counterparts, these particular years fell short of delivering the expected improvements.

Owners reported frequent instances of sluggish acceleration, reduced fuel economy, and an overall lackluster driving experience compared to other Mazda 6 models.

One possible explanation for this decline in performance could be attributed to manufacturing or quality control issues during these specific production cycles.

It’s not uncommon for car manufacturers to encounter unforeseen challenges when introducing new design elements or making adjustments to existing components. 

Best & Worst Years for Mazda 6 3rd Generation (2014-2021)

The 3rd generation Mazda 6, spanning from 2014 to 2021, has seen both remarkable highs and disappointing lows.

The Best Mazda 6 Years: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

The years 2017 and 2018 marked an exciting period for the Mazda 6, especially with the introduction of the turbocharged 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G PY-VPTS engine in 2018.

This powerhouse provided a significant boost to performance, delivering a robust 250 horsepower and an impressive 310 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel (227 horsepower on regular).

The addition of this potent engine elevated the driving experience, giving enthusiasts a taste of actual sports sedan performance combined with Mazda’s renowned handling and refinement.

Best & Worst Mazda 6 Years

In 2019 and 2020, the Mazda 6 received a significant update, including improved interior materials, technology enhancements, and superior driving dynamics. This refresh solidified its position as a leader in the midsize car segment.

Moving into 2021, the Mazda 6 continued to impress with its sleek design and powerful performance. With added safety features and driver-assistance technology becoming standard across all trim levels.

The outstanding fuel efficiency also made it an attractive option for environmentally conscious drivers.

The Neutral Years: 2016

The year 2016 marked a pivotal moment for the Mazda 6, offering drivers the perfect balance of performance and efficiency.

The naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine, paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, provided an engaging driving experience without compromising on fuel economy.

With its refreshed exterior and enhanced interior, the Mazda 6 exuded a sense of modern sophistication, appealing to those seeking both style and substance in their daily commute.

One of the standout features of the 2016 Mazda 6 was its improved sound insulation, which significantly reduced road and wind noise within the cabin.

This attention to detail elevated the overall driving experience, creating a serene environment for occupants to enjoy.

The Worst Years: 2014, 2015

The recalls in 2014 and 2015 for the Mazda 6 brought to light some significant concerns that impacted the driving experience.

The failure of the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to alert drivers of low pressure was a serious safety issue, potentially leading to dangerous driving conditions.

The possibility of parking brake actuators failing due to water ingress highlighted a design flaw that needed urgent attention.

These recalls not only tarnished Mazda’s reputation but also raised questions about their quality control processes at the time.

Customers were understandably frustrated by these issues, as they expected reliable and safe vehicles from a renowned manufacturer like Mazda.

Mazda 6 Average Resale Values:

The Mazda 6 has long been known for its exceptional driving dynamics, stylish design, and reliability. When it comes to resale value, the Mazda 6 holds up impressively well compared to its competitors in the midsize sedan segment.

Despite being underrated in terms of brand recognition, the Mazda 6 offers excellent value for buyers looking for a refined and enjoyable driving experience.

Explore the financial side of owning a Mazda 6 by examining our comprehensive chart, which displays the average resale values of the model across different periods.


It has seen both the best & worst Mazda 6 years in its production history, from the robust performance and sleek design of the best years to the lacklustre features and reliability issues of the worst year.

There is a wide range of experiences for potential buyers to consider. Thorough research and consideration of individual needs are essential in making an informed decision.

By carefully evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each model year, consumers can confidently choose a Mazda 6 that aligns with their priorities and preferences.