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2018 Mazda 6 Signature

The Mazda 6 has always been one of my favorite family sedans. For 2018, it gets subtle styling changes up front, but the distinctive, flowing body shape remains.

Our review car is a top-of-the-line Signature with lots of standard premium features including 19-inch wheels and full LED headlights. All Mazda 6's are front-wheel drive only.

The biggest changes are inside, with more emphasis on luxury and comfort. Real wood trim and a stitched suede-like material cover much of the dash and doors. Nappa leather seats are heated and cooled up front, the coolng function being among the best I've sampled.

While retaining traditional metal bezels, sports car-like gauges are virtual. Bose audio is standard on the Signature. The automatic is a six-speed. A six-speed manual is available on base cars.

Row two is roomy even with front seats slid all the way back. Unfolding the armrest reveals controls for row two seat heating. You won't find a much bigger trunk in any sedan, and row two seat backs fold, too.

Mazda squeezes 227 horsepower out of a 2.5 liter turbocharged four. Base cars get 187 horsepower. The 6 handles very well for a large sedan, and cockpit road noise is much quieter now than last year's car.

So, for the 2018 Mazda 6 Signature, I say thumbs up to great styling, great value, and a roomy interior; thumbs down to no all-wheel-drive option.

I averaged about 27 miles per gallon. The as-reviewed sticker is $36,140.

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