With all the talk of crossovers lately, plenty of folks might be almost be forgiven for thinking manufacturers have stopped making traditional cars at all. But while the market for sedans might have shrunk over the past few years, there’s still plenty of life in the segment, and today’s buyers have more great options than ever before.
As far as bullet-proof, affordable transportation goes, Honda’s venerable Accord is as legendary as it gets. The famously sturdy vehicles have proven their dependability in survey after survey, and have continued to impress even as the competition has made great strides in reliability and build quality. And while Mazda has long been praised for its wonderfully tossable MX-5 —the Miata, for those who don’t like alphabet soup — the company has spent the last few years ramping up its family-friendly offerings so it can go toe-to-toe against titans like Honda and Toyota. So let’s see how the latest Honda Accord and Mazda6 stack up.
2017 Honda Accord vs. 2017 Mazda6 Interior Comparison
Given the modest starting price point of both vehicles, buyers will find myriad ways to configure them once at their AutoNation dealer. So if you’re looking for a no-nonsense model with cloth seats and an absence of frills, you’ll be able to find it with either the Honda or Mazda. You’ll also be able to opt for upmarket options like leather seats and more polished dash materials, so the options list make each car a proper choose-your-own-adventure. That said, taller drivers might be happier in the cabin of the Accord, as it feels roomier than the Mazda, which wears its sports-car DNA on its sleeve.
2017 Honda Accord vs. 2017 Mazda6 Exterior Comparison
As far as sheet metal goes, there’s really no comparison here. Like they did with the latest generation MX-5, Mazda’s designers hit it out of the park with the curvaceous, sexy 6, and the lines make it look far more expensive than it is. While we don’t want to suggest there’s anything derivative about its styling, it has a decidedly Italian feel to it, and is clearly the work of designers who were punching above their weight. It might seem like high praise, but the Mazda6 is one of the most beautiful sedans available — at any price point.
In comparison, the Honda — while far from unattractive — is a little underwhelming in the style department, though it will be interesting to see if the next generation incorporates some of the edgy elements we’re currently seeing on the Civic.
2017 Honda Accord vs. 2017 Mazda6 Performance Comparison
Those looking at the spec sheets will undoubtedly find more to like with the Accord. The base engine is a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four cylinder, which is just about a perfect match for the Mazda’s 184-horsepower 2.5-liter mill. But while the four-cylinder is the Mazda’s sole engine option, Honda also offers a V-6, which pumps out 278-horsepower, and turns the mild-mannered family hauler into a surprisingly potent machine off the line.
But while the Mazda might get stomped in a drag race, the engineers have done an admirable job of transferring much of the MX-5’s joyful handling to a four-door platform, and independent tests have been gushing in their praise for how the chassis tackles spirited driving. So while you can get the Accord with more grunt? Those who cherish the driving experience will likely enjoy the journey more in the Mazda.
2017 Honda Accord vs. 2017 Mazda6 Feature Comparison
One feature that’s sure to bring a smile to the face of any enthusiast cross shopping these two vehicles? Both offer a proper six-speed manual — and the Mazda’s is actually set up perfectly for heel-toe shifting. But those looking for goodies and comfort features will find more to like with the Accord.
Currently, the 6 doesn’t offer support for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and the proprietary infotainment system can prove unwieldy. And while the Mazda does come standard with Bluetooth, keyless entry, and push-button start, the Accord also offers options for premium features like heated rear seats, and comes standard with front and rear parking sensors. Another great feature of the Accord? The split-folding rear seats, which make it easy to haul home bulky items.
2017 Honda Accord vs. 2017 Mazda6 Overall Comparison
In independent comparison tests, the Honda and the Mazda have — for at least the last few years — been quite close, and both have received their fair share of praise. That said? For the non-enthusiast, the Honda is the better choice, thanks to its larger list of standard features and general ease of use. But for those who love to drive, the Mazda will likely prove the more lovable of the two, thanks to its fantastic handling and steering feel, even if it’s a little louder and more sparsely equipped. Of course, any final determination should only be made after a test drive. So schedule one at your local AutoNation dealer today.