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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The S60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the S60 and Mazda 6 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Mazda 6’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The S60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The S60 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S60’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the S60 and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The S60 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 6’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The S60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mazda 6’s (12 vs. 5 years).
Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 6.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Mazda 6’s standard 100-amp alternator and largest (Turbo) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.
The S60 has more powerful engines than the Mazda 6:
S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
S60 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.
S60 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid
Mazda 6 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the S60 T5 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda 6 2.5 Turbo (24 city/36 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).
The S60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The Mazda 6 must run its internal combustion engine to move.
Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S60’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The S60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
The Volvo S60 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Mazda 6.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo S60, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 6.
For better stopping power the S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 6:
The S60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Mazda 6 are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the Mazda 6 (235/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).
The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Sport’s standard 55 series tires. The S60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Mazda 6 Sport.
The S60 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Mazda 6’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the Mazda 6 (113.1 inches vs. 111.4 inches).
The S60 is 5.3 inches shorter than the Mazda 6, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The S60 has .1 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room and .1 inches more rear headroom than the Mazda 6.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
With its sedan body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S60 offers cargo security. The Mazda 6’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the S60. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the S60’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature, the S60 has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The power windows standard on both the S60 and the Mazda 6 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S60 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mazda 6 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The S60’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Mazda 6 Sport’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The S60 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 6 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.
When the S60 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Mazda 6’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Both the S60 and the Mazda 6 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S60 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The S60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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