2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Mazda 6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The TLX V6’s optional 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.

The TLX offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Compared to metal, the TLX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda 6 has a metal gas tank.

Both the TLX and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Mazda 6:

TLX

Mazda 6

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Mazda 6:

TLX

Mazda 6

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

256 G’s

Hip Force

276 lbs.

437 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

229

356

Spine Acceleration

57 G’s

64 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

249

271

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

36 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The TLX 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.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mazda covers the 6. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Mazda 6 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Engine

The TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. produces 19 more horsepower (206 vs. 187) than the Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl. The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 40 more horsepower (290 vs. 250) than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Acura TLX 4-cyl. is faster than the Mazda 6 4-cyl.:

TLX

6

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.9 sec

20.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

7.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

4.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

89 MPH

As tested in Car and Driver the Acura TLX V6 is faster than the Mazda 6 2.5 turbo 4-cyl.:

TLX

6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

16 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.2 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX SH-AWD’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 TLX 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.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 6.

The TLX offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the TLX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 6:

TLX

6

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.9 inches

The TLX stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

TLX

Mazda 6

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 6 (245/40R19 vs. 225/55R17).

The TLX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The TLX handles at .83 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Signature pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The TLX V6 SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Mazda 6 Touring (26.7 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the TLX has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Mazda 6 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the TLX V6 SH-AWD is quieter than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring:

TLX

6

At idle

39 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

74 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

The TLX has .4 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear hip room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 6.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the TLX offers cargo security. The Mazda 6’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the TLX. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The TLX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mazda 6 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The TLX has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Mazda 6 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 55% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

The TLX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the TLX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Mazda 6 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The TLX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature.

When the TLX 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 TLX and the Mazda 6 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the TLX 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TLX is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 6 because typical repairs cost less on the TLX than the Mazda 6, including $33 less for front brake pads, $42 less for a fuel pump and $133 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Mazda 6 isn't recommended.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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