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The Mazda 6 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Mazda 6 and the Sonata Hybrid 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Sonata Hybrid is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2020.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Mazda 6’s reliability 18 points higher than the Sonata Hybrid.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda second in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 6th.
The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder produces 58 more horsepower (250 vs. 192) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 271) than the Sonata Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.
An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
The Mazda 6 has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Sonata Hybrid (16.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Sonata Hybrid:
Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature
For better traction, the Mazda 6 has larger tires than the Sonata Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The Mazda 6 Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17).
The Mazda 6 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata Hybrid Blue’s standard 65 series tires. The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Sport has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Sonata Hybrid Blue. The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited.
The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Mazda 6’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Sonata Hybrid’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
The Mazda 6 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Mazda 6’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata Hybrid’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
The Mazda 6’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 Sonata Hybrid’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Mazda 6’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonata Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Mazda 6 and the Sonata Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata Hybrid.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 7 years. The Sonata Hybrid has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
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