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2014 Mazda 6

Bottom line: The 2014 Mazda 6, of which the Grand Touring version is the top model, is an ordinary-looking sedan gifted with extraordinary technology. It belongs at the top of the list for anyone shopping for a high-quality, reliable, safe and enjoyable family sedan.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and handling are excellent. Acceleration is good, meaning that you can competently change lanes on high-speed expressways.

Head-turning quotient: Blah. It gets trounced by models such as the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. The tragedy here is for the would-be buyer. Someone impressed solely by looks will miss out on a very good thing.

Body style/layout: The 2014 Mazda 6 is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive midsize family sedan of unitized construction with four side doors and a traditional notchback trunk. It is available in three iterations — Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

Important product note: Mazda is working on a Skyactiv-D version of its Skyactiv-equipped vehicles. That’s “D” as in diesel-powered. Think mileage considerably above the gasoline-powered Mazda 6’s Environmental Protection Agency-rated 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

Engine/transmissions: The 2014 Mazda 6 comes standard with a 2.5-liter, 16-valve, gasoline direct-injection in-line four-cylinder engine with variable valve lift and timing. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually. A traditional six-speed gearbox is available.

Capacities: Seats for five people. Cargo capacity is 14.8 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.4 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade works fine.

Mileage: Real-world mileage in mostly highway driving on Virginia’s Interstate 66 during non-rush hours was 36 miles per gallon.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear); four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; a pre-collision safety system; electronic stability and traction control; xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps; cornering/self-leveling headlamps; and side and head air bags.

Price: The 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring with six-speed automatic transmission starts at $29,495 with a dealer’s invoice price of $27,849. Price as tested is $31,340 including $1,050 in options (rear parking-proximity monitor and remote engine start) and a $795 factory-to-dealer transportation charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $29,361.

— Warren Brown