2017 Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

Shopping for a sedan can be overwhelming, especially since so many of them have so much in common. While many models have some of the same features and even a similar design, you want to consider the car manufacturers with the best reputations. Japanese automakers Mazda and Toyota definitely fit that description, and their mid-sized sedans, the Mazda 6 and the Toyota Camry, should be on your list of models to consider. But which one is the better choice?

2017 Mazda 6 vs Toyota Camry

Design

In some ways, a sedan is a sedan and there really isn't a lot happening on the outside to make a choice between two quality cars easy. Both the Mazda 6 and the Toyota Camry have four doors, seat five adults relatively comfortably, and have a similar body style and design. The Toyota Camry has SEVEN trim styles, which is enough to make any curious buyer's head spin, and offers both manual and automatic transmission options. They also add a few extras to the basic sedan design, including heated, folding side mirrors and tinted glass, to mix it up a bit. The Camry is what it has always been-a reliable, solid vehicle that doesn't take a lot of design chances.

The Mazda 6 isn't on the cutting edge of the sedan design world either, but it does make some efforts to edge away from the pack. You can choose three trim styles in the Mazda6, which makes things a lot simpler. Their base model features 17-inch wheels rather than the standard 16-inch, integrated turn signals into the side mirrors, and chrome exhaust detailing. They're going for a sportier look, and they're achieving it. Upgraded trims offer many more options than you can get on the Camry, including rain sensing wipers and heated seats. We like the simplicity and sportiness of the Mazda 6 over the Toyota Camry.

Features

Small details matter to most car buyers, because the small details either make a driving experience easier or more stressful. The Toyota Camry offers many of the features that have become standard in the industry: remote keyless entry with a remote release for the trunk, power windows and doors, two 12-volt charging plugs for devices of all sorts, and cruise control. They've also added an 8-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, which is a nice upgrade, as well as a day/night rearview mirror. The Camry has a nice set of base features.

The Mazda 6, however, surpasses this package and adds even more extras. In addition to the options in the Camry-power windows/doors, two plugs for charging, remote keyless entry and trunk release, cruise control--they've added push button start, steering wheel controls for both the entertainment system and the cruise control, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift. These types of additions shout luxury to the driver, but they also make functioning much easier and safer. Not having to fumble for a key at the bottom of a purse or take your eyes off of the road to turn down the radio-those luxuries matter in the day-to-day lives of most drivers. They kick Mazda over the top in this category.

Safety

Mazda loads up the 6 with safety features, many of which you'll see on sedans in this class. If you're looking for daytime running lights, front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes and brake assist technology, stability and traction control, hill launch assist, and a rearview camera, the Mazda 6 has everything you need. You'll also have access to additional safety upgrades on other trims, like blind spot monitoring, smart city brake support, crash and lane departure warning system, and some really cool options like traffic sign recognition. Mazda is obviously invested in keeping drivers and passengers safe.

The Toyota Camry's package adds a little extra oomph to the Mazda approach. In addition to the basics, Toyota adds front and rear crumple zones, side impact door beams, whiplash-injury reducing seats, and the Star Safety system package, which includes six safety features like traction control and smart stop technology. Add to this a free maintenance plan with roadside assistance, and Toyota takes the win on the safety front.

Value and Performance

The Mazda 6 and the Toyota Camry both come in with a base price of around $23,000, so cost alone is not going to make the decision easier. The Toyota Camry, as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle II may sway you with its commitment to the environment, but the reality is that the Mazda 6 actually outperforms the Toyota Camry in both emissions and fuel economy. Even with a smaller gas tank, the Mazda 6 offers a longer trip range, offering both cost savings and added convenience to drivers. While the Toyota Camry is not far behind the Mazda, better economy and better emissions makes the Mazda 6 the better option.

Learn More about the Mazda 6

2017 Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

Both the Toyota Camry and the Mazda 6 are reliable, safe, and nicely designed vehicles that have good reputations in the industry. In this case, it's the small details that add up to put the Mazda 6 on top, in design, features and value.

*Any MPG listed is based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only) and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.

** Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) New Car Assessment Program. Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs). For additional information on the 5-Star Safety Ratings program, please visit www.safercar.gov.