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2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition. Photo: Mazda

This week I'm driving the 2021 Mazda6 Carbon edition, the most fun I've had in a midsize sedan in a while.

The big picture: Sedans are passé these days, as most buyers are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers. Even so, Mazda is by far the most fun-to-drive car in its segment — engaging and athletic yet also quiet and refined.

  • The Carbon Edition is a new appearance package, featuring an exclusive Polymetal Gray paint job, coupled with a striking red leather interior, that makes a great-looking car even better.

Yes, but: Unlike most midsize sedans, it doesn't offer a hybrid option.

  • Instead there are two engine choices: the 187-horsepower standard four-cylinder, or a turbocharged option for up to 250 horsepower.
  • The base engine gets an EPA-rated 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while the turbo gets 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway.

Inside, the Mazda6 feels upscale, especially in the $33,745 Carbon Edition I drove.

  • Every Mazda 6 now has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with wireless connectivity in the more expensive versions.
  • Still, I'm not a fan of the controls in Mazda's entertainment system, or the layers of commands to merely change radio stations.
  • It's been my ongoing gripe about Mazdas, which I otherwise love.

Standard driver assistance features include forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert.

  • Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist are optional, while rear braking assistance and a driver-attention monitor are only available on the $37,000 Signature model.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios