The 2014 Mazda 6 is largely unchanged from its introduction as an all-new model in 2013. A 2.2-liter diesel engine will become available in winter 2014...more
Mazda has always been a company that likes to think outside of the box, but only recently has this imaginative point of view paid off in commercial success. The first-generation Mazda 6 caused a stir because its compact, international-size package posed an interesting alternative to mid-size sedans from Europe and Japan that were growing longer and heavier. The longer, more spacious second-generation Mazda 6 enhanced the model's reputation for dynamic goodness, but neither the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine nor the 3.0-liter V-6 delivered the kind of fuel efficiency that became important in the aftermath of a sizable spike in gasoline prices.
Even so, the Mazda 6 has always represented an intriguing combination of European-style personality and Japanese-style quality, so it gets on the shopping list of many sedan buyers. With the 2014 Mazda 6 that debuted last year, this car finally might find the audience it deserves. It has the zoom-zoom spirit that has been Mazda's hallmark for some time, but even more important is the car's new-found sophistication and refinement, and now it is just as composed on the road as its rivals in the market of mid-size sedans.
The 2014 Mazda 6 is largely unchanged from the 2013 car, which had been completely re-engineered. This front-wheel-drive sedan continues to stand apart from its rivals thanks to its fun-to-drive personality, but it is the Mazda 6's refinement on the highway that will make buyers choose pick it out of a crowded field of competitors. It's now a better match with its rivals in terms of practical things like passenger space and fuel-efficiency, not to mention quietness and comfort.
A new chassis with a sizable amount of lightweight, high-strength steel is the basic building block here, yet the secret to the 6's highway composure is a long wheelbase that delivers a European-style measure of sure-footedness on the road. Just as important, there's more room within the cabin, especially in the back seat. The 2014 Mazda 6 still drives like a small, handy car, yet it has much the same interior spaciousness as a Honda Accord.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is the only choice here, but its output of 184 hp at 5700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm is enough motivation for this 3200-pound car to make you forget all about a V-6. Indeed, the Mazda 6's EPA rating reminds you why powerful but thirsty V-6s are out of fashion in mid-size sedans, as the car is rated at 25/37 mpg city/highway when the six-speed manual transmission is in place and 26/38 mpg when the six-speed automatic is selected.
The Mazda 6 ranked second in a 2013 comparison test of mid-size sedans by Automobile Magazine, just behind the Honda Accord. The car's lively personality helped it to win votes, yet we also appreciated its impressive complement of convenience and safety features, some unavailable elsewhere in this class.
- Ford Fusion
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Sonata
- Volkswagen Passat