2014 Mazda6 Sedan Test Drive
All-new Sedan spices up Mid-size segment
Since mid-size sedans are the core market of the automotive industry due to their not too big, not too small, but just right packaging and comfortable seating for five passengers - they are deemed more practical than a sports car but not overly bulky when compared to large SUVs. The 2014 Mazda6 sedan is just such a vehicle. Other factors to consider is that pricing is within the means and reach of the majority of value-minded consumers and the fuel economy ratings fall within an environmentally sound range. The 2014 Mazda6 has something else going for it – it tends to stir one’s emotions and rises above the mostly boring, vanilla flavor of the majority of its competitors.
The 2014 Mazda6 is the second production vehicle to feature the full suite of SKYACTIVE technologies. This third generation Mazda6 sedan showcases even more innovative technology from Mazda’s engineers. Features such as i-ELOOP, the world’s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to power all the vehicle’s electrical systems, along with the SKYACTIVE-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine and the front collision-detecting Smart City Brake Support system make their first appearance in North America.
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, developed solely by Mazda, is an umbrella term for a host of performance-oriented, fuel-saving engine, transmission, body and chassis componentry, which was introduced in the 2012 Mazda3 compact car, and fully-incorporated into the 2013 CX-5 compact SUV. The redesigned 2014 Mazda6 is the next vehicle in the Mazda’s lineup to feature the idealistic technology that truly delivers real-world results.
Powering the 2014 Mazda6 sedan is a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine that makes 184 horses at 5,700 rpm along with 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. This race-car-high compression ratio gasoline engine (13:1 ) serves up eight percent more horsepower and almost 11 percent more torque than the MZR 2.5-liter gasoline engine that it replaces. The engine is standard fare for all three trim levels – Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The 2.5-liter engine may be coupled to a choice of transmissions: the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy also enjoys improved numbers, with the entry-level Sport trim equipped with a SKYACTIV-MT transmission as standard delivering an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city / and 37 mpg highway, representing a 19 percent mpg increase in city driving and a 23 percent mpg increase on the highway. When paired with the optional SKYACTIV-Drive automatic, city mpg increases by nearly 24 percent to 26 mpg and highway figures increase by nearly 27 percent to a segment-best 38 mpg. The EPA-rated combined fuel economy is 30 mpg. Touring and Grand Touring models feature the SKYACTIV-Drive transmission as standard equipment. Slated for availability in the second half of 2013, the SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine will make Mazda the only Japanese manufacturer to offer a clean diesel technology option in the North American marketplace. The SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter is 10 percent lighter than the current MZR 2.2-liter diesel engine sold in other global markets.
The 2014 Mazda6 bows with the KODO “Soul of Motion” design language, first expressed on the SHINARI Concept vehicle, matching nearly every sinuous sheet metal curve of its conceptual twin the TAKERI Concept. The new Mazda6 displays an elongated cab-rearward stance, muscular fenders and gracefully sweeping character lines, for an elegant and dynamic profile. Up front is the new familial five-point chrome “signature wing,” front grille that makes for a commanding presence without being overwhelming. Further exuding a fluid design form, the chrome strikes beyond the grille continue into the eagle-eye shaped headlamps. Nestled within its black horizontal lines and flanked by piano black top-line trim is Mazda’s badge prominently displayed. The lower front fascia evokes a strong chin with accompanying fog lights (when so equipped) ensconced within deep-set eyelids.
Beginning with the substantial hood and continuing along the pronounced front fenders is a bold character crease, curving and twisting itself across the A-pillar as another sweeping stroke of the metal emerges to proceed toward the rear. A third crease subtly surfaces to readjust the muscular tone into the stylized tail lamps before blending into the “signature wing”-matching chrome piece of the deck lid. The 2014 Mazda6 is the sleekest of the mid-size sedan segment, with a drag coefficient as low as 0.26 (Grand Touring only).
The 2014 Mazda6 sits on a 111.4-inch long wheelbase, with an overall length of 191.5 inches. The lean, sculptured body rolls on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires, (standard for Sport models). Touring and Grand Touring models move up to 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels shod with P225/45R19 Dunlop® SP Sport 5000 all-season rubber.
Moving to the inside, the fluidity of the exterior flows seamlessly into the interior’s styling. The cabin features driver-oriented intuitive functions, matched with well-placed operational controls. Repetitive function controls provide consumers with a variety of options based on their operational preferences, – voice control, touch screen, button pushing or knob turning, such as the available all-new commander-switch feature situated within the center console.
The dash is contoured and uncluttered, though still striking, with warm textures and high-quality surfaces in the form of soft-touch surfaces, such as cloth or leather features along the door panels. A dark satin finish appears on knobs and switches, making controls easier to locate as well as adding a distinctive design element. The instrument cluster offers meter lighting that makes the gauges legible in bright daylight as well as minimizing eye strain in darkness. The three-spoke racing-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel will appeal to enthusiasts while offering standard functional features such as a tilt-and-telescopic adjustable column with steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and paddle shifters on models equipped with automatic transmissions.
Seating is in the form of supportive, sport-bolstered front bucket seats with the spacious rear bench available in three fabrics, each with two color options. A 60/40-split fold-down feature is standard for rear seats. Six- or eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seats are standard on all but the Sport model, which is equipped with a six-way manual adjustable driver’s seat.
Connectivity is not forgotten in the 2014 Mazda6 either, with an all-new infotainment system. A 5.8-inch in-dash touch screen commands the center console stack featuring intuitive phone, audio and navigation functions (when so equipped). Streamlined steering wheel controls enable a more intuitive operation of the infotainment system.
Other available features include Bluetooth® phone and audio connectivity as well as iPod® audio playback in which iPod information can be accessed via the touch screen. USB and auxiliary jack connection ports are standard and located within the center console storage bin. An AM/FM/CD/MP3/-compatible head unit paired with a six-speaker sound system is standard for Sport and Touring models while Grand Touring models feature an 11-speaker Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound System with AudioPilot® as standard equipment. With a smartphone connected, Short Message Service messages may be received and shown on the touch screen monitor. The system can then articulate the messages as well as allowing users to send replies using fixed phrases. A new speech recognition system allows users to repeat and shuffle audio tracks as well as search and select folders. HD Radio™ Technology and Pandora® are both new audio options for the 2014 Mazda6.
An in-dash TomTom technology-based navigation system is available for Touring, and is standard on Grand Touring models. The navigation module communicates with the head unit via a USB interface utilizing an SD card for storing map data. The SD card feature enables consumers to input customized route maps and regularly update mapping content via any personal computer.
Standard safety features for all 2014 Mazda6 models include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), whiplash-reducing front headrests, power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, daytime running lights, Dynamic Stability Control, a Traction Control System, hill launch assist, a fold-away brake pedal assembly, a trunk entrapment release system, a tire pressure monitoring system, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. i Touring models feature a Blind Spot Monitoring system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard equipment with the Smart City Brake Support system available as an option. i Grand Touring models feature BSM and SCBS systems as standard equipment as well as RCTA and an Adaptive Front-lighting System. Forward Obstruction Warning, Lane Departure Warning System and High Beam Control are available as part of an optional package.
My test 2014 Mazda6 sedan came in I Grand Touring trim, finished outside in Soul Red metallic and inside in Almond-toned leather. The base sticker read $ 29,495 while options and delivery charges bumped the final tally to $31,490.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Mazda6 I Grand Touring sedan is a highly desirable vehicle across the board. The 2.5-liter SLYACTIVE-G engine delivers more than satisfying levels of acceleration – especially for a four-cylinder engine, while the 6-speed automatic transmission changes gears up and down with silky smoothness, whether in fully automatic mode or utilizing the instantly responsive paddle shifters.
Handling attributes are stellar, with the ride quality rock solid with minimal body roll. The seating is both comfortable and supportive within the spacious cabin. Piloting the i-Grand Touring 2014 Mazda6 borders on the experience one would normally only expect from a sport sedan.
Adding to the attractiveness of purchase, all Mazda vehicles come with the Mazda Certified Roadside Assistance Program. In addition, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty includes a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty, which covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring Sedan
|Price as Tested:||$31,490.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with VVT and Direct Injection|
|Horsepower (bhp):||184 @ 5,700 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||185 @ 3,250 rpm|
|Transmission:||Six-speed automatic with electronic lockup torque converter.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front wheel drive.|
Front â€“ Independent MacPherson strut type, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear â€“ independent Multi-link type, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted diagonal hydraulic four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS.|
|Tires:||Dunlop SP Sport 5000 P225/45 R19 92W mounted on 5-â€œVâ€ (rotary design) spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||191.5 inches w/o license plate holder.|
|Curb Weight:||3,232 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||16.4 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||26 mpg city / 38 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested|