By on August 8, 2013

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Exterior

Whenever I talk to car shoppers, the Mazda6 comes up. No, it’s not because people are confused if it’s a “Mazda 6″ or a “Mazda6″ or a “Mazda Mazda6.” Although, it does top the Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography for the strangest name on the market. (I prefer to call it a Mazda6.) The reason Mazda’s mid-sized sedan comes up, is because it seems to be a car often shopped, but rarely purchased. In June, it scored 14th in sales for the segment. Surprised? I was. Even the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger (9th and 12th place) outsold it by a wide margin. The low sales numbers piqued my interest enough that I hit Mazda up for a cherry red model to see why.

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Exterior

2014 brings Mazda’s new corporate grille to the Mazda6, and I have to say, it’s a beautiful schnoz. I was a little worried the gaping maw would be too large in person, (in pictures it looks enormous) but up-close-and-personal it has to be the second most attractive front end after the Fusion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but during the week I was unable to find anyone who disagreed with me. So my opinion reigns supreme. I’m worried however, the proportions look perfect on the Mazda6, so what will the Mazda3 be like? Why am I worried? Because if you park the Mazda6 next to a CX-9 or CX-5, the crossovers look more cartoonish than if they park alone. Just like your girlfriend seems pretty until you park her next to Megan Fox. Although the 2014 model looks longer than the outgoing Mazda6, overall length has been cut by about two inches. Adding “visual length” as well as much-needed rear seat room, the wheelbase has been stretched by two inches to 111.4.

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Mazda’s nose may be a notch below the Ford in my style-guide, but out back it’s a different story. I find the Fusion’s rump to be a little awkward. It’s almost as if Ford ran out of time and “hurried” the back end of their family hauler. Not so with the Mazda6 which has a finished look from the “raised eyebrow” tail lamps to the twin chrome exhausts. Thanks to the best butt in the business, I call the Ford v. Mazda beauty contest a tie. How about the Koreans? I never warmed to the Sonata, but the Optima is aggressive and attractive, just not as emotional as the Mazda6. Thanks to the low sales volume, the Mazda is also a step outside the ordinary, something that attracts me.

2014 Maxda Mazda6 Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Interior
The British would have called the old Mazda6′s interior “cheap and cheerful” with shapes that failed to offend, but plastics that were far from premium. For 2014, Mazda increased the plastic budget and coated the interior with soft injection moulded material. Bucking the latest trend, Mazda skipped the stitching treatment on the dash, although you will find sewing machine tracks on the doors. ZoomZoom also nixed the faux-tree in favor of a black-cherry (or just black) plastic trim panel that bisects the tall dashboard. Aside from the infotainment binnacle that seems a bit too large for the screen, this is the most harmonious and simple dashboard in this segment. I hate to beat on the old Mazda6, but “simple and harmonious” is not a phrase I would have used.

Front seat comfort was excellent for my average six-foot frame, regardless of the trim level. In an interesting move, Mazda chose to make the base manual seat adjust in all the same ways as the optional powered seats. The inclusion of manual lumbar support on base seats is a nice touch as well, something the competition often skips in “stripper” models. In keeping with Mazda’s self-proclaimed sporty image, the front seats feature aggressive (for a Camcord segment car) front seat bolsters and are therefore quite different from the Barcaloungers in the Camry, Accord and Altima. The bolsters aren’t as pronounced as a C63 AMG, but the “like a glove” fit was a huge selling point for me. On the down side, seats like these are less comfortable for larger folks as they provide precious little muffin top accommodation.

Rear seat legroom is up thanks to the increased wheelbase and is now competitive with the CamFusCord. Because the way that car companies measure leg room varies it’s hard to go by the published numbers. According to the numbers the Mazda6 delivers the same rear legroom as the meat of the competition but skimps on front legroom. In reality the Mazda6 felt roomier than its old cousin the Ford Fusion while the Camry still feels larger somehow. Some of that is thanks to the Camry’s generous rear headroom, something that sexy sedan profiles take a toll on. Thankfully Mazda didn’t cut the rear doors as low as Ford did making it easier to get in and out of the Mazda. With more room on the inside and a shorter overall car, it’s no surprise that the looser in this battle is the trunk. At 14.8 cubic feet the 2014 model looses two cubes compared to last year shifting it from one of the larger trunks in the segment to among the smallest.

2014 Maxda Mazda6 Interior, Infotainment Control Knob, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Infotainment & Gadgets

Mazda’s limited budget is readily apparent when you look at the Infotainment system. I’m not talking about the base 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system that you will only find in the most basic trim Mazda6 with the manual transmission, that one is lovely, I’m talking about the 5.8-inch touchscreen. Simply adding the automatic transmission bundles the touchscreen infotainment system on the base model and it’s standard on all other models meaning you can’t get away from it. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I love me some touchscreen infotainment, but Mazda’s leaves me scratching my head.

First off, the screen is small. With the Accord boasting two ginormous LCDs in the dash, 5.8-inches is nothing to brag about. The size of the screen’s binnacle makes me hopeful a mid-cycle refresh will being some 8-inch touch-love, but that could be a pipe dream. The software’s graphics are suitably slick and the interface is easy to navigate via the touchscreen or the Audi MMI style knob in the center console. Alas the lord giveth and he taketh away. The software is sluggish at best, some of the control screens are half-baked and the integration of TomTom navigation is clunky. I’m not a huge fan of Chrysler’s uConnect with Garmin software, but at least that system has the screen real estate allowing you to read the awkward menus and stab what you need, not so in the Mazda. When using the control dial it’s difficult to distinguish between the option that’s selected and the cursor position since they are the same color and nearly the same shape.

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Infotainment, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Plug in any music device and you’ll encounter my other beef, and something Mazda forum posters have been complaining about as well. The media interface is incredibly slow. I n c r e d i b l y  s l o w. So slow that at first I assumed the head unit had frozen so I plugged, unplugged, plugged, unplugged to no avail. Then I gave up and listened to the radio. (Gasp!) A full 4 minutes later, the system switched to the iDevice and started to play my tunes. (Yes, I tested it with USB sticks and it did the same thing). If you think this is a momentary aberration, think again. The system has to fully index your entire USB/Android/iDevice music library before it starts playing. It does this whenever you unplug/plug or when you stop/start the car. Every. Single. Time. The larger your library, the longer it takes. Users on the Mazda forum reported a 10+ minute delay when playing larger devices while I averaged just over three minutes. Want tunes on a short journey? I hope you enjoy AM Gold. Mazda hasn’t confirmed a software update, but I pray one happens soon. This was so aggravating it colors my whole opinion of the interface, if Mazda fixed this one thing I could forgive the small screen and quirky menu system.

On the gadget front, Mazda lags behind Ford but does offers most of the gadgetry you’ll find in the competition and a few things you won’t. Our tester had the optional adaptive radar cruise with collision warning, xenon headlamps, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic detection, rain sensing wipers and keyless entry/go. Also available as part of the $2090 Technology Package on iGrand Touring models is lane departure warning and an auto high beam system bundled with Mazda’s i-ELoop micro hybrid system. Notably absent on the Mazda6 are lane departure prevention and self-parking, features starting to trickle down into this segment.

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Engine, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

SkyActiv is Mazda’s fuel saving “brand,” but it’s more than just a set of engine tweaks. Mazda’s fuel sipping umbrella includes weight savings, aerodynamics, optional energy regeneration and a slick new transmission. Lets start with weight savings. At 3,232lbs (automatic transmission) the 2014 is  about three hundred pounds lighter than the old model, 200lbs lighter than a Fusion, and a hair heavier than a Camry or Optima. Under the hood you’ll find the latest 2.5L Mazda four-cylinder engine with direct injection and variable valve timing. Mazda uses a 13:1 compression ratio in the American bound models to allow it to run safely on regular unleaded, so this isn’t exactly the same engine in other markets. Power output is 185 HP and 184 lb-ft which stacks up well against the competition especially when you look at the torque curve which is lower and broader than most of the competition. While Ford offers no less than four engine options in the Fusion, the 2.5L is the only engine available until the SkyActiv diesel appears.

Something that has confused reporters in the past is Mazda’s new transmission. Some describe it as a hybrid between a dual clutch and a traditional automatic, some have even suggested that it can “disable” the torque converter. In addition to the 6-speed manual transmission you can opt for the SkyActiv branded traditional automatic transaxle. Traditional? What about the fancy clutches? Here’s what Mazda did.

Lock-up torque converters are nothing new, having been introduced in 1949, but in our age of efficiency companies are using them more aggressively. By locking the impeller and turbine (input and output) of the torque converter, you increase efficiency by cutting most of the impelling losses in the torque converter (there are still some because it’s still spinning, but it’s greatly reduced). Old transmissions only did this in their final gear and relatively infrequently. Modern automatics like GM/Ford’s 6-speed transaxle spend about half their time in lock-up and will engage the locking “clutch” in most gears. Mazda’s new slushbox is programmed with an aggressive lockup agenda and will lock in every gear. In addition, it spends more time in lockup (80% or more) than a competitive unit on the same driving cycle. The result is a more connected 1:1 relationship between the engine and wheels than you find in a CamFusCord.

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Exterior-002

Drive

The aggressive lockup is noticeable out on the road, especially in hill driving where the Mazda6 feels more connected to the drivetrain than the competition. “Connected” is a word that repeatedly came to mind when driving the Mazda6 in the real world and during an event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where Mazda had the guys to let a writer’s group flog a sedan on the track. The Zoom-Zoom brand has long been known for an emphasis on handling, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the Mazda6 is one of the most enjoyable front wheel drive cars on the road, but it also proved amusing on the track. No, not as amusing as the BMW X1 that was on hand, but the Mazda delivered surprising agility, well controlled body motions, little roll and just a hint of brake fade after 6 laps. For a CamFusCord competitor, there is no higher praise. Ultimate grip is easily the equal of the new Ford Fusion, the only other entry in this large segment with any handling prowess at all. Another feather in the Mazda6′s cap is steering with the vaguest hint of feeling, a quality that would have been laughable a decade ago, but in our age of electric power steering even the suggestion of feedback is welcome.

I was a bit less impressed with the Mazda6′s manual transmission, yes it has possibly the best shift feel in the segment, but is that saying much? The clutch pedal feel is superior to the new Accord as well, but with only 184HP on tap and 3,200lbs to motivate the automatic does a better job on the average commute. Boo! Hiss! Another manual hater?!? Not at all, I love the fact that Mazda builds most trim levsls of the Mazda6 with a manual. The problem is the slushbox is moderately engaging and gets 1MPG better mileage (26/38 for the auto). It’s easy to see why the average shopper would let the car row the gears. At the stop-light races, the 2014 model feels stronger than the outgoing model despite the modest bump in power, this is thanks to the improved torque curve, weight reduction and that SkyActiv transmission. Proving that CVTs are the performance king (seriously) the four-cylinder Accord spanks the ZoomZoom to 60 MPH with a 6.83 second score to the Mazda6′s 7.4 but both of those are faster than the Fusion’s base or 1.6L Ecoboost options by over half a tick.

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The i-ELoop micro hybrid system is part of a $2,090 option pack on the top trim of the Mazda6. This is similar to BMW’s active alternator, in that the system is only capable of recovering a portion of the kinetic energy and provides no motive assistance. When braking, a variable voltage alternator charges a large capacitor, the system uses this to power vehicle systems. When accelerating, the system disengages the alternator to reduce the load and runs the accessories on the reserved charge. Mazda claims the system is good for an extra 2MPG on the highway bumping the mid-sized sedan to an impressive 40MPG. I was unable to get my hands on one for testing, but I easily beat the 30 MPG combined score despite driving it more aggressively during the week than the competition.

So if the Mazda6 handles well, delivers decent fuel economy and is priced and featured in line with the competition, why are the sales so slow? After a week with the 2014 incarnation I’m no closer to answering this automotive enigma. Many have conjectured the ZoomZoom brand lacks the advertising resources to push their wares, that is certainly true when you compare their marketing budget to Toyota, but then again Kia and Hyundai have raised themselves from obscurity on budgets that started small. Some posit the lack of a stout V6 option is to blame, but 90% of the cars in this segment are four-bangers, so toss that logic out the window. Even with the most aggravating infotainment system sold in America, the Mazda6′s other attributes compensate enough to put it near the top of my list, just under the gadget loaded, 2.0L Ecoboosted Fusion and the four-cylinder Accord. Why doesn’t the Mazda6 sell? Will the diesel engine turn the Mazda6 into an oil-burning Passat killer? These are questions we may never have answered. What do our readers have to say?

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • One of the best looking cars in the segment.
  • Excellent fuel economy.
  • Turbo diesel dreams.

Quit it

  • Aggravating infotainment system.
  • No turbocharged four and no V6 option for “performance” shoppers.

Mazda provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.75 Seconds

0-60: 7.4 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.786 Seconds @ 88.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 30.5 MPG over 534 miles

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163 Comments on “Review: 2014 Mazda6 (With Video)...”


  • avatar

    This is an interesting car, IMHO, but since diesel has been cheaper than regular for most of this year, I’d much prefer the diesel – cheaper gas, better mpg, and more torque.

    Edit: It looks like all the options I’d really like to have are on the $29k “auto only”. Come on Mazda! Also: Floor Mats are extra? REALLY?

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Robstar,
      I’m in PA/NJ and diesel is always more than regular gas. Lately, the spread is 15%. Or are you comparing diesel prices to premium gas?

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      On a national basis, this relationship is inverse to what you describe. Diesel is priced right at, or slightly above, the price of 93 octane gasoline.

      Here in The Capital of the Free World, diesel is often the most expensive fuel of all.

      Given this car’s apparent mpg using gasoline, it’s hard to imagine that the diesel is going to be a cost-effective alternative, even though it undoubtedly will get better mileage.

      Remember, as mpg increase, the value of each incremental mpg improvement goes down. Truth be told — and the U.S. Congress to the contrary — the marginal benefits of getting better than 30 mpg combined are extremely small unless you’re a travelling salesman.

      • 0 avatar

        I was under the impression diesels got 10-20% better mpg, no ?

        If diesel is cheaper (for me — most of my driving is to work & back = 60-75 miles) off the bat & better mpg, it’s a win/win. It’s not always cheaper here but has been cheaper for at least a couple of months.

        What I don’t know is 1) how fun diesel torque is and 2) how a mazda6 itself drives.

        I’ve really been looking for something since my dd (neon/32mp mixed) died a few years ago @ 210k. Prius is great and would bore me to death (really want something with stick). I know 2-3 people with vw diesels that just fell apart earlier than the neon. The Mazda diesel seems to be a good fit for what I want. My other options is just settling for some econobox (again) that gets 35mpg+ on the highway & a stick.

        As for mileage: I can tell you there is a significant difference when I get on my motorcycle & do 46-48mpg of regular vs 22-23mpg premium in my sports car. I do trips on the bike that I really couldn’t fit into my budget in something that gets over just 20mpg. At 12k/year a 30 vs a 45 is 133 galons of gas. My average this year is just over $4.00 even/g and the year is only half over! I tend to keep my cars 10-20 years at least, so with no increase so 10 years would be > $5k in savings. Obviously I need to check maint cost differences….and I really hope the diesel 6 doesn’t have those 19″ wheels. Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      Here in some parts of Texas diesel is more expensive than premium gas

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Best looking FWD midsize sedan, hands down. It looks like it can be RWD from the profile view. It also isn’t just a sports car face on a midsize sedan that likes carbs a little too much. It looks flat out athletic… almost as if what a Z4 would look like if it were a sedan. Mazda 6 is the girl you see in an catalog that sells clothes to girls that rock climb, ride bikes, and do yoga… Fusion is Lane Bryant.

    As always, great review, Alex.

    • 0 avatar

      Love your analogy.

      The fusion has too many lines that don’t do all that much–the hood, for example. And it’s trying hard to look mean. The grill looks like the open mouth of a fish. Don’t get me wrong, by today’s standards, the Fusion is better than most in looks. But the Mazda6 is a couple of notches up from the Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Wouldn’t say “hand down.”

      The Optima in SX/SXL trim has a front end that can compete and the better rear and side/greenhouse (which is why the Optima has won just about every major design award).

      The weak point of the 6 is the roofline/greenhouse which is too rounded, giving it a “soft” look.

      But no doubt, the 6 is the class of the segment when it comes to driving enjoyment.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The rising window sill at the C pillar kills the Optima for me.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          A-MEN!! (Not to mention that the gaudy, Pep-Boys-inspired, blingalicious rain-gutters do nothing to improve the situation! Did Sajeev ever do a Vellum Venom on the Optima? Be interested in his opinion!)

          Can’t remember which came first, the Soul or Nissan’s Juke, but it’s obvious that the design teams of both vehicles are descendants of the designers who penned the AMC Gremlin, so when Kia said “let’s see how offbeat (if not WEIRD) we can make a mid-size,” these folks fit in just fine!

          That said, however, the rest of the Optima can stand the test of time, unlike its “H”-badged sister, the Sonata! In general, the Kia side is a little less “out-there,” to my eyes, than the Hyundai equivalents.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I don’t think the Mazda6 is very comfortable inside unless you’re taller than average. As long as the car isn’t moving, I feel more at home in the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The Accord’s no slouch in the handling department, but the switch to MacStruts took some crispness away. It’ll hang with you, but you have to acclimate yourself to the car to get the best from it, unlike previous Accords with DBW up-front. (The electric power-steering is good enough, but I’d expect Honda to tweak it a shade for the refresh in 2016, as it’s a touch numb in certain situations.)

      That said, it looks as though this 6 is (along with the Fusion) at the next handling rung above the Accord (and likely Altima, and after also going to struts in the front).

      My one major complaint is that the center stack is a copy of the last-gen Camry–hope Mazda can drop a larger screen in there, and clean the details up a bit.

      My only other qualm is the lack of a V6, but the Accord’s similar-sized 4-banger moves out smartly enough, and the Skyactiv-D ought to be more than enough motivation for this car.

  • avatar
    arun

    Of all the japanese makes, I love Mazda the most but some of the points being ballyhooed about in this article leave me stumped

    I have 2011 VW CC that does everything this car does and apparently better…and I am talking about a 3yr old car here..

    – Minimal but very functional and smooth and fast infotainment touchscreen unit
    – Mileage that easily gets to 30mpg if driven according to speed limits ( I almost always drive 10 over, but when I am on the phone talking, I tend to stick to the speed limit)
    – fold over rear seats with more cargo room that most cars its size
    – 0-60 in 6.1 seconds (easily 5+ seconds if driven in DSG mode)

    and yes the in car infotainment system plays the ipod the moment I plug it in. Every single time. In fact I thought that was the way it would and should work in every single car until I read about the indexing above….

    So what am I missing here?

    • 0 avatar
      vwbias

      Price, a new CC’s MSRP is over $31K, a base Mazda6 is just over 20K, even with options it’s not nearly as expensive of a car as the CC. Your car SHOULD be better, it costs substantially more.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Yep. Price it is. I was looking at used cars and compacts but after test driving the 6 on a whim I needed it. I can deal with the audio system which is still better than the used cars I was looking at, the styling beats every compact in my opinion, I get 35+MPG and I got the thing for 20k flat. Unless/until the first major repair, I’m verrrry happy with this car.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      I have a 6 year old car and don’t have any problems with my infotainment system. Radio, CD player and heck even the cassette player work great. ;)

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    The 2014 Mazda6 offers a manual in Sport and Touring versions only. The Grand Touring is only available with an automatic. Unfortunately the Touring comes with leatherette seats standard, which I made a trip to the dealer to feel. In a word, ‘fake’. In two words, ‘Yuk’. If you ask me, I would rather the Touring come with cloth standard, but oh well. It’s a beautiful car (co-worker has one in GT trim). IMO, the styling is just a notch below Infinity and way better than the Camcords. My next car will be a Mazda6 Sport, manual, unless the rumors are true and a new Mazdaspeed6 is coming out. Guess I have a few more years to wait to confirm that.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      I would agree on the fake leather. The same problem will carry over to the new Mazda3 3s – its either fake leather or you need to buy the GT as there is no cloth option.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      That’s why if you can live with cloth seats, the i Sport is a better buy. You also won’t have to deal with more expensive tires and bending the 19 inch rims. Save the difference and spend on an aftermarket head unit with navigation and larger screen.

      I think the 2.5L engine also probably has some tuning potential in it. It’s a matter of time until someone makes an ECU tune to switch the engine to run on premium with higher compression ratio. That alone could give you over 200HP. There is also an aftermarket intake that nets you some 5-8hp according to tests I have seen. So with very simple tunes and bolt-on, you could get some ~210HP output from the base 2.5L engine without even trying hard.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I agree that the lower trim Mazda6 is a better deal. I’d buy aftermarket leather seat covers before I’d spend significantly more for the upper trim level. The lower trim levels come with most of the good stuff, so why pay thousands more?

        Three problems I noticed with the Mazda6 were 1) the acceleration felt weak compared to the competition, the interior felt smaller due to windshield angle and low roofline/high beltline, and 3) I would have preferred slightly slower steering for more relaxed highway driving. I suspect that the engine/transmission software was tuned to ace the EPA fuel economy tests, but at the cost of somewhat sluggish response to accelerator pedal inputs.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Have you are anyone else in these comments tried aftermarket leather like katskinz or classic soft trim? I’m curious how well done it is. Probably depends mostly on the skill of the installer.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        This. About the infotainment system, yes it’s bad that Mazda’s system sucks. But it’s terrific they’re just about the only maker in the segment that hasn’t deliberately entwined their system with the dash in a way that’s calculated to cut off the buyer’s aftermarket head unit options. Based on the looks of it, looks like any of a bunch of very capable double-DIN units would drop right in there.

  • avatar

    Attractive looking exterior. Not sold on the front end though. I like the Fusion more, but they are gutless.

    If Ford had balls they’d make the 3.5-L Ecoboost optional on the Fusion and the Mazda 6.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Ford & Mazda divorced for good so that’s nixe on the sixe.

      I award the Mazda 6 the winner of the “LEAST kill me now due to the sheer monotony & boredom of my cubicle-Ikea-American Eagle life” relatively affordable front wheel drive sedan trophy.

      In all seriousness, this is what a roomy BMW sedan would look like, in BMW’s good days, if BMW made front wheel drive sedans – or reliable ones.

      Less is way more on that dash, the gauge cluster is pure Teutonic (as any MX-5 driver knows) and the exterior has the sexiest legs in the segment.

      Who couldn’t love the white/bone leather with the black seatbacks and dash color combo, either? If you don’t love it, you’re sick…sick I tell you.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        White/Bone seats in a car = big mistake. They will be so dirty in a few years you’ll be sick. I know because the wife’s Volvo has cream colored seats. Lovely… once upon a time. Mazda should have made the bolsters white and left the inserts (where your body actually touches all the time) black for even more contrast. However the red stitching is a very nice touch.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          The two tone interior is a major turnoff to me. I really hate light colored interiors and this one would push me away, even if the rest of the car appealed to me. Just make it black or at least dark grey, and I’m fine with it.

      • 0 avatar

        You could get that color combo in a Cadena or a Motown Chrysler 300.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        A darker gray would be far better than the bone/almond that they offer. I do not want a light color in a car, and I grow tired of all-black.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Alex – you say you are worried about what the new 3 will look like with the grill. Now it has been previewed what do you think? Also what did you think of the sides compared to the Fusion? I find the Fusion to be very boring on the side profile in addition to the rear.

    I had read on a Mazda forum that the Japanese market 6 has a bigger touchscreen so there is hope. As this seems about the only solid criticism of the car.

    I would expect a higher powered version at some point when the CX9 and the Mazdaspeed 3 both get a more powerful skyactive engine.

  • avatar
    JD23

    I am disappoint that this car doesn’t sell more. I went with my brother on a few test drives when he was car shopping last month and the 6 was one of his top contenders. Although he ultimately decided to go with the V6 Accord Coupe, the 6 was my favorite; it handles well, has excellent exterior and interior design, and generally feels more upscale than its price would indicate. I had an ’04 Mazda6 that was a very pleasant car for the money, but the new one is in a totally different league. It’s difficult to imagine that people buying cars like the Avenger and Legacy would make the same decision if they test drove the 6 with an open mind.

    • 0 avatar
      igve2shtz

      Agreed. I have a 06 Speed6 which is fantastic. Perfectly sized, plently of sport. It bothers me that when people want a mid-sized sedan, they only go with the standard Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans. It all comes down to brand recognition. Hyundai/Kia are making huge strides. I am hoping that Mazdas follow suit. I guess to some people, Mazda is still looked at as a cheap brand like Hyundai/Kia of 10 years ago. Car people understand Mazda, but there are not enough of us out there to change the perception.

      Regarding the Avenger outselling the Mazda6 – I like to think of it as the Avenger is primarily fleet sales, and the uneducated car buyer who values a “dope” sounding stereo over reliability or engineering excellence.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Yet people don’t bitch and moan about Mazda prices.

        “$30K for a loaded KIA Optima? LOLZ THOSE KOREANS ARE NUTS!”

        As far as the Avenger: The car is crap, because it came from a crap era. With a budget of about $10 dollars, I’m shocked they even bothered to originally offer it with AWD and a V-6.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Mazda has had higher MSRPs for a while now, which is why, along with most auto buyers not caring about things like handling and steering feel, it has been a niche player sales-wise.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Avenger has available Pentastar V6 and cheap price.

        Can’t wait for new Chrysler D class with Pentastar V6 and ZF 9 speed.

        Mazda’s only only hope is if Fiat buys them.

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      I can tell you why it doesnt sell that great….. It’s got a weak engine that leaves it a few steps behind as a sporty type sedan.

      Ex. I have a Buick Regal GS that granted is 38k fully loaded but after GM’s inevitable rebates and discounts can easily be had for 34-35ish. A comparable loaded 6 will easily run you 34 large. My GS is fully loaded, equally good looking, has less torque steer, has 270 hp, 290 ft-lbs tq, and oh yeah can be had with a clutch.

      Dont get me wrong the 6 is nice looking but it kinda fails in it’s mission.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The base (and only) engine is hardly weak when compared to competitor vehicles. The GS has a great engine, but it does start much more expensive and you are comparing a heavily reduced GS price with an MSRP – at least do apples to apples and compare incentives on each. Secondly the 6 tops out (if you exclude the iEloop package which is not available on the GS) at $31K. Still somewhat cheaper than $34K.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        Just wondering, but why would the Regal have less torque steer? Also, how is the steering feel and handling compared to that of the 6?

        • 0 avatar
          ttiguy

          HiPerStrut which almost mitigates the fact that it’s FWD. Not completely though. The 2014′s AWD is a better solution but no manual

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Don`t get me wrong I think the Regal GS is a good car but having just checked it is $36.8K (including a $1K Buick rebate). Of course there are other discounts to be had. This includes navigation. leather and sunroof.
            The equivalent 6 is $30.5K (the optional tech pack has equipment the regal doesn`t have, so not included). That is a large difference in price, as it should be since the Regal is a faster sports oriented car. Many other I4 top spec models from Accord, Camry, Passat etc are also around $30K so Mazda’s pricing is competitive.

            The Regal is faster, but also has a 19/27 EPA rating and the need for premium gas.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    As far as I can figure from the review, the Fusion is the better buy.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It depends what you want. If you don`t need a higher powered version like 90% of people then the 6 seems better on fuel economy, driving dynamics and presumably reliability. I am not so bothered about info systems and Fords has had more than enough criticism.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Ford Ecoboost engines have probably the worst in class real world fuel economy, highest in class complexity, and very ordinary performance. 1.6L is slower than Honda’s 2.4L or even Mazda’s 2.5L Skyactiv engine while the 2.0L can’t compete with the 3.5L V6 engines despite Ford claiming otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        240 horsepower from a turbo 4 cylinder with modern technology is rather lackluster. Then again, Ford really should use larger 4 cylinders if they want to get V6-level power…

        A 2.5 turbo 4 with all the direct injection sauce and other goodies should make around 260 horsepower without any problems, GM managed 260 from their 2.0 engine.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I had the chance to drive a Mazda6 GT about a month ago and I was impressed. Here are my thoughts:

    - The GT has great seats that feel every bit as good as the new 3 series sports seats.
    - Some of the interior plastics are a little shiny. Since the rest of the cabin is quite good the shiny stuff looks out of place.
    - The chassis is really good. To me, in urban traffic, it felt more alive than the new F30 3 series.
    - The engine delivers enough power. Coming from a 335 I did not feel as if lack of power was a deal breaker.
    - The infotainment display is a letdown. It looks like a bank ATM from the 90s.
    - There is plenty of interior room front and back.
    - The car looks great in metallic red or black
    - The light color leather is a welcome break from dark Mazda interiors of the past.

    If they update the infotainment with a better unit next year then this would be on the top of my list as my next daily driver.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    Did you type this review on iphone? Painful to read with all the grammatical and spelling errors.

  • avatar
    Hezz

    “why are the sales so slow?” This is the most attractive mainstream midsize sedan to me right now, but I know why we won’t be buying one. We recently bought a low mileage 2009 Mazda 6 for my wife to use as a commuter car, and I won’t be able to talk her into another Mazda I suspect.
    The interior is wearing out before our eyes, the e-brake button has fallen out, and the dash to firewall gasket is emerging from the the dash like something from a Japanese horror movie.
    There is exactly one keyed lock on the car, so we have to unlock the door to open the trunk. I also have to run back and forth to open her door for her when we go out.
    To replace the headlamp bulb that just went out I have to pull the fender liner, we have to add a quart of oil every 1500 miles or so, and the car is on its second set of driveshafts and clutch slave cylinder at 35K miles.

    On a positive note, it handles well and gets acceptable fuel economy. On a negative note, we are looking forward to it wearing out so we can buy a G37 6MT like we should have in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Well, that’s not good, especially for a 2009.

      Mazda’s sales have always been flat, so it’s not just the 6 which is sluggish. I blame the reputation of the rotary engine.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Anecdotes are like assholes; everyone has one, but only the aggregated data means anything.

        Consumer Reports, which has the largest aggregated data pool of any source (outside the actual manufacturers, but they don’t exactly publish their component failure rates for public consumption), not only paints your anecdote as an exception, but now lists Mazda as the most reliable make of automobile (tied with Subaru, post Toyota-ization), with the exception of Lexus.

        Our experience owning 3 in the last 8 years is consistent with CR’s data.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      And now you know why the guy was selling it with such low mileage, don’t you? Sounds like the original owner beat it up and didn’t do a lick of maintenance to the thing while he had it.

      FYI most cars these days have exactly one keyed lock on them.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Anecdotes are mere noise (of the dust in the wind variety) whether they’re good or bad ones, in terms of determining statistically credible measures of reliability; the aggregated data means anything. Honda is widely deemed a reliable make despite the many anecdotal reports of grenading automatic transmissions.

      Yet I don’t doubt your claim, nor would I feel like repeat buying a make of vehicle that was less than reasonably reliable, regardless of its other attributes.

      Consumer Reports, which has the largest aggregated data pool of any source (outside the actual manufacturers, but they don’t exactly publish their component failure rates for public consumption), not only paints your anecdote as an exception, but now lists Mazda as the most reliable make of automobile (tied with Subaru, post Toyota-ization), with the exception of Lexus.

      Our experience owning 3 in the last 8 years is consistent with CR’s data.

      • 0 avatar
        Hezz

        That is good to hear, maybe we’ll feel better about this car if it gets past these rough spots. The firewall gasket issue appears to be fairly common, the oil consumption seems to be rare. I did look at CR and TrueDelta before I bought the 6 and was reassured by most of what I read.

        We got a good price on it because it was a lease return with a stick, and nobody but us wants a stick anymore. To spread a little disappointment around, the last car we looked at before we bought the 6 was a V6 Accord with the 6 speed, and it repeatedly popped out of third gear on the test drive. I came home and found a TSB and lots of forum discussions about that issue, but the salesman refused to admit something was wrong with the car while we were at the dealership. Sometimes you don’t feel bad at all walking away.

        • 0 avatar
          PartsUnknown

          Just curious, why do you have to open the door to open the trunk? The key fob has a remote trunk opener. I have a 2013 Mazda 6 (last of the previous gen) and have been thus far very impressed with the car’s overall quality and driving dynamics. Hope I have better luck than you!

          • 0 avatar
            Hezz

            No keyless entry, or Bluetooth, or cruise control, or AUX in, or alloy wheels, etc…
            (i Sport Value is the trim)

            These are things we went without to find a nice sedan with a stick. le sigh

          • 0 avatar
            PartsUnknown

            Ah I see. I have the base Sport with 6 speed manual. It has remote entry, cruise and aux port. Still pretty basic though.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Assuming that your car is the 4-banger, It should have the same powertrain roughly as our ’10 3 hatch. That car has been nothing but rock-solid reliable for it’s first 40k so far. It sounds like either you or the previous owner beat the crap out of your car in particular. That said, something never sat right with me about the second-gen 6, while the first and third both very much appeal to me.

      I know some people are hard on cars, My father and friend both have early Xterras with similar mileages; my friend’s is in great condition while my father’s is falling apart just because he abuses everything he owns.

      And the one keyed lock thing is normal nowadays; they expect you to use the trunk popper on the key fob.

  • avatar
    StaysCrunchy

    Nice writeup, and I agree that it is a damn fine looking car. The wife and I have a 2010 Mazda 6, and I realize that it’s a completely different car, but we’ve been quite happy with it. I think that when the time comes to replace it, this new one will be high on our list.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      Same here. As I mentioned above to Hezz, I am really enjoying my 2013 6 Sport manual. The new one will be my next car when I replace the ’13 in a few years.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Any observations on NVH? Relative to the class?

    Have yet to drive the new 6, but agree with the review and others that it looks great. I’d say it looks better than any 4-door under $30k.

    Good to read about the seats. And I don’t need a ginormous infotainment screen, but let’s hope they fix the iPod problem.

    One small thing I don’t like is that you’re forced into 19″ wheels, on anything but the base Sport trim. Some may prefer the 19′s, but I’d rather have something not so low profile. And not as expensive to replace (or buy a set of winter tires for, if you don’t also have a dedicated set of wheels for winter). Not a deal breaker, but something to consider.

    Looking at this, the Accord, and hopefully the next-gen Legacy (sometime next year). And also want to take a look at the new Mazda3 2.5L.

    • 0 avatar

      I bought a Touring model with the exact same color combination two weeks ago. The 19″ wheels add a lot of tire noise on the freeway, and the ride is stiffer than the competition. You feel all the little expansion joints on the freeway. There are better highway cruisers in the class, but the nvh is an acceptable tradeoff for the looks. When these tires wear out, I’ll find a quieter set. There’s also a good deal of wind noise, but the tires overwhelm it on the freeway.

      There’s not great incentives on the car, but I got mine for $23,700, $600 below invoice. I also threw on a warranty for piece of mind in a new year model, so out the door was quite a bit higher.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I agree 100%, and 17″ wheels would offer a much better ride experience not just on the 6, but many vehicles, given the fantastic tire choices available today, for those of us who live amongst and drive upon less than idyllic road surfaces.

        Low profile tires suck for daily drivers, unless your daily commute consists of quick blasts back and forth on roads in Nevada, Arizona, or maybe up and down the Pacific Coast Highway.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        I bought an automatic sport 3 months ago. The tires aren’t loud in mine but the wind noise above 60mph is pretty loud. I HATE how slow the audio system is, but with my phone set to auto start pandora upon connecting to the car’s bluetooth, music is painless and I don’t even have to take it out of my pocket.

        I typically drive pretty boringly and with AC blaring down here in Texas I’ve still been getting 35.6MPG. That’s on roughly 85% highway commute though. When I drive like a maniac for the other 15% It’ll bring the average down to ~32MPG.

        One last note: DO NOT VACCUM the shiny shift gate plastic! Mine left tiny scratches like you’d expect, but I cannot for the life of me get them off. It looks like a wolverine attacked the shift gate. :( Anyone have any cleaning product advice for that?

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I test drove a 6 right when they came out and I found it to have a good bit of A-pillar wind noise. I haven’t been in anything else recent in the class, but I found it to be about even with our ’10 3. That said, it didn’t bother me one bit, and I found it to be prett luxurious. my DD switches between an S2000 and a beater 92 Rodeo, so 99% of new cars on the road have less wind noise and better NVH ratings than I’m used to.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      How are you “forced” into larger wheels? It’s not like they’re welded to the car. I guarantee that if you make the purchase contingent on a swap for the base wheels, it will happen.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Mazdas are great cars…for those that know about them. Unfortunately the brainwashed masses are the ones that shop in this segment. They’re the ones that shop for CamFusCordBus. Specifically. Getting people to change their mind about a midsize sedan is harder then getting them to change their politics or their religion. Generally they don’t want to think about it much, even after they buy it…so engagement doesn’t exactly sell in the segment.

    Mazda’s always had better luck selling the 3, probably for similar reasons. Great that they have the 6, but I’m not going to cry if it’s not a big seller, and probably neither will Mazda. *warning, heresy ahead* Besides, with the CX-5 around, I question whether they actually NEED a midsize sedan.

  • avatar

    I think the frontal design of this car may be the best of the current crop of family vehicles. It’s clean and has artistic integrity. The rear is not bad, but it’s a bit too busy. The Ford Fusion and the Tesla are also good from the front, but not quite as good as this.

    Between the look, performance, and generally better than average to much better than average reliability according to Consumer Reports, if the Mazda3 came out as well as this in all those attributes, it would be the top of my list. And if I wanted a larger car, this would be at the top.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s subjective; I feel that the front is a little too gaping (though it’s also true that this is more pronounced in photos), while the rear is best in class by a mile.

      The lean and sexy side profile is nearly Jaguar-ish to the Fusion’s Aston-ish.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Can I make a tiny, (easily ignored) editorial suggestion?

    When Alex posts reviews, it might be better to headline them like:

    Review: 2014 Mazda6 (With Video)

    I think that “With” is important.

    The way I read these headlines my mind always thinks the post is only video, maybe with a short set-up paragraph. Most websites when they say “(Video)” in the headline it’s just a short introduction and a video without much written content so that people who don’t want to watch videos can skip over it. But because Alex is writing full length reviews that don’t require the video to be watched I think that “with” is important.

    Not a major issue. Just something I’ve noticed. …and I might be wrong.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Perhaps the diesel is the performance option?

    Look at it this way. Let’s say the diesel ends up being quicker 0-60. If you view the diesel option like having a sport model that requires premium, then the whole thing makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      You are correct.

      The diesel is a direct replacement for last year’s V6. The 6 i models are the 2.5L gas, and the s model will be the diesel. Like last year, it’s expected that the diesel will only be available in the GT trim. However, that was true with the 3 last year, but they changed it for the 2014 3, so I’ll hold out hope that they will have a 6 s Touring.

      The diesel is a torque monster, but because of its lower red line (high for diesel, but still lower than gas), it actually has a slightly slower 0-60 time if you believe the foreign reviews. (Also, the US tune may be different enough that the diesel is faster.)

      I also happen to believe the rumors that a Speed6 will be offered.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The looks of the 6 are OK, but I still think the Optima wins the beauty contest at either end.

    Oh, am I the only one who finds the underhood arrangement of the 6 to be very cramped and fussy?

    The diesel interests me the most, but I’ve heard reports of some birthing problems with it.

    • 0 avatar

      >>>The looks of the 6 are OK, but I still think the Optima wins the beauty contest at either end.

      I disagree strongly. Though the sides and back of the Kia are fine, the front is awful. That grill–ugh. First, the outline of the grill drags your eye over and flips it the bird. Too many needless twists and turns. Not at all clean.

      Then there are the awful details inside. Looks like a piece of medieval architecture–or maybe chainmail–which is fine on a medieval building or covering a viking’s torso, but completely out of place on a modern automobile. The rest of the front is like every other car on the road. I’d give the front of the Optima a D.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I call shenanigans on the iELoop system: “Mazda claims the system is good for an extra 2MPG on the highway”. The system works by charging a capacitor when braking and discharging it during acceleration. How much braking and accelerating do you do on the highway? I can see this might help them game the EPA test, but I can’t see it doing much for a couple hundred miles of interstate droning. Could help you hoon more efficiently I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Unless your driving is confined to western Kansas, even at highway speeds its certainly possible that a driver will be “off throttle” some of the time. Or does this gadget engage only when the brake pedal is pressed? A number of autoboxes seem to “freewheel” even at highway speeds under certain conditions when the cruise control is engaged. My -02 Saab does that, but only at speeds under about 35 mph. My ’08 Pilot does that at any speed, but then re-engages if the car begins to exceed the preset limit or, of course, slows down below the preset speed. Any of these times when some engine braking is going on are times when this energy recapture could take place.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        It sounds to me like it works anytime you are off throttle.

        Agreed that how effective this is definitely depends on the terrain. With my mostly highway commute in the SF Bay Area, I find myself engine braking continuously for over a mile at certain points.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      You are close, but what you miss is that the i-ELoop package also comes with grille shutters. Those improve aerodynamics, which IMO is where the improved hwy numbers come from. I also suspect that’s how Mazda is getting their best in class drag coefficient.

      For started out putting grille shutters on only a select few cars (efficiency models, Titaniums, and those with cold-weather packages), but they eventually put it on all of them. I hope Mazda does as well.

      (Also remember that the EPA hwy cycle is not just driving at steady state. It has speed-ups & slow-downs, so the i-ELoop will help on that cycle, too, even if it does not come into play on a cross country cruise controled drive.)

  • avatar
    ringomon

    I’m a Mazda fanboy due to the driving dynamics. But living in Michigan I’m not sure if I’ll buy another Mazda until they really get their rust-proofing together. My 2006 3 has issues around the axles which (I think) caused premature disc degradation.

    …and my 2010 3 had to have the brakes replaced prematurely as well due to similar issues. I’m not sure if it’s just bad luck, but it makes me worry.

    Plus the road noise is really bad in both. I would love a (somewhat) quieter cabin.

    Now if they offered the six wagon I might have to reconsider.

    …and we actually are considering a 5 for our next car since we will soon be in the two childseat camp and neither my wife or I like large vehicles, but recent repairs have me starting to question how wise it is.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I know that it’s heresy in this day and age to suggest it, but dare I say maybe it’s smart to say yes to the dealer add-on undercoating?

      I honestly don’t know how well they work, and while I own a Mazda I don’t live in the rust belt, I might consider it as cheap insurance, especially if the dealer offered some sort of anti-corrosion included guarantee/warranty with the undercoating.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Why? it’s probably the same stuff you get over at the drive-thru car wash. In fact, that’s probably where they have it applied. :)

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Undercoating won’t prevent most of the rust issues that I regularly see on Mazdas in my area. They rust out in the rear quarter panels and rockers most likely starting at seams that hold water. Most cars in the last 15 years come from the factory with undercoating. Applying more won’t help you if it is not done correctly and without partially disassembling the car to get all the nooks and crannys. Worst case is that hastily applied rust proofing will actually make rust issues worse by trapping more moisture and blocking drain holes.

        Honestly, I have NEVER seen a modern car that rusts worse than the last 2 generations of Mazda3/Protege. 9 out 10 that I see have completely rotted out rear quarter panels and or rockers. Inexcusable in this age.

  • avatar

    Nice review Alex, despite my disagreements on styling. I’m probably going to drive one myself in the near future, on the strength of this review.

  • avatar
    Brawndo

    It’s hands-down the best looking in its class-really a nice mixture of futuristic and elegance. I’d love to have one in that crystal red, with the big wheels and cream leather. Unfortunately, in my household there can be only one, which means as long as we have one car, it’s going to be a wagon or an suv. Now if we could have TWO cars…I’d like to think the second one would be the new Corvette.

    As for why it isn’t selling like hotcakes, I suspect that most of the people that buy family sedans probably don’t know this redesign is out yet. Additionally there are, I would guess, fewer Mazda dealerships, which probably impacts sales somewhat. Finally, I’ve noticed that you sit lower in this 6 than you would in a Camry. This, combined with a tighter cabin feel, probably drives away people that have trouble bending, larger people, and people that just want to ooze in.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Being someone ‘in the market’ and also a current and previous Mazda owner here are my reasons in no perticlar order for not considering the 6 as my next commuter. Wind/Tire noise, the 6 has a reputation as being a noisy car. Impractical wheel/tire combo. 19′s on a family sedan? I don’t think so…and the base 17′s look out of proportion with the high beltline, ruining the 6′s good looks. Lack of cloth in higher trims. I live in a hot climate. Cloth or cooled leather only for me. Fake leather…never. Also, my personal experience with Mazdas is that they are mechanically reliable, but when it comes to interior and trim wear, they are average at best and not on the same level as Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar
    critchdizzle

    This will be my next car. I’d driven the Fusion and I must say, despite the slowness of the 6′s infotainment system, it was a heck of a lot better than the “CONTROL EVERYTHING THROUGH THE GINORMOUS DISTRACTING TOUCH SCREEN!!!” of MyFordTouch or the “EVERYTHING HAS A BUTTON!!!” of non-MFT-equipped Fusions. I think it’s a nice balance. Plus the fact that I was literally giggling as I was driving it. It’s a fun car, and the best in its class in my opinion. My one source of trepidation is how that suspension would be day in, day out.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    RE: Entertainment screen

    Simply buy a Metra dash kit for CX-5 (I believe its stereo is identical to Mazda6) and replace the factory head unit with an aftermarket stereo, with 7 inch screen, navi, and bt phone support. I bet this will cost under one grand, with labor, and the interface will work better than most factory systems. Still don’t like it? Use it for a year and replace with a different unit.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    According to July sales figures, U.S. sales of the Mazda 6 are proportionally way up (+167% July’13 vs July ’12 Source: Good Car, Bad Car). Still in sheer numbers the sales are leaping from a very, very small amount, to a very small amount. However, if people keep driving sales up, maybe more of the masses will take note of this car. If I were in the market for a Mid-Size the Mazda 6 would be on my list of contenders

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      You need to look at the Mazda6 monthly over a few years. July v July is up because last July was a low month. Over the past 4 years the Mazda6 has hummed along at the same 3-month average sales rate with no noticeable increase from the new model so far.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The second half of 2012 was terrible for sales with them averaging somewhere around 1400 a month. Prior to that they were around 3000 a month which is where they are now. It was reported Mazda were “happy” with 30,000 units a year but I think they are low balling. This is a class competitive, and in some respects a class leading vehicle. It should sell in similar numbers to the Mazda 3 (ie 100,000 a year or so). Other manufacturers sell their compact and midsize sedans in similar numbers (Corolla/Camry, Civic/Accord, Focus/Fusion).

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        They killed production of the prior gen version early, and then delivery of the 2014 MY was late. It seems that during the in-between time they were burning residual inventory, which certainly would have hurt sales.

        But if we are to believe reports, the new 6 is production constrained like CX-5 was when it was first released. I know dealerships I’ve talked to expect sales to significantly increase.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As always, a really good, thorough review, Alex. Perhaps one thing that keeps the Mazda 6 from being as much of a sales success is something that you noted in the video review: the car’s low stance and the less-than-upright seating position. If you look at cars built in the 1950s and earlier, they all feature a very chair-like seating position. Gradually, in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly for aesthetic reasons, cars became lower and the seating position became more reclined. My personal theory about the popularity of SUVs is that they go back to 1950s and earlier cars’ height and chair-like seating position. And, even though there’s a drag penalty for having a higher car, even most sedans have become a little higher to allow a more chair-like seating position.

    One of the problems with a more reclined seating position, with the legs more extended forward, is that it concentrates the weight of the person’s torso on a smaller area of his backside. Seated upright in a chair, the weight of a person’s torso is distributed over a greater area of the backside and upper thigh.

    It’s possible to overcome this problem with sophisticated seat design, where the person’s butt sinks down into a “pocket,” thereby distributing the weight over a larger area. But many car seats don’t do this and, as a result, even though initially appealing, become uncomfortable for long drives.

    So, that’s my answer to the question you posed, based only on speculation and not on having seen or sat in the Mazda 6 itself . . . which seems like a very nice car and one I would consider if I were in the market.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with you about the popularity of SUVs having something to do with being upright. I think the dam n slit windows on cars may currently contribute to that.

      I don’t know about the issue of seating comfort, since despite my age, I’m comfortable in most cars.

    • 0 avatar
      PartsUnknown

      This is interesting. I have a 2013 6 (last of the previous gen) and I haven’t actually sat in the new 6 yet. Mine has an excellent, chair height seating position. With adjustable seat height and a tilt/telescope wheel, my average 6’0″ frame fits like a glove. It would be a shame if they lowered and/or reclined everything.

      Coming from a series of Saab 9-5s and 9000s, I’m happy with the 6′s seat comfort as well.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I fit nicely in my new Accord, no discomfort after a couple-hundred miles behind the wheel at a sitting (even unlike my 2006, where I’d have a little bit of a twinge here and there after the same amount of driving).

        I wish that more of the cars at auto shows would have some power applied in order to be able to evaluate seat comfort, as the 6 on display this year, IIRC, had power seats and no APU, and as with most display cars in that state, the seats were fully rearward and reclined to gangsta’ position.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Love the front. Find the rear a nothing burger, similar to the Fusion. Like the Accord much better, it seems much more expensive looking:
    http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2013-honda-accord-sport-first-drive/#photo-5270032

    btw, the Accord bolsters are probably as aggressive and certainly not as described above:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/photos-12q3/470949/2013-honda-accord-sport-sedan-interior-photo-473273

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The 6 must be good if that is all you can come up with!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The Accord’s seat isn’t quite as good as the 7th-Gens (2003-2007s, where a Honda PR flak told Motor Trend “[I]‘ll sell you this car with these seats” or something like that, but they’re better than the church pews in the 8th-Gens (2008-2012); those chairs are FLAT, not hard, the bolsters don’t do much.

      Above, I stated that my 2006′s seats didn’t hold up as well over distance for me as my new Accord’s–perhaps I’ve set the lumbar support better, I don’t know.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The Skyactiv manual in this car has some weird getup that involves low and reverse running on the same shaft (or something, Mazda’s website is not clear). The result is a big trucklike gear whirring in low that disappears in second. The shift slots aren’t straight, so I missed a one-two shift in my test drive. The Accord manual is nicer.

    However, the engine feels flat compared to the Accord, the upside being no mooing intake roar as the revs rise. Ride is better, handling more intuitive too, and I prefer the interior to the Accord. But lets face it, both of these vehicles are not particularly interesting cars to drive in the first place, and both feel a half size too large.

    On the other hand, hop in an Accord Coupe V6 MT, try to forget the heavy front end feel, and revel in an absolutely first rate engine/manual tranny experience. I know exactly why a poster above’s friend got the Coupe instead of this Mazda6, if he got the V6. Instead of general boring competence, that engine provides a genuine unusual and addictive experience. If he bought the 4 cylinder, goodness knows why.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      That’s an interesting observation about Accord Couple V6. It’s probably a nice car for the price, but I wonder if the discounted 2014 Infiniti G37 Journey could be even better. +300HP, RWD, 4-doors, 7-speed auto.

      Your observation regarding Mazda6 being “oversized” is probably correct. I honestly don’t know how one could possibly call the behemoth barges like Fusion, Mazda6 or Accord as sporty. In my opinion, Mazda3 s Touring/GT will be Mazda6′s biggest enemy. Almost anyone who wants a truly sporty sedan will choose the 3, because it’s smaller, lighter, more agile. There is even a 5-door version.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        As a 3 owner, I have one complaint about my car that the 6 addresses – trunk length. The 3 hatch cannot fit a large suitcase in length-wise, so it makes something like an airport run problematic, while my mother-in-law’s Civic sedan has no problem with trunk length. You can fit a large and medium-sized suitcase next to each other in the trunk no problem in the Civic. It could stand to be 2-3 inches longer (that’s what she said).

        I’m not sure about the 3 sedan there. The vertical space somewhat makes up for it, but then I have to deal with stowing the privacy cover somewhere, so unless I pre-planned it, it can be problematic.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        That V6 MT Coupe is a spiritual successor to the Prelude, particularly if you get some Honda Performance bits to improve the suspension.

        As I stated up the thread, the Accord is not quite the handler it’s always been, thanks to the MacStruts up-front and the electric power steering, but it’s still better than most of the C-segment vehicles, save for the 6 and the Fusion, and will go where you put it–but you have to ORDER it to do something, unlike previous Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I greatly enjoyed driving both the Mazda6 and the new Accord. I agree that the Fusion felt a bit like a barge, but unless you are really used to tiny sports cars, neither the Mazda nor the Honda felt too big.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’m completely in love with this car. Hands down the best looking front driver out there, IMHO. As to the slow sales…my local dealer sells them as soon as they get them. I’m there 3 weekends ago and they have none to sell. I’m there this week and they have two, but one already has a deposit on it. I’m also starting to see them on local roads occasionally. I just assumed that since these are all actually manufactured in Japan, their plant capacity and shipping times are only allowing a few to trickle out to dealers at a time.

    Anybody have a local dealer with lots of these languishing about?

    Count me as waiting for the diesel. If I can get that in the lowest trim level, with absolutely no options and that very nice metallic steel blue color, I think I’m sold, and I’ve never ever bought a brand new car.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Rumor is that the diesel will only be available in the GT trim. There’s a small chance it will show up in the Touring, but I see no way it makes it to the Sport.

  • avatar

    The only pattern I sense (as far as sales are concerned) is that people like boring, reliable cars that get them from point A to point B.

    Mazda is not considered in the general thought process of buying new car for the average buyer: “My car is getting high mileage and it is started to cost more to keep up.” If the previous car was good, then they will stick with it and test drive the same car again. If they were not happy with it, they will look at something that is more reliable and looks decent. Notice the difference in tone between “great reliability” and “looking decent.”

    The Korean brands are attacking on the front end by offering long warranties and huge discounts – Mazda does not.

    Americans, in general, don’t worry about driving dynamics – unfortunately for sales, Mazda does.

    If Mazda created a non-offensive, boring looking car, 10-year warranty, and generated a marketing mix that focused on families, safety, reliability, and fun (AKA Subaru) then they would be pushing more of these out the door.

    Enthusiast are small in number, Enthusiast looking for a FAMILY sedan is even smaller…. all other Sport Sedans are luxury cars (German and Japanese, specifically).

    • 0 avatar

      I think my STi/wrx & It’s competitor the Evo have a LONG LONG way to being considered luxury sedans :D

      I do appreciate the complement however :)

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      They tried that strategy. It didn’t work. Why would anyone buy a Mazda trying to out-Toyota Toyota?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >>If Mazda created a non-offensive, boring looking car, 10-year warranty, and generated a marketing mix that focused on families, safety, reliability, and fun (AKA Subaru) then they would be pushing more of these out the door.

      Mazda should not give what Americans want by imitating the competition. That gets you no where. Mazda is doing the right thing — innovating and giving Americans what they don’t know they want yet. Niche players can be profitable.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    Alex,

    Thank you for this very detailed, comprehensive review. Out of the midsize sedan class, the 6 is the one I’m looking to buy, but I have one question:

    How does the ride quality compare to the Fusion and Accord? I know you said it was stiffer than a Camry, but I’m curious to know how it stacks up to those competitors. Some reviews say it’s softer than the Accord and some say it’s a bit stiffer. If it’s in the same ballpark as those two, the 6 seems to be a no-brainer considering its superior handling (or so I’ve read).

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      In truth there is little daylight between the Accord and the Mazda6 in terms of ride. The Mazda does seem to have a slight edge when it comes to handling but that is mostly down to the rubber choices. The Fusion seems softer to me.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I don’t understand who Mazda was going for with this.

    They built the driver’s car for the class. It’s lower, it’s lighter, it’s tauter, it’s less insulated, of course we like it better than a Camcord.

    But that class is 16 foot family boats with the base engine. How many drivers are shopping here in the first place?

    If you’re giving up roomy, refined, a big trunk, etc. for fun to drive I think most people would be happier in a Mazda 3 from the same lot.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      This is why Mazda is a car press favorite (beat the accord in C&D) recently but not so popular in real life. It’s ‘kinda’ sporty. It handles well. It’s fun if you get a stick..

      The issue is that people who want a really sporty car – get something that’s actually fast. And people who want a family mover just get something that’s the best at that..

      Mazda seems to alienate both sides.. I do hope it sells better – because its a nice car. But the niche they are going for is too small.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Who are they marketing with this? People who drive them tend to buy them. The problem is that few know about Mazda, fewer know about the 6, and fewer ever get inside one.

  • avatar
    karolinakydd26

    My best friend has been a LOYAL mazda owner for over 15 years. He stood by his cars’ maintenance schedule as would a LOYAL owner should. Albeit, he put major miles on his cars in little time His latest car,a 2009 Mazda6, 2.5 liter 4 pot etc…He went from 4 miles on the car to 150,000 in 4 years.

    Ok let me get to my point. It was not as reliable as his prior cars were at the same interval of miles. Plus, the maintenance was rather expensive for something such as replacing the headlights which would blow out twice a year for,alternately for 2 years, replaced 2 relay switches at a VERY high dealer rate, that only a dealer could do. And finally, the transmission was on its final resting days. Reliability reached its breaking point. He has since left the Mazda family, due to the foreseen high maintenance cost that anyone in these trying days can be associated with, and moved on to Toyota.

    Hopefully, Mazda can fix the reliability problems with this 2014 and keep its LOYAL customers from migrating to another automaker.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Sadly, the general public is just too ignorant or for some reason just doesn’t care about Mazdas. Mazda has tried every trick in the book to appeal to the enthusiasts a decade ago:

    Mazda6 wagon, check

    Mazda6 5-door hatch, check

    Mazda6 sedan, check

    Manual and automatic shifter is available with V6 and I4 engines in any body styles, check

    Best in class compact, check

    Sportiest in class CUV with the most car like handling and ride, check

    Mazdaspeed6, check

    Mazdaspeed3, check

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the current Mazda6 continues sales-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Well, there were some people who did not have a good ownership experience with Mazda, in the past. And Mazda’s liaison with Ford didn’t exactly boost Mazda’s credibility with the public either, especially if that public had deserted the Detroit 3 during the Mass Exodus.

      Word-of-mouth can be the best advertising, or the worst.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Agreed word of mouth advertising is the best. I can see the Ford association not being great for the general public but would hope people who look and comment on TTAC know better.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Who wants this car? Supposedly, a lot of us. How many times have you heard `If I could just get a sports sedan than handled like the Germans, got great mileage, had Japanese reliability (my first-gen 6 approaches 240,000 kms and is still tight as a drum)and was under $25,000`? Well, HERE IT IS. But, I fear, it is just like those who clamor for the 6 speed diesel wagons. When it comes, they make excuses and don`t buy it.

  • avatar
    JD321

    “That’s been our quick look…”

    Your “quick look” is better than everyone elses in-depth look!

    One comment: Please add 0-60 sprints to your reviews with camera pointing at tach/speedometer. I think people would like to see and hear the car accelerating.

    Would you please review the Subaru Legacy? It gets no love in the mid-sized sedan group and it is competitive.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Alex blames the tire width for road noise in the review, but my guess is a lack of insulation in the wheel wells. Road noise has been a long standing Mazda weak spot, and I think it’s a factor in holding sales back.

    Let’s not get carried away calling the additional noise “sporty and connected.” Listening to a nice-sounding engine is desirable. Road and wind noise is not.

    I’m pulling for Mazda, but excess noise is not acceptable to most buyers in this segment.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I think when it comes down to it, the issue that Mazda has moving metal is mainly monetary. The first problem is that they utilize Japanese production. Due to the exchange rate differences, tariffs, and shipping, there is just less margin to be had with their products regardless of the merits of the product.

    Honda/Toyota already build in the US and sell on fairly thin margins, but they have their reputation to fall back on. Nissan builds in the US as well, and has been competing price-wise in the segment. The big 3 generally have huge amounts of cash on the hood which makes them the winners in the price war. The Koreans have their insane warranties.

    With Mazda’s low margins, lack of incentives save for 0% financing, only average warranty protection, and lackluster marketing budget, they just lack the push to get people through the door. In the appliance segment 90% driven by value, superior driving dynamics is just not a big sell.

    I say this as a Mazda owner who would very likely buy one when I need an appliance sedan as well.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’m greatly interested in the diesel variant that is coming out.

    BUT

    I do NOT want a computer in place of a radio in my car. Please just give me a regular radio option, I’ll pay MORE for it, I just do not want that garbage in any of my vehicles. Super large fast touch screens or not. I’m ready to junk my smart phone and go back to a traditional style. Even being in my 20′s, this constantly connected new lifestyle most seem to be eating just does not bring my any satisfaction or much usefulness.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I agree completely about the stereo. Fortunately, the 6 does have a std stereo that fits (available on the Sport manual). It should be very possible to swap the two and still keep full functionality of steering wheel controls.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Car magazines keep telling me to get the “base” model of this with the “Man-huel” transmission and I’ll be transported to the 80s and feel like I’m driving a 3-series before the bloat set in.

    The only thing more depressing than the trim the base MT comes in is some GM pickups with the vynil package.

    Driving dynamics aside (which aren’t really that great, it’s a rubber MT FWD sedan) what else does this car have to offer over its competition. For that matter what is its competition. It’s shoehorned sizewize between Civics and Camrys with a power output closer to the smaller cars.

    If it came in a hatch, it’d be a bigger alternative to the 3 hatch… I guess. But Americans are allergic to anything but sedans, so that wouldn’t sell.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Huh?

      Driving dynamics aren’t great – compared to what? A Porsche – ok, but compared to just about any regular, non-dedicated sports car in the $20,000s, yeah, it’s pretty good.

      Power output closer to smaller cars? Which smaller cars? This thing has 184 hp, smaller cars are going to be closer to 150 hp, while Camry = 178 hp, Accord = 185 hp, Altima = 182 hp, Fusion (1.6T) = 182 (with premium) 177 (with regular), Malibu = 197.

  • avatar
    redav

    I really like the 6. I’d love to buy it, but there are a few problems.

    I’d need to trade in either a sports car or a compact wagon, but the 6 isn’t sporty enough to replace the one and not cargo friendly enough to replace the other.

    The coming diesel might be enough to replace a sports car, but it looks like it will only be available in the GT, and I don’t want to spend that much. (I’ll test drive it anyway, though.) I expect there will be a Speed6, so I’ll probably wait to see what they do with that. If they sold the wagon here, it would be a no-brainer as a replacement for my wagon.

    There are a few other things I’d require on it: I’d insist that the 17″ wheels be put on regardless of trim, and I’d also have them swap out the touch screen with the bare, base stereo.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Have you seen any pictures of Megan Fox lately? Thanks to typical Hollywood plastic surgery addictions, she’s really not that pretty anymore.

  • avatar
    missmySE-R

    Two key issues that hold sales back here in my opinion:

    – Unless you’re in love with the looks, what does the Mazda6 do that the competition cannot? Until there’s a compelling answer to that question, I don’t see people going out of their way to even test drive one, much less make a purchase.

    – I’d venture a guess that most buyers in this segment want a comfortable ride, not a firm ‘sporty’ setup. All else equal (which my point above would argue is generally true), this is going to tip the scales towards the competition as the Mazda6′s ride will be perceived as harsh, cheap, or unrefined.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      What does any car in this segment do that the others can’t? Midsize cars are bought primarily on looks, value, and fuel efficiency.

      The 6 looks great and it is near the top of the class in fuel efficiency. It’s also priced competitively. Mazda has no illusions of outselling the CamCords here, but hopefully they can at least corner the “prefers smaller/sportier cars but need more room for the kids” market.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    In Europe, Mazda sells a 150 bhp diesel that is superior to the petrol one. If that´s not enough, you can get a 175 bhp diesel.

  • avatar
    Tifighter

    I’ve been shopping these. Or at least trying to. Multiple local dealers show inventory. So I drive to two of them, both of which are just one step up from a portable building. Upon getting there, no one greets me. Maybe they’re busy, I think, and walk into showroom. Bunch of guys sitting at their desks on their smartphones texting. Some look up, no one says anything.

    Finally I ask, “So, can I look at the new 6?”

    “We don’t have many. What trim do you want?”

    “Grand touring?”

    “Nope. We might get some more later in the month.”

    That was it. No one wanted to take my name or number. I had to ask to give it to them. This happened at TWO dealers. So much for the online inventory being correct. There’s a third dealer over an hour away showing a GT in inventory. I called them this morning and I’m still waiting for a call back to confirm its actually there.

    I also went to look at the Accord, and the experience was much different. Simply put, Mazda has a long way to go if they want to convert Honda shoppers. The product might be there, but the sales organization is light years behind. And I’m a current Mazda owner.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> Upon getting there, no one greets me.

      I kinda’ like that. Low key, no pressure. I can look around without someone hovering over my shoulder. And that’s how I eventually bought my 2010 Mazda3.

      My experience at Acura was different. I was greeted as soon as I walked into the door and the receptionist requested my contact info. The salesman makes a note of the car I used to drive there. He also asks what I am cross-shopping. He felt slick and I felt out of my league. I bail.

      Ok, Acura understands luxury buyers expect attention and hand holding. Mazda understands that instead of visiting the dealership, you can just as easily put out an internet request and see which dealer will meet your price.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’ve tried to internet shop new Mazdas in Virginia and San Diego. The only reply I got on my Virginia inquiries was directly from Mazda, and it was months after I’d bought another car. I did get a call from a San Diego Mazda salesman, even though I specified that I wanted a reply via email and not to be called.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Does anyone really expect car companies to micromanage each dealership and how they are run? No doubt they have corporate policies, recommended practices, audits, etc., but at the end of the day there are good dealerships and there are bad dealerships–especially for non-luxury brands.

      A friend of mine was shopping for a CX-5. A couple of the dealerships she went to were fantastic. One was a slimy snake pit. That’s the reality when dealerships are independently owned & operated.

      Mazda doesn’t have that many dealerships, and they’ve also said they want to move more upscale. It makes sense they should crack down on bad dealerships and get them to upgrade their service. But I don’t think negatively on the company because some salesmen are lousy.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      It look like a wide spread problem. I have been to a Mazda dealer just once, in San Antonio, and the dealership did look kind of cramped compared to Toyota and Ford dealers I have been in the same area.

  • avatar

    Being a Mazda owner I don’t know why Mazda’s sell so low compared to other cars in their segment. Maybe the redesign will help?

    I asked some people at work (small demographic, I know) age differences between 25 – 51 what car they would buy under $25,000…. some were die-hard American-brand (Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge) others were either Honda or Toyota, one person said the Kia Optima looked good.

    So, given that small count, people simply go toward reliability and tradition. It’s extremely hard to break into an established market – it took Honda and Toyota roughly 20 years and the decline of American car brand reliability to become established. Took the South Korean brands about 25 years to quit mimicking other’s designs and offer a 10-year warranty to break through the top five sellers (mid-size).

    A niche like Mazda might just need a larger company to back them up financially (Nissan possibly?) or move further up market with larger engines and even better fit and finish (most notably interior quality) in order to become what I think would be fantastically suited for them: The BMW of Japan.

  • avatar
    Jack in Jax

    Alex, your reviews are consistently thorough and worthwhile. Thanks for making such a consistent effort. While not a Mazda6 Q per se, you omitted one purchase-related comment I thought was begging to be answered: How much long-term value & security resides in a new Mazda purchase if the buyer typically holds onto a car for 8-10 years? Small volumes, difficulty in competing in some respects (infotainment, rustproofing, marketing, warranty) – should one factor in a ‘Suzuki/Chrysler/Pontiac’ factor of some kind when weighing a Mazda purchase against the usual suspects?

    Jack

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Deficient in warranty, how? They are competitive in their warranty terms with the mainstream players (H/K excepted).
      If you think their “limited” volume makes them an issue (like Suzuki, Chrysler etc) then I assume you wont buy a VW or a Subaru either since they have similar volumes.

  • avatar
    tralls

    I only really take issue with this being called a third generation. Yes, this is the third generation of the Mazda 6, but it is really just a name change from the older 626 badge. Just like the Mazda 3 was a 323. This is similar to BMW changing the 3 series coupe to a 4 series coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      I take issue with your taking of issue. ;) In actuality there is no relationship between the current 6 and the 626. The original Mazda6 evolved from the previous 626 platform, but that ended up being a Ford platform, which Ford got to keep when they sold their stake in Mazda (along with the old MZR engines). The current 6 is completely different from the previous generation 6, being on the CX-5 platform now, and is therefore unrelated to the 626 except by name.

      Similar deal with the 323/Protege and the Mazda3, except that the 3 went onto a Ford platform right away back in 2004, dumping the Protege platform and its innovative suspension setup. The 3 is also going on the CX-5 platform now, legitimately they could have changed the names again as they’re really “all new” models now. But I guess “Mazda3″ and “Mazda6″ have a pile of positive equity these days. Or maybe it’s just cheaper to stick with the same branding than try to build up new branding and somehow fit it into their whole naming scheme.

      • 0 avatar
        tralls

        :-) I don’t disagree at all. I just think it is one big marketing scheme. Most companies will change platforms and not necessarily change names. It all comes down to name recognition and what they think will sell. Volvo’s V70 is a great example of a car that has changed platforms three times and still has the same name. The first platform was an upgraded Volvo 850 and the second was shared with the S60 and the current platform is based off the S80.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    In this market with so much quailty competition, it only takes one deal killer to strike a car from the list. This car has two…unacceptable infotainment tech, and road noise.

    The poor infotainment tech is a Mazda-wide problem. They are a generation or even two behind everyone else. I bought a new MX-5 last year, absolutely top of the line model. It’s infotech is atrocious. Top end radio is weak, lacks any kind of external connectivity except an aux jack, and the BT only supports phone, not audio.

    Because of, well, MX-5, that wasn’t a deal killer but on any other car it would be.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      There is a dash kit for CX-5 to upgrade the head unit to a standard 2din unit. The kit supposedly fits on Mazda6 as well. In my opinion the aftermarket head units is a much better way to go. Even if some other cars come with newer better infotainment, their system will be obsolete in a couple of years. The aftermarket head unit with navigation and loads of other features will cost under $1000 to upgrade, with labor.

      The MX-5 has been around for a while, so I think it’s obsolete head unit is more excusable than in case of brand new models. Again, you can probably upgrade it easily.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “The problem is the slushbox is moderately engaging and gets 1MPG better mileage (26/38 for the auto).”

    Probably not, unless there’s actually someone out there who drives a stick as badly as the EPA test requires for manual transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Mazda’s SkyActiv setups have developed a reputation for actually outperforming the EPA ratings. The reason why manuals don’t, however, is because people generally drive them WORSE then the EPA test, because manual fans see themselves as “performance” drivers. They therefore shift for max power, not max fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar

        That is probably true, but I know for myself, my ’16/22′ 2005 STi has averaged 23.35mpg mixed over the last 17k miles or so…

        With that being said, my wifes ’18/24′ awd, auto, v6 sorrento (driven by her — a much slower driver than me) has averaged 20.99 over the last 13.3k miles…

  • avatar
    adamsd

    Hi – 1st post. Since I have owned mazdas for awhile I felt finally inclined to post. I live in San Diego, and here you mostly see Camcord. A lot of them, I am pretty sure this is the Camcord capital in the US most likely. I have noticed lately that there are a lot of new Kia/Hyundais Sonata/Optimas I’ve been seeing over the last couple months.

    I have given this quite a bit of thought, and now that there are suddenly so many new Kias/Hyundais, I have come to the conclusion that probably about 90% of the shoppers in this segment here it comes down to lines of thought:
    (a) should I buy an Accord or should I buy a Camry, or (b) they look in consumer reports to see what was the best rates vehcile last year/this year, or (c) they look at what is listed as the best value in consumer reports and buy that.
    I think the people that make up (a) have come from those brands for several years, many times from the lower level sedans (civic, corolla) and then when they drive the newer mid-size sedan they think how nice it is compared to the car they are coming from.

  • avatar
    spades

    The Nissan Altima (which of course has a CVT) gets to 60 in 7.4 seconds, just like the similarly powered Mazda 6. So it isn’t fair to say that by simply adding a CVT you will get performance numbers superior to the Mazda. The Accord just happens to have an excellent CVT, and perhaps an underrated engine, that knocks .6 seconds off that sprint. I think a little too much credit is being given to the transmission type here, and not Honda.

  • avatar
    yunusmc

    Hi wanting buy the how about its maintenance is really expensive and compare this to Corolla 2014 should i really wait for this.

  • avatar
    kenb1

    I have 2009 Mazda6sGT and asked Mazda corporate the same question about why nobody had heard of these cars. They had no idea. I have my own pet theory. When somebody asks: What do you drive? Other drivers always respond with a Model like: Fusion, Camry etc. However when people ask me and I say… 6 or Mazda6 I get a blank stare.
    Mazda also comes across as a kiddie car – not good for a four door sport sedan. I think whoever is in charge of advertising should be fired because this is one of the most reliable, fast and comfortable cars I have ever driven.
    Here is something I bet nobody has heard of. Mazda corporate in California called ME to make sure I was happy with service. This was NOT a customer service person but an American who drove a Mazda, concerned about my experience with his car company.

  • avatar
    prabirmehta

    Great review Alex! I usually watch your videos but I’m going to start reading the text as well from now on since it is very comprehensive/provides information not covered in the videos. Both are complimentary to each other.

    I recently drove the new 2014 Mazda6 and 2014 Chevy Malibu. No comparison between the two but I was accompanying a friend who had GM employee pricing so there was an incentive to check out GM cars.

    The dealership experience couldn’t be different. The Chevy dealership was huge, oldschool and embodied the worst of the car buying experience. Long waits when the sales person would disappear into a pit, incompetence, not understanding customer requirements, lot of activity but no productivity etc. This is for a customer who had a fixed GM price and was very clear about his requirements.

    The Malibu was a competent car but nothing special. Overall, I was sad to learn that GM hasn’t changed much.

    I suggested that my friend look at other cars, especially Mazda6 since I had heard great things about it. Both of us loved the car (other than it being a little down on power). Didn’t get to check out the iPhone slowness. Something to keep in mind though – thanks Alex! Loved the seats, interior, handled great. They have taken a number of features from other manufacturers like BMW’s iDrive.

    The Mazda dealership experience was very different from the Chevy experience. Much smaller dealership. Low key, non aggressive. Offered to lend the car to my friend for a weekend test drive.

    He is in a bind because of GM employee pricing but there was no contest as to which car he preferred (Mazda6).

  • avatar
    Autoboy

    Jollyjerry…Thanks for the excellent info. I have been looking for a midsize and really like the attributes of the new Mazda6. I found your comments on the 19″ wheels enlightening. I also think they look great but worry about road noise.

    If you have to do it over again, would you have opted for the 17″ wheels? I was waiting for the 2015 Touring, which has a $1,300 Moonroof/Bose option…which is great. You previously had to bump up to the Grand Touring to get the moonroof.

    My other alternative is to get the Sport with 17″ wheels and put in an excellent aftermarket in-roof moonroof for $1,200.


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