By on November 29, 2017

2019 Mazda 6

Mazda had already promised a turbocharged four-cylinder would be available on the refreshed 2019 Mazda 6, and the company delivered.

Upper trims gain the 2.5-liter turbo four, while the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter remains on lower grades. Mazda promised an announcement on specs closer to the on-sale date in the spring of 2018.

Mazda may not have listed figures for the 6’s Skyactiv-G 2.5T during the model’s unveiling at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, but the engine makes up to 310 lb-ft of torque and 250 horsepower in the CX-9 crossover.

It’s unclear if there’s any change to the base engine’s power numbers, but Mazda does add cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model year.

If saving the manuals matters to you, be prepared for mixed feelings – you can still get a stick with the base engine, but it appears to be (six-speed) automatic only with the turbo mill.

Mazda made no mention of a diesel, at least not that I heard.

2019 Mazda 6

Key standard or available features include LED headlights that integrate fog lamps, a 360-degree camera, a 7.0-inch gauge display, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, heads-up display, cooled front seats, and radar cruise control.

The chassis bracing and body are reinforced, as is the sheetmetal around the rear-wheel wells.

The most noticeable change on the outside is the new grille, and the painted surfaces extend lower on the body. Seventeen- and 19-inch wheels are available.

Changes are more pronounced on the inside, where Mazda claims only the steering wheel and some minor trim pieces carry over.

Snap judgment: This should make for a 6 that offers a little more power – enough to better compete with the Accord and Camry – while continuing to reign as one of the best-looking and better-handling cars in the class. Whether that’s enough for buyers to stop ignoring the 6 remains to be seen.

[Images © 2017 Forest Casey/The Truth About Cars]

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76 Comments on “2018 Mazda 6 – The Turbo Lands at Last...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It will have class-leading driving dynamics followed by declining sales.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I don’t think the sales will decline any faster than the mid-size sedan class in general, I think there will be a small uptick in sales and then they will settle back to whatever rate the GT package was generally selling at.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The handling is really not all that great when you look at the magazine data. The MT figure-8 time is thr same as my Buick Envision and other cuv’s and with similar braking distances from 60 mph. CR also has similar Emergency Lane Changes test mph and braking.

      Along with the extra weight of reinforcing the whole car, the new sound deadening for 2017, and thr lackluster performamce of the CX-9 compared to the competition, this will still be 3rd place in performamce behind the Malibu 2.0T Accord 2.0T.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Just don’t do any hysteria. Handling is fine. I had CR mag in my hands. Only Legacy did better in avoidance maneuver. I am not surprised – I drove Leg and it went through tight curves with aplomb.

        Now, where Mazda is brilliant, is how things feel in the cabin. Steering, clutch, gear box, brake. May be it stops few feet longer than Accord sport, but it brakes feel so much better than numb Honda brakes. also, Accord, I believe, has wider tires.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          I just checked CR online and your right the Legacy has a higher Emergency Lane mph than the coveted Mazda6. At a MT 27.5 figure-8 for both cars, is it really a that athletic that my 2016 Buick Envision Prem does it in the same speed?

          They both beat the Buick cuv in braking from 60 mph to a stop by a 1-3 feet.

          M6 I’d going to be front heavy when the extra 100 lbs ends up in the engine bay.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Skyactiv marketing shtick x begone! Time to join thr Sheepeople with turbo-4.

  • avatar
    Barndoors4life

    Mazda would screw this up and not offer the turbo with a stick. This is the best looking best handling midsize, they would have got huge bragging rights with a turbo stick. Probably would have sold some more base models too. It’s bad enough now when the manual only comes in the sport trim. It is available in the touring trim but you can’t get it with any of the option packages. I of course realize the manual midsize car market is next to non existent but it frustrates the heck out of me when the manufacturer has the parts and can easily make something cool come together but just won’t.

  • avatar
    deanst

    A fun, Japanese made car with a manual – what more could you want? A lot, apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      chiefmonkey

      I suppose. But if you’re looking for a sedan in the 20-30k range, I find the Mazda6 pretty hard to beat.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        New Accord beats it easily and handily

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        With sales, you can get Mazda6 Sport well under 20K. Mazda6 for price of Civic? wow!

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Aside from the nicer interior/exterior, Civic 1.5T + 6MT is the better car. And that includes dynamics (especially in Si trim). The 6 is heavily discounted for a reason (it’s not that good)

          • 0 avatar
            chiefmonkey

            “The 6 is heavily discounted for a reason” Funny you say that, if I had gone with an Accord my monthly payment would be almost $100 lower. I decided to go with the better car. This was in 2016 though…I imagine Honda has too much pride to aggressively discount a redesigned model.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I drove Si, and Sport Hatch, Accord sport too. And I bought Mazda. They are not better cars than Mazda6. Of course, you can expect Si to handle better and be faster – it is smaller car. But just looking at the dash in Civics makes me throw up. Si has nice seats. But it also comes with a price tag and features I personally prefer not to pay for. All Civics and especially shame for Si, come with numb brakes. Clutch, steering and gear shifting calibration are better in Mazda. Honda is not far behind but not there. Take Sport hatch and it doesn’t even have variable intermittent wipers. And then, when I looked under the hood of Hondas, I think, even small bump will do a lot of damage there. Mazda6 is way more car for money. It has features in base trim that Honda sell you Upper civic trims.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Extra sound deadening at all?

  • avatar
    Matthew Bowen

    Good to see they found a second use for the wheel design from the first gen Speed3.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Accord in upper trim vs Mazda 6 with turbo motor vs new Buick Regal.

    They’re all in the same price bracket. Looks like the Mazda will have the most grunt but is the oldest, the Regal has the fastback look but it’s GM, so perhaps Honda has the middle ground covered.

    I’m discounting the Camry because it has the same stigma as a minivan does, but maybe that’s an outdated view. Or not.

    And 32k gets a base Stinger.

    Glad I held off getting a new car… it looks to be an interesting few months as these all start hitting the market.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “but it’s GM”

      An odd argument. No similar statements were made in reference to any of the other vehicles. Buick has a pretty good reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Regal 2.0T already runs rings around the Accord and Camry, along with Malibu, all with V6 or 2.0T. It also discounted to around 1/3rd on dealership for sale websites and at $22-24K it also has a better warranty. The 2018 Regal gets twin clutch AWD further separation itself from the economy, FWD sedans.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    No stick with the more powerful engine? Automatic fail and the reason why Japanese cars will never compare to German cars.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      Since Mercedes gave up on manuals two decades ago and BMW is trying to exorcise them currently, I don’t think any car maker is more manual friendly right now than Mazda. The Germans certainly don’t offer or sell any more manuals anymore than any other company, regardless of national origin.

      Even full-line VW doesn’t offer them except on base Golf and Jetta S low price advertisement specials, and the mighty GTI and Golf R are probably 80%+ DSG.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The only car in this segment to offer a manual transmission with the biggest engine is the Accord, whose 1.5T and 2.0T are both available with 6-speed manuals. The only German car that competes in this segment is the Passat, and it offers no manual in any guise.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Thanks, but my comment had nothing to do with market segments. Point is that plenty of German vehicles can still be had with a manual and a powerful engine.

        • 0 avatar
          LeMansteve

          White Shadow, the BMWs and Audis can technically be ordered with stick, but almost nobody buys their new German luxury car that way. Mercedes-Benz has not offered stick shift on any car in a long time, probably since the W204 C-class.

          Go to cars.com or autotrader.com. Nationwide, roughly 4% of all used BMWs and Audis have a manual transmission.

          Mazda is a small independent company. They know manual take rates are small. The midsize sedan segment has been shrinking. Mazda is a small player in that segment. The 2.5T will be just a portion of 6 sales. All that combined – there appears to be no business case for Mazda to develop a manual transmission for the 2.5T in the 6.

          As far as I know, the only existing Mazda manual transmission that compares closely (torque-wise) to the new 2.5T is bolted to the Skyactiv-D. I suppose they could adapt that transmission for a gas engine, but maybe it’s not so simple.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Buick says good bye to the Regal 6-speed. Thr Verano 2.0T gave up thr ghost a couple of years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      So they can sell all of what, 10 units? A stick isn’t going to pull a significant number of buyers from the Accord or Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      With 300 lb-ft of a torque and a good transmission tune, you won’t miss the manual.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Pitty the mazda 6. The car only loved by people who would never buy one (only cuz it still offers a stick) and hated by everyone who would because it’s UGLY, the ride sucks the engine is anemic, it’s cramped and loud as hell all the time inside.

    just the impression from most people I know.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    Funny how 95% of automotive journalists bemoan the loss of the manual transmission, while 95% of their readership goes out and buys cars with automatic transmissions – including my cousin’s Porsche. Maybe they should just get over beating a horse which has been dead for some time now. Modern automatics can easily outperform a human shifter, anyway. Again, see Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Women run faster wearing sneakers than high heels. While automatics are practical, sticks are sexy, in a manner of speaking. A great manual showcases the automaker’s skill, and Mazda has it in spades. Besides, automatics are just a stop-gap technology until we go electric.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Just remember your words when they take your steering wheel away and you can’t ever exceed the speed limit without either voiding your warranty or having the car contact your insurance agency wirelesly… because modern self-driving cars can easily outperform a human driver, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I believe (and it is just my belief/opinion) is that the majority of Americans don’t buy automatics because they believe they “outperform” manuals, rather, they just don’t want the hassle of shifting. This leads me to believe that autonomous cars won’t be such a hard sell for us, after all.

      I get that today’s automatics can shift faster/more efficiently than a manual. But for driving enjoyment, I still much prefer a manual…efficiencies be damned.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Journies talk – this is their business. They say, people buy. What do you expect? 95% of Americans don’t know difference between compression and depression

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wow. The interior was already pulling about even with the Acura TLX with the prior refresh. Now it’s a lot better. Acura, why do you exist?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Better title “The Mazda6’s Last Stand”.

    Like the supercharged Studebaker Lark. Mazda thinks because they can’t sell the 6 they will move it upmarket. That’s desperation. They moved production to Japan because they couldn’t sustain it in the US. And that move saved them larger loses but likely makes the Mazda6 a high cost slim margin product.

    It’s a shame that cheap stuff like the Altima is driving fine products like the 6 out of the market. Supply creates its own demand and the oversupply of Altimas is hurting the market long term. But that seems to be Nissan’s plan.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I have the same feeling and agree with the Studebaker Lark comparison for this model but not the company as that was a different sort of mess. At least the front fenders probably won’t rot off after 9 months of ownership like the old Lark. It appears to be a decent vehicle but only two mid-sized sedans sold less in October in the US (3 if you count the Chrysler 200). 6’s sell better outside North America – Mazda should focus there with this model. It seems to be some sort of “point of honor” to continue marketing the 6 in here.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Dumb Mazda thinks to fix business by going ‘upmarket’. Laughable. They should introduce Mazda6-based rugged Outback-like wagon. And then Mazda3-based rugged wagon , like Crosstrek. This could be better business decision.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Sort like what Honda did to Acura. Can’t compete with the big boys/luxury makes, take your economy cars and cuvs, Accord and CR-V, up market. Acura who?

      Subaru and Mazda do not have a choice because they do not have an up market name plate.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    NO STICK FOR THE TURBO

    Honda offers stick on the 1.5 and 2.0 accord.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Mazda finally brings torque and power to the party, when the party is disbanding. I call that “zoom zoom, without NAV” (got lost along the way)

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Regarding the power question – this is from Mazda’s website:

    YOU ASK; THE NEW TURBOCHARGED ENGINE RESPONDS.

    Press the pedal. What do you feel? The instant response of the available turbocharged SKYACTIV® – G 2.5T engine, delivering 227 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque. It’s the kind of drive that reignites your passion for the road.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Too bad it took so long. Oh well, maybe the next car we buy. Lack of power was what dropped it off our list a couple years ago.

  • avatar
    AK

    So instead of making a performance variant, they’re using the turbo to justify a more premium trim level where they can basically charge $36k for some added suede on the dashboard. Ok, I get that… They want to move upmarket and make money. Fine.

    But seemingly not altering this engine at all from it’s use in the cx9 is incredibly lazy. I don’t want 310lbft to the front wheels. That’s useless.

    It’s especially lazy when they went through so much effort to tell us how they developed that engine specifically for SUV drivers who never get close to redline in their daily driving. Now they’re just going to say that people want the same driving experience in a sedan? It’s half assed.

    Drop the torque and give it some more top end. Maybe they’re saving that and the stick for the performance variant that we won’t get to see.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      As I read it Mazda didn’t state whether or not the tune would be the same or different for this application.

      Relevant article quote:
      “Mazda may not have listed figures for the 6’s Skyactiv-G 2.5T during the model’s unveiling at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, but the engine makes up to 310 lb-ft of torque and 250 horsepower in the CX-9 crossover.

      It’s unclear if there’s any change to the base engine’s power numbers, but Mazda does add cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model year.”

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Lots of talk about the Great Leap Forward interior, but no pictures.

    I predict sales of the Mazda 6 will continue to decline at twice the average rate of the segment as a whole. Long term it is doomed. Can you sell less than zero?

  • avatar
    stuki

    I personally wouldn’t want the turbo with a manual anyway. Turbos and electronically controlled autos, are a match made in heaven, as each goes some ways towards cowering up the other’s inherent suckiness.

    With a nice, Mazda grade, manual, the most important property of an engine, is responsiveness and precision. Something no turbo can ever hope to match virtually any NA engine at. Heck, I even feel the 2.5 Skyactiv is a bit sluggish, compered to the livelier and revvier, albeit less powerful, 2.0. The latter is the one I would want in a 3. Or even CX5, if it’s stil offered.

    But compared to the dullorama that is a 4cyl “tuned for torque” turbo, the 2.5 in the 6 is still pure bliss when paired with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “Heck, I even feel the 2.5 Skyactiv is a bit sluggish, compered to the livelier and revvier, albeit less powerful, 2.0.”

      Hey – I like my pre-skyactive 2L better than 2.5L skyactiv. Although, I have to admit, my driving in ’17 Mazda6 returns 1.5mpg more than same driving in ’11 Mazda3 2L. Also, it is quiet ride in more comfortable seats, and my right knee doesn’t constantly rub the trim. But if you asked me, what is the worst part of your car, I would say, the engine [and transmission]. although, I just learned to deal with tranny. I just bypass 5th gear in regular driving. It solves issue of needless shifting of too-closely-spaced-gearbox.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You can thank Toyota Unintended Accleration for the laziness. Also the smaller engines do have a like a two and half liter will have a bigger throttle body than does a 2.0T by about 10-15 mm. That makes for a big difference in throttle tip in.

      Find a ecu tuned 2.0T and you would change your mine. Add in a 3.6l throttle body on a Ecotec 2.0T and you’ll changed for life.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Heck, I even feel the 2.5 Skyactiv is a bit sluggish, compered to the livelier and revvier, albeit less powerful, 2.0.”

    Hey – I like my pre-skyactive 2L better than 2.5L skyactiv. Although, I have to admit, my driving in ’17 Mazda6 returns 1.5mpg more than same driving in ’11 Mazda3 2L. Also, it is quiet ride in more comfortable seats, and my right knee doesn’t constantly rub the trim. But if you asked me, what is the worst part of your car, I would say, the engine [and transmission]. although, I just learned to deal with tranny. I just bypass 5th gear in regular driving. It solves issue of needless shifting of too-closely-spaced-gearbox.


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