All-wheel-drive Mazda 6 Prospects Looking Very Iffy

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
all wheel drive mazda 6 prospects looking very iffy

Back in January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration listed crash test ratings for the 2018 Mazda 6 in two distinctive flavors: the front-wheel model and the… all-wheel-drive variant? Wait a minute, Mazda isn’t making an AWD drive version of the sedan. Right?

While there’s been plenty of confirmation for the Mazda’s new 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, we hadn’t heard anything about all-wheel drive. When questioned, the automaker said it couldn’t say anything about it one way or the other. However, Mazda North America CEO Masahiro Moro has admitted there could be a layout issue that would make pairing the new engine with all-wheel drive exceedingly difficult.

It may have become too troublesome to even pursue the effort, as all mentions of the AWD Mazda 6 appear to have vanished from the NHTSA’s website. Moro said he still wants all-wheel action to play a part in Mazda’s future.

“I think we are not able to combine four-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter turbo. We have a layout issue with the sedans, that’s why a four-wheel drive isn’t deployed on the Mazda 3 and 6 so far,” Moro told CarAdvice. “Four-wheel drive becomes a premium queue for US consumers and obviously I have asked our R&D department to think about how we can accommodate four-wheel drive capability in the future.”

Tapping down the remaining nails in the all-wheel drive sedan’s coffin is CarBuzz, which noticed the 2018 model is now certified for sale in California. While the 6 can be had with either a naturally aspirated or turbocharged engine, the California Air Resource Board doesn’t include a secondary line for drive type. Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy listings didn’t differentiate between FWD and AWD for the 2018 model year.

Since it’s unlikely that Mazda dropped the front-drive configuration to pursue an unproven AWD version of the sedan exclusively, it looks like that new turbo engine will remain the cornerstone of this year’s mechanical updates. Taking into account what Moro said, we wouldn’t expect to see an AWD version until after the current generation of the Mazda6 is retired.

Sorry, folks. There’s always Subaru.

[Image: Mazda]

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3 of 71 comments
  • NoID NoID on Feb 20, 2018

    The stated reason for likely not achieving an AWD solution for this vehicle is completely believable for me. My time working in the automotive industry has taught me that most of the time it is packaging constraints that kill powertrain / driveline projects. So many of the cool cars that you wish the OEMs would build weren't stopped by penny pinching, a lack of creativity, or the Illuminati. Stuff just doesn't fit together.

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Feb 20, 2018

    AWD + turbo will price this thing in dangerous territory. Mazda needs to figure out what the hell its doing.

    • NormSV650 NormSV650 on Feb 23, 2018

      When you can get a new 2017 Buick Regal 2.0T with AWD for under $24K, that is a tough sell and better off just torque limiting it in lower gears or with steer angle limiting.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.