All-wheel-drive Mazda 6 Prospects Looking Very Iffy

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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  • 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.

  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.
  • Johnster "Vale" is the [s]cheap[/s] lower-priced performance version with black trim and stiff suspension."Mist" is the "DeLuxe" version with a bit more chrome and trim. (Sort of like the "Decor Package" option.)"Magentic" is the full-on Brougham treatment (in its current state) with more chrome trim than the "Mist" and all sorts of gimmicky electronic features inside. (Sadly, it will not include simulated landau irons or a vinyl covered roof, even as an option.)"Aurora" is the Oldsmobile of Cadillacs (sort of like the old Cadillac Calais). No, that's not right. It's the top-of-the-line model, sort of a "Grand Touring" version, with not as much chrome as the "Magentic" but all of the gimmicky electronic features and a stiffer suspension.
  • Drew8MR Why can't CARB leave hobbyists alone? Maybe lay off the low hanging fruit and go after the gross polluters. Bring back the rolling exemption.