By on March 27, 2019

2018 Mazda 6 Signature front quarter

Changes come to Mazda’s midsize 6 sedan slowly, with mild — some might say imperceptible — styling refreshes and content changes usually occurring halfway through the model year. Last year saw a big and long-awaited addition to the slinky sedan: an available turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four aimed at silencing, once and for all, enthusiasts’ cries of moar powah.

That mill brought 277 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque to a model often regarded as the most engaging midsize on the market, though buyers couldn’t pair it with the base model’s six-speed manual transmission. For 2019, however, it looks like no one will get their hands on a stick.

According to order guides seen by CarsDirect, the manual transmission disappears from the Mazda 6 altogether for 2019, leaving a six-speed automatic as the car’s sole gearbox. Yes, that means the Honda Accord will become the sole mainstream midsizer still available with a stick.

The equipment change also hikes the 6’s entry price. Rising $1,875 from the 2018 model, the base Sport’s after-destination MSRP comes out to $24,720.

2018 Mazda 6 Signature rear quarter

For that sum, buyers get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft, the aforementioned automatic, and a higher level of standard content. The addition of i-Activsense (Smart Brake Support, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control with stop & go) to the base model, combined with the automatic, means the entry-level 6 widens the price gap between it and the newly upscale Mazda 3. Factoring in those former options, the Mazda 6 only increases by $200.

Elsewhere in the 6 lineup, changes are meager for 2019. CarsDirect reports that loftier trims see a price climb of $325 to $725, with the Grand Touring Reserve gaining power folding mirrors. The top-flight Signature model will start at $36,020 after destination.

Production of 2019 models began in February, with delivery to dealers expected next month.

(Update: Drew Cary, senior manager of brand communications for Mazda North American Operations, confirmed the report in an email to TTAC, saying, “As we have moved the Mazda6 upscale with the launch of the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models, we have seen less demand for a manual transmission option.”

Cary pointed to the continued existence of the manual transmission in the Mazda 3 and MX-5 lines, adding, “We will continue to listen to our fans and if their desires should change in future we will respond accordingly.”)

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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60 Comments on “Report: Mazda 6 Drops Its Manual Transmission for 2019...”


  • avatar
    eggsalad

    What was the take rate for 2018? I’d guess 2% or less. Business is business.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I guess I will have to keep mine for looooooooooooong time. Where would I get new one?

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Here comes the why can’t I get a manual transmission with “hand crank” windows crowd……..

    • 0 avatar
      multicam

      I’m part of the manual transmission crowd and hate to see them go just because it’s one fewer option and I think choice is good. I don’t blame manufacturers, it’s just a little disappointing to me and I wish more people wanted them. Not the end of the world or anything.

      Edit: and yes, if I could have ordered hand-crank windows in my Rubicon I would have (or more precisely, if I could have NOT ordered power windows). I had crank windows in my TJ and they were fine.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The numbers I saw showed the turbo Mazda6 to be surprisingly

    slow

    and I believe it’s 227, not 277 hp on regular gas

    but it’s a great car and the manual was excellent

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s maybe .5s faster to 60 and through the quarter with 50 more HP and nearly double the torque vs the NA one. Quite strange. Maybe it is just more relaxed.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Seems like there’s a lot on Mazda lately, maybe its just me.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    The only people who care are the internets and these peiple are cheapos who would never buy one new. Lol

  • avatar

    Another fine model permanently off my list of vehicles to consider.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Alas! But it’s not as though anyone was buying it.

    And, yep, now it’s just the Accord. And on that one, you can get the beefier 2.0T with a manual transmission, in Sport guise.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I was interested in the manual 2.0T Sport for a while. They’re pretty rare, and they’re Hondas, so you can guess how the dealers were pricing them.

      I only drove the automatic. Nice, but not 32 grand nice.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        They are EXTREMELY thin on the ground.

        Heck, my dealer has a sole 2018 2.0T, an automatic Touring model, which I might test-drive this weekend; I am about to E-Mail the salesman who facilitated the deal with the auto broker (now deceased) last time, in order to see if they’ll sell me a car at similar terms. (They are down to two other 1.5T Accords plus that Touring, and over the course of two shipments, have obtained a total of nine 2019 1.5Ts, all CVTs, 3 Sports, 6 LXs. None of those 2019s have moved! They might also have a Hybrid or two in stock.) They will have to factory-order the car I want, a Redondo Red Touring 2.0T.

        In the entire Toledo area, there might actually be an Accord stick or two, but not with the 2.0T!

        Midsize sedans just! Are! Not! Selling!

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          My metro area has about 2M people and it looks like there is only 1 manual sport on dealer lots according to Autotrader, and it’s a 1.5T. About 90 miles away, one dealer has quite a stockpile though. A dozen manual sports, 5x 2.0T and 7x 1.5T, with a decent variety of colors. Pictures confirm they really are manuals, interesting allocation. Reminds me of when I was looking for a Track Pack Mustang and none of the local dealers had them. 3 hours away, one dealer had oodles of them.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Looking at AutoTrader in Atlanta, there are 116 6’s to be had, all of which are automatics. If you want a non-sporty sedan with a manual, better get one now, it’s pretty much just Honda now.

            Mazda is just now building 2019 product? Who thought that one up? They might as well spend the next couple of months clearing out the 2018s and bring out the 202s a couple of months early.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            With the stick, the 1.5 is plenty. Perhaps better than the 2.0. I’d certainly take it over the 2.0, in a manual sedan.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Im very suprised they havent discontinued the 6 yet. The current one dates back to 2013 and its inferior to the honda accord and ford fusion in every. Sales back that up.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Mazda6 sales are about 60% of the much disparaged and lowly Subaru Legacy. Offering a turbo 2.5 didn’t add much shine to it. The only vehicle holding the brand up in the US Market is the CX-5. Mazda would be wise to focus on markets outside the US where it currently sells 74% of its vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      I’ve driven all three in 2018 models. The Fusion Sport had absolutely terrible seats, the Accord Sport 2.0t was okay but with incredible tire noise worse than my current car and a cheapo interior, and the Mazda was nicest overall and best on the highway with the best steering.

      Have you driven all three? You seem to like making absolutist statements, so I thought I’d check to see whether I should pay you any attention.

      • 0 avatar
        3800FAN

        Yes I drove them all. The 6 was all wind noise engine noise tire noise, rough ride, darty overly boosted electric steering with zero feedback and small cramped interior, weak engine that runs out of steam early,,, it was just the most dissapointing car ive ever driven.

        The fusion and accord are great sedans. The 6 is just hype. The first gen 6 was great, gen 2 meh, gen 3 bleh.. sales reflect this.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Anyone who claims that Fusion is better car than ‘6 understands 0 [ZERO] in cars. In fact, car and driver rates ‘6 #2 and Fusion #11. And I agree with them. Fusion is nowhere near. I have not driven newest Accord. When I drove 2017, ‘6 was hands down better. The only thing Accord had on ‘6 is cabin space, which is not most important measure to me. In fact, it was detrimental – stick shift was hard to reach and also seats were not bolstered enough. I felt like a sardine in the can, one little sardine in huge can.
          For 2018, I already don’t like: only turbo, looks cheap, (for automatics) button-shifter – yak. Now, for both, 2016 and 17 I’ve seen fit issues in Accord, so questionable assembly quality. My bro’s car had right mirror camera showing during left turn signal.
          The only thing I don’t like about my mazda 6 is that engine does sound agricultural, especially on cold start.

    • 0 avatar

      Fusion also dates back to 2013. Back then it was better in almost every aspect but now I am not so sure.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I was interested in the manual 2.0T Sport for a while. They’re pretty rare, and they’re Hondas, so you can guess how the dealers were pricing them. The only one I found was loaded up with dealer-added junk (leather seats, door protectors, Tru-Kote, etc.).

    I only drove the automatic. Nice, but not 32 grand nice.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Welp, my plan to keep the 17 for a good long time is proving to be more and more prudent. Nothing compelling coming from anybody. Does this mean maybe the Mazda6 will finally get AWD?

    Maybe I’ll just quit while I’m ahead and get a midlevel trim AWD Mazda3 sedan with an auto. If it’s anything like the transmission in the 2.5 CX-5, I could live with it.

    I wonder how long mechanics will retain the know-how to replace a clutch and deal with manual transmissions. As it is CVTs are the it thing and seem more like replaceable modules versus serviceable components.

    RIP

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I have never needed to replace clutch in my car. One time I bought Nissan 240 with slipping clutch @88K miles. Replaced it myself and drove 100K. Looks like problem was between pedal and steering wheel. My Protege had original clutch ~17years, 195K miles. Crashed my Civic with 167K original clutch. People always say, “need to replace the clutch”. Hmmm. May be need to replace the driver

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Where I live, the default at restaurants is that the valet cannot drive stick shift.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Nobody wants three pedals, everybody wants three rows.

  • avatar
    ajla

    All you guys talking about the Accord, Mazda6, and Fusion when the Camry XSE V6 exists. smh.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    As others have pointed out, the turbo 6 only makes 227 on regular. The typo 277 would even be a nice bump over the 250 it makes on premium. The output is seriously underwhelming for a new turbo with a comparatively generous 2.5 liters of displacement to work with. That engine should have debuted somewhere a lot closer to 300hp.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I understand, turbo engine practically unchanged vs non-turbo. To make more power they would need to fortify the engine

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      As an owner of a 6 grand touring reserve, I disagree. Yes, it’s zero to 60 are behind competitors, it just drives so much better than the Accord, maxima, regal, Sonata turbo, and Passat v6 I drove. The Camry was a non starter as it doesn’t have Android Auto. It’s definitely tuned for 30 to 70mph. I’m seeing 27 suburban city driving and 32 on the highway on premium gas.

      300hp? Didn’t matter in the maxima.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @slavuta–Depends on how you use your vehicle on how long a clutch last. I have had to replace a clutch on 2 trucks. I did use those trucks for hauling some very heavy loads and I had one truck for 14 years and another one I still own after 20 years. Not complaining because I expect maintenance and repairs after many years of usage. I prefer a manual transmission especially in a truck but the only trucks to currently offer manuals are midsize–Tacoma, Frontier, and Colorado/Canyon and then only limited to specific models. One reason I have kept my 99 S-10 which has served me well over the past 20 years. As for Mazda I don’t have anything against Mazda but I would rather have a Honda, Toyota, Kia, or Hyundai. Just my own preference.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    Having bought and owned a 2018.5 Mazda 6 in GT-Reserve trim (soul red, with parchment interior) for the past 6 months, i’m clearly a buyer for the car and in it’s target market. Late 30’s, middle class, own a condo, have 6 cars ranging in age from 1931 to 2018.

    If the 2.5 turbo had been available with a manual transmission I would have ABSOLUTELY purchased it with the third pedal. Alas, it was not, and it’s why I leased the car instead of buying it outright.

    The flappy-paddle gearbox is acceptable and makes driving more fun than a pure automatic. Right now it’s probably a 80/20 split between having the car in “M” (fake manual) and automatic. Ultimately it’s an imitation of having a manual and it doesn’t cut it. The car, however, is fantastic! Couldn’t be happier with it and it definitely moves Mazda into the quasi-luxury area.

    I don’t want to own or drive an Audi/BMW/Merc. Horrific Germanic use of space, numb controls, dull styling (do they even come in a color other than grey-scale on grey-scale?), drab interiors. I also don’t want to drive a Lexus or Acura (barcalounger dull and whats-the-point, respectively).

    This Mazda6 in GT trim checked all the boxes except transmission so it was leased with hopes of something akin to it with a proper manual transmission being available when it comes off-lease.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Mazda: hey we’re the new BMW now

    People: neat

    Mazda: no really, look *eliminates manuals from their lineup*

  • avatar
    ABC-2000

    Manual AT make sense only on your second car, I find myself using “brake hold” when I’m in heavy traffic since I am tired of holding the brake pedal, now, imagine holding the clutch pedal too?
    I drove a manual car for a week in Iceland and I enjoyed every mile, but in city traffic it is no fun at all!


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