A flagship worthy of the title
Mazda’s on a roll
The completely redesigned 2014 Mazda6 is a stunner. There is no other way to describe the automotive physical specimen that sat silently parked in front of my house each morning of my test week.
The silence was fleeting as the moment the engine burst to life, the birds would scatter from the trees and passersby would turn in confusion. Seconds later, the engine would settle and the blissful driving experience delivered by the new Mazda6 commenced.
Mazda has hit a cycle with the 2014 Mazda6 as it caters to efficiency, performance, styling, and value. Mazda’s on a roll for the 2014 model year.
What is a Mazda6?
The 2014 Mazda6 competes in one of the toughest segments in North America. In the U.S., midsize sedans still hold the top spot with the largest slice of the sales pie. In Canada, this category regularly finds itself in the top biggest sellers. In other words, the Mazda6 has its work cut out for it.
In essence, the new Mazda6 has become the brand’s flagship car and for a number of reasons. Not only does it carry the brand’s latest KODO design language and direction, but it is also built as a showcase for SKYACTIV technology; much like the 2014 CX-5, but meant for a larger audience.
The 2014 Mazda6 features one engine, regardless of trim and it is Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.5L 4-cylinder. The impressive piece of machinery pumps out 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. To it can be mated a 6-speed manual gearbox (a rarity in 2013) or, alternatively, a 6-speed automatic.
Currently, and probably for good as the wagon will probably sadly never come, the Mazda6 is available as a sedan and in three different trims. Prices range from $24,495 for a base GX all the way to $34,195 for the as-tested GT with automatic transmission and Technology Package.
Driving the Mazda6
Once past the aural assault of the cold start, the 2014 Mazda6 drive as good as its exterior shell suggests. This is a rare treat for testers like me as I often find myself with a car that’s all show, no go. The opposite can also be true.
Much like the CX-5, the transmission is especially good and it makes sense; both are identically geared, only the final drive differs. This translates to brisk acceleration and proper and clean up- and downshifts.
Some may protest the lack of a more powerful engine choice, but the 2.5L is plenty strong. Thanks to the transmission, passing manoeuvres are brisk as is acceleration from a dead stop.
Taking the 2014 Mazda6 out on the road is a good experience. The suspension expertly marries comfort and sporty handling. The rigid chassis plays a strong role in making this midsize sedan ride as well as it does. It positively rivals all other Japanese offerings in the segment, possibly surpassing all of them.
As for steering, the “conventional” (non-electric) variable-assist power assistance is pleasant and well calibrated. Where the brakes are concerned, they too perform admirably well.
Inside and out of the Mazda6
I believe I’ve already made it abundantly clear here (and everywhere online) that the 2014 Mazda6 is honk-worthy hot. My evaluated GT sports the large (yet necessary) 19” alloy wheels that further add a layer of dynamism to the car’s slippery shape.
The cabin is more of the same: Elegance and modernism blend to near perfection. In fact, there’s a German quality to it where the level of seriousness is reminiscent of Volkswagen. Similarly, there’s a beautiful flow to each of the dashboard’s components mimicking the flow of the exterior body panels.
The off-white leather, black plastics and Soul Red Mica exterior make for a luxury car-like allure.
The front seats are quite comfortable, as is the rear bench. For the driver, the 2014 Mazda6 offers up a sporty driving position that works well with the thick-ish, 3-spoke steering wheel and the mounted shifter paddles.
i-ACTIVSENSE is Mazda-speak for all manner of active and passive safety features. Optional and part of the Technology Package ($2,000) with the GT trim it includes:
Comparing the Mazda6
The 2014 Mazda6 is not in a league of its own. If ever there was a time for Mazda to introduce such a fine car, it was now. The 2013 Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat are impressive in their own right, offering quality and efficiency. While other midsize sedans may sell in greater numbers than the latter, these two have currently established the bar.
Had Mazda unleashed a lesser version of the 6, they would have found themselves in the same position as the last time around. The previous Mazda6 was nice, but that was it; however, this version is amazing and will definitely fare much better.
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