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2014 Mazda6 zoom-zooms into Canada (video)

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Marie-Laurence Paquin
Originally introduced at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the all-new 2014 Mazda6 goes on sale this month with a starting MSRP of $24,495.

Featuring some impressive technological advancements, this midsize Japanese sedan is powered by a new 2.5L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. A 2.2L SKYACTIV-D diesel variant will follow in the second half of the year, making Mazda the first Asian manufacturer to offer a modern, clean-diesel engine in a non-commercial vehicle.

A name to remember
SKYACTIV technology involves key innovations in four areas (engine, transmission, body and chassis), all aimed at improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. Direct injection and a high compression ratio are just some of the tricks in the bag.

The 2014 Mazda6 is projected to burn as little as 7.6L/100km in the city with the optional 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission, and 8.1L/100km when mated to the standard 6-speed manual transmission. On the highway, these figures drop to 5.1L/100km and 5.3L/100km, respectively.

Mazda’s capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system, called i-ELOOP, also makes its debut on the 2014 Mazda6. It relies on an electric motor or alternator to generate electricity as the car decelerates, thereby recovering a portion of the its kinetic energy to power electrical components such as the climate control system and audio features. By taking some of the burden off the engine, i-ELOOP is expected to improve overall fuel economy by 10%.

Available in the top-of-the-line model, i-ACTIVSENSE is a series of new advanced safety technologies designed to aid the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions, and reducing the severity of accidents when they occur. The most notable include Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), and Smart Brake Support (SBS).

Three trim levels
The 2014 Mazda6 lineup will be comprised of three models: GX, GS, and GT. All will feature a long list of standard equipment, such as keyless entry and push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5.8" colour touch screen audio display, 17" alloy wheels, LED taillights, and heated exterior mirrors with turn signals.

Moving up to the Mazda6 GS ($28,395) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Human-Machine Interface (HMI) commander for multimedia, fog lamps and more. There's a Luxury Package with leather upholstery, 8-way power driver's seat, power driver lumbar support, leather-like door trim, and a navigation system.

Finally, the GT model ($32,195) includes all of the above, plus 19'' wheels, HID headlights, and so on. A Technology Package adds SIRIUS XM satellite radio and the aforementioned i-ACTIVSENSE safety suite.

Sensational design
The 2014 Mazda6 is largely inspired from the stunning TAKERI concept. The long hood and aggressive front fascia give it a distinctive look, while the Euro-flavoured rear section contributes to an overall design that's equal parts stylish and sporty. Meanwhile, the interior tastefully combines technology with a clean layout.

The latest generation of the Japanese automaker's midsize sedan is a very pleasant surprise and should fare pretty well in a cutthroat market segment. It might even become a new benchmark like the Mazda CX-5 did.

Marie-Laurence Paquin
Marie-Laurence Paquin
Automotive expert