2014 mazda 6

The 2014 Mazda Mazda6 has been completely re-styled, with Mazda’s flagship mid-sized sedan now offering best-in-class highway MPG and a new diesel engine option, making Mazda the first Japanese automaker to bring clean diesel to the U.S.  The all-new 2014 Mazda6 offers competitive pricing with a range of options going from a base model sedan all the way into the premium market with high-end offerings often only seen on luxury vehicles.

2014 Mazda6 LAAS (36)

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Mazda
  • Year, Model: 2014 Mazda6
  • Class: Sedan
  • Powertrain: 2.5L gasoline, 2.2L clean diesel
  • Base Price: $20,880
  • Availability: Now (diesel coming later in 2013)

Overview

Mazda changed just about everything about this sedan except its competitive price point, contemporary but sporty look, and great fuel efficiency.  The 2014 Mazda6 sees some very updated styling with great lines promising a premium feel.

From the less pronounced front grille, the hood slopes quietly to the windscreen while the fenders aggressively flare over the tires to add a hint of muscle and to emphasize the new, elongated headlamps.  The bumper flare continues into the door to just under the side mirrors.  A running board line runs along the bottom of the doors to add character while the slim, sloping roof tapers to the deck lid where the quarter panels bulge ever so slightly from underneath the European-swish rear pillar.  The clipped deck lid ends in a small aerodynamic spoiler flare.  The wide, thin rear tail lamps mirror the front head lamps and trim over the latter half of them swooshes across the rear to create a split point and overhang for the license plate holder.  On sportier models such as the GT, twin tailpipes have their tips coming from under the integrated rear bumper.

Wheel options on the 2014 Mazda6 are excellent alloy choices with various levels of refinement or muscle, depending on owner’s preference.  The five-point, split-spoke wheels on the premium models are beautiful and go well with the chrome trim those models employ.

2014 Mazda6 Sport (30)

The new Mazda6 offers a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine paired to either a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or a SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission.  While the manual will appease the sport-minded driver, it loses about one mile per gallon in efficiency compared to the new-generation automatic, which achieves 26/38 mpg city/highway for 30 combined (EPA numbers).  38 mpg is class-leading for the mid-sized 2014 model year.  Later in the year, a SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine option will be offered on the 2014 Mazda6 with final specifications announced at that time.

Three trim levels are available in the Mazda6: i Sport, i Touring, and the i Grand Touring.

The entry-level i Sport starts at $20,880 MSRP (plus destination), which is only $155 more than the 2013 base model Mazda6.  It comes with the manual transmission standard, but can be upgraded to the automatic as an option for about two thousand more.  Standard equipment is exceptional, including push-button start, pollen-filtered air conditioning, tilt-telescope steering column, steering-mounted audio and cruise control buttons, 17-inch alloy wheels, and USB connection ports.  Adding the auto trans brings Bluetooth connectivity, a 5.8-inch color touch screen at the center console, a rearview camera, HD Radio, Pandora connectivity, Radio Broadcast Data System information, SMS text message receipt/delivery on-screen, E911 automatic emergency notification (no cell service required), and audio menu voice command operations.  That is a lot of functionality for a base model vehicle at this entry-level price point.

The mid-level i Touring trim starts at $24,495 (plus destination) and upgrades to larger 19-inch alloy wheels and with all of the i Sport with the automatic transmission package options.  It also includes dual-zone automatic climate controls, leatherette-trimmed sport seating, a six-way powered driver’s seat, and Commander Switch for operating the 5.8-inch display from the steering wheel.

The Touring Technology package adds to that at an additional two thousand dollars, adding TomTom navigation, Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound (11 speakers), an advanced keyless entry system, automatic on/off headlamps, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, auto-dimming driver’s side outside mirror, heated outside mirrors, and the all-new Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system.  SCBS is a new safety feature that stops the car at low speeds when pedestrians or objects are in front of the vehicle.

2014 Mazda6 Sport (5)

The highest trim level for the 2014 Mazda6 is the i Grand Touring, starting at $29,495 MSRP (plus destination).  This package is a true premium-level vehicle which includes all of the upgrades to the i Touring with Touring Technology plus exclusive platinum silver 19-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, an accentuated rear lip spoiler, bi-xenon high-intensity discharge headlights with auto-leveling, leather-trimmed sport seating and heated front seats.  The 6-way power driver’s seat is updated to an 8-way to include power lumbar support, paddle shifting is added to the steering column, and a four month complimentary Sirius Satellite Radio subscription is included.  For $900 more, the MRCC/FOW Package adds Radar Cruise Control and Forward Obstruction Warning for added active safety.  In the second half of the year, a new Advanced Package will also be offered to add Lane Departure Warning and High Beam Control as well as i-ELOOP.

i-ELOOP is a brake energy regeneration system that stores energy from slowing/stopping in capacitors, which is then bled into the power system and battery to replace the alternator for short periods, saving fuel.

Putting it all together, the 2014 Mazda6 offers premium styling, an excellent range of trim packages, and soon will include a highly efficient diesel engine option as well.

Competition

Key competition for the 2014 Mazda6 is the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu.  The mid-sized market is the largest in the U.S., comprising more than a quarter of all auto sales, and competition is fierce.  The Camry was fully updated in 2012 and will likely see a mid-cycle refresh for 2015.  The Fusion, Altima, Accord, and Malibu all saw full upgrades for 2013.  In this, the Mazda6 has had a disadvantage until now.

Compared to the others, the 2014 Mazda6 beats all but perhaps the Fusion in styling while in fittings it’s comparable to most of the competition at the base level.  Interior room is superior to the smaller Malibu and more cramped Accord, but about equal to the Camry, Fusion, and Altima.

The Mazda6’s gasoline engine is equivalent to the base engines in most of the competition, but it will be the first to offer diesel.  This will set it apart from the others, but with the Camry offering a hybrid and the Fusion offering five different powertrains (including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, etc), Mazda will still have its work cut out for it gaining market share.

Overall, though, the 2014 Mazda6 is a contender in the mid-sized market and will definitely hold its own and likely outpace most of the others.  Those will likely get back in the ring, however, with updates in the next couple of years, so Mazda should aggressively go after sales in the mean time.

Strong Points

The design is beautiful and outclasses most of the cars in this relatively boring segment.  It definitely appeals to a younger, more upscale market, even if the price tag isn’t so.

The suite of options is superb and beyond what many in this segment are currently showcasing.  At it’s base level, the 2014 Mazda6 is a good value for the package while at its top level it will appeal to even entry-level luxury shoppers looking at premium vehicles.

Weaknesses

The greatest weakness of the 2014 Mazda6 will be the Mazda nameplate and limited market penetration.  The Japanese automaker is still the odd man out in terms of market share, but aggressive advertising and a growing consumer base in their favor, they may be able to overcome this.

The Mazda6 also has less cargo space than some of the competition, a big selling point in the family car market.

Conclusions

All in all, Mazda has brought a beautiful, but strong fighter to the mid-sized ring that can definitely stand up to the competition.  The 2014 Mazda6 offers a lot without charging a premium price, which will appeal to both Mazda’s base of consumers and new shoppers looking to change brands.

Video Review

Gallery

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Test Period Length and Limitations
Car was not driven.  Impressions are from its introduction at the  2012 LA Auto Show and our hands-on time with a Mazda representative at the 2013 Denver Auto Show.

2013MazdaMazda6-rightside-presented-AOA

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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