Almost 4 years ago, we saw Mazda break away from its partnership with Ford and introduce an aggressive family sedan that became the sedan of all sedans. It was the sporty Mazda that we all appreciated and the benchmark for others to look up to. But there was something lacking. Over the course, we watched the Mazda6 grow and emerge into a premium quality product, that even the Germans could take note from. But there was something still missing. Not anymore…
With the V-6 dying, we knew there was never going to be a chance of seeing six pistons back inside a Mazda. Now with a turbo-four option, this has been a long anticipated wait that we can finally say is over. Carrying over the turbo engine from the large 3-row CX-9 crossover, the Mazda 6 is in for a delightful delicacy.
Carried over from the previous year, the Mazda 6 will continue to be offered with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine – horsepower has been bumped up to 187 with darn near close in torque to match. The new 250-horsepower turbo-four is also carried over from the larger three-row CX-9 crossover and makes its way into the Grand Touring and two new trim levels, the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. Sadly, no manual option is available on the turbo engine – so if like to row your own gears, there is a lot of sacrificing as it is only available on the base Sport model starting at $23,000.
In its classic Mazda Soul Red, our top shelf Mazda 6 was in Signature form – everything was about as prestige as it got when it came to the mid-size sedan segment. With a suede lined interior, LED lights all around, and air conditioning seats that froze our butts off – the Mazda 6 was one heck of premium sedan and all for a reasonable $35,645 (before the cost of paint, cause that Soul Red is a $600 option.)
There is a unique touch to its performance value. The Mazda 6 can be filled with regular 87-octane fuel, but with that, it only performs 227-horspower. If you want the full 250-horsepower, some pennies will have to be forked over for the premium 89-octane. What’s another 45 cents a gallon anyways, right? Off the line, the turbo is ready to pounce, climbing to 60 mph in just under 6.5 seconds. Now those numbers aren’t significant as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord can see the same speed in about a second less than the Mazda.
Around town, the turbo is exactly what the 6 needed. It applies the confidence we’re looking for. Straight line acceleration or passing other motorist goes without hesitation. However, the transmission on the other hand, carries a different agenda. Following the SKYACTIV nameplate, the six-speed automatic loves to shift. It shuffles through its gears quickly being able to achieve over 35 miles to the gallon on the highway – however – in the same sake of calling upon the power, the transmission feels hindered and lethargic. This can all be resolved by using the steering wheel paddle shifters – the response from the paddles are fairly responsive and while utilizing SPORT mode, the 6 rev matches for a more fluid experience.
Mazda continues to carry its heritage through the 6 in terms of its chassis development. It’s tight, nimble, and flexible. On a twisty road the handling is stable with a driver connection. We can feel which wheel is gripping in a corner. The steering carries a balanced level of precision and poise characteristics. It rides supremely comfortably with appropriate road conduct allowing for long distance driving willingness.
Our Signature was an absolute dream to sit in. The brown leather interior was a subtle contrast and nice touch to our red exterior. The suede inserts gave it the definitive first-class presence. And with a newly designed dash, the Mazda 6 is even more eye-catching. Everything is laid out exactly where it needs to be, within reach of the driver. The seats are soft and supportive providing ample comfort and rear passengers can find sitting in the back comforting with a heated seat feature.
Mazda has even upgraded its hardware to incorporate the latest craze in technology to be equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Using the rotary knob, everything is easily controllable. Considering our Signature, there was no shortage of technology being equipped with a semi-limited customizable TFT instrument cluster, an upgraded crystal clear heads-up display, and all the latest safety gear with full stop and go capabilities from the adaptive cruise control.
The Mazda 6 has always been a staff favorite here. With its sporty architecture and driving charisma it always proved itself as a worthy family car. Now with a much more premium stature and a new turbocharged engine – the Mazda 6 is exactly the car it should have been four-years ago.
|2018 Mazda6 Signature 2.5T:||$34,750|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$36,435|
|2.5-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 250-Horsepower, 6-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±6.5 seconds|
|Fuel Economy: 23/31/26 (City/Highway/Combined) SSB Fuel Average: 22.6 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±380 Miles|