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    William Maley

    2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring

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    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    September 12, 2013

    The name of the game in the midsize sedan class is to build something that appeals to everyone. Just look at most of the sedans on the marketplace and they are similar to one another.

    But what if an automaker decides not to follow the crowd? Go to the beat of its own drum? You would likely end up with something like the 2014 Mazda6. The new 6 is Mazda's first midsize sedan without the oversight of former parent Ford. As a result, Mazda could create the midsize sedan it wanted to. A little bit of SKYACTIV Technology, a dash of Mazda's Kodo design language, some lightness, and the fun to drive aspect the company is known for.

    But is this right move for a company which is still in a fair bit of trouble?

    In my book, the 2014 Mazda6 has to be the most gorgeous midsize sedan on sale today. The Kodo design language gives a distinctive look and identity for the vehicle. A flat front-end greets you with a five-point grille and chrome trim running along the outer edge. Along the side are a set of front fenders that flow into the front doors. A set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels come standard on Grand Touring and add a touch of class.

    sml_gallery_10485_686_59449.jpg
    I wish I could say the same for the Mazda6's interior. Much like the CX-5, the Mazda6's interior leaves a lot to be desired. Despite designers adding a piece of contrasting trim along the along the dashboard, I was wishing for a bit more. If Mazda can produce some great styling on the outside, why can't they on the inside? Materials and build quality are excellent though.

    Another problem that I have with the current crop of Mazda's is the optional navigation unit. While the maps from TomTom provide very good information, the interface is a bit ugly and dated. Throw in the fact that the head unit took thirty seconds to connect my phone up to the bluetooth system and almost two minutes for it to find my iPod, Mazda needs some serious help here.

    sml_gallery_10485_686_815122.jpg
    As for comfort and space, the Mazda6 does a decent job. Front seat passengers sit in heavily bolstered seats with heat. Back seat passengers will find a decent amount of legroom. Headroom is tight for those taller passengers.

    But.. Mazda is known for building driver's cars. So how does it drive? On to page 2!


    Under the hood is Mazda's 2.5L SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder engine with 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic, though a six-speed manual is available on the Mazda6 Sport and Touring models. The 2.5 makes the Mazda6 feel plenty powerful. The engine's power band does require you to wring its neck somewhat (above 2,500 rpms), but you don't mind as the engine sounds very refined as it climbs in rpms. The six-speed automatic is very quick in shifts whether up or down. Also, the automatic didn't experience the stumbling problem with downshifts that I have complained about in my past CX-5 reviews.

    sml_gallery_10485_686_486594.jpg
    Fuel economy wise, the 2014 Mazda6 returns 26 City/38 Highway/30 Combined. During my week of mostly city driving, I saw an average of 28 MPG. Out of the freeway for a quick jaunt, I saw my number rise to 36 MPG.

    Mazdas are known for their fun to drive trait and the new 6 continues that. A sharp and nicely-weighted steering system, stiff chassis, and tuned suspension make the Mazda6 a very enjoyable midsize sedan to throw around. Driving on one of the test roads I use for vehicles, I found myself smiling because of how much fun I was having.

    sml_gallery_10485_686_630935.jpg
    Mazda did strike balance between sport and comfort with the new 6. The suspension copes pretty well when soaking up bumps and road imperfections. The only thing I wished Mazda did better was more sound insulation. This is very noticeable on the freeway as there is a surprising amount of road noise.

    The 2014 Mazda6 isn't for everyone and that's ok. Mazda isn't trying to go for the jugular of the midsize sedan market. Instead, they're offering a vehicle for those who want something a bit different. The 6 largely succeeds here with a fun and nimble chassis, surprising fuel economy, and very distinctive fuel economy. It does miss on interior styling, space, and sound insulation.

    The Mazda6 dares to be different. Whether this works or not remains to be seen.

    gallery_10485_686_1048629.jpg

    Disclaimer: Mazda provided the 6, insurance, and one tank of gas.

    Year: 2014

    Make: Mazda

    Model: 6

    Trim: Grand Touring

    Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G Four-Cylinder

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700

    Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/38/30

    Curb Weight: 3,792 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan

    Base Price: $29,495.00

    As Tested Price: $31,490.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    MRCC and FOW Package - $900.00

    Soul Red Paint - $300.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Awesome write up. Very enjoyable reading.

    I have to say that I like that this car does not have that freakin big ugly black smiling mouth, yet the over all style is bland and to me very uninspiring.

    The interior is just terrible with the bland dash, Pimple on the center of the steering wheel and then the white type seats that will show all the dirt in the world. Just a terrible job.

    What is up with everyone thinking the world wants 4 door Coupe style sedans? No headroom and clearly not much room period for big people like me. I suspect this will fit me like my sisters Mazda 6 which means I will not be comfortable in it and could not go on road trips. Looks like they used 5'8" as the average size to build the car for again.

    One thing noticed is that the fit and finish based on the pictures does look good. I did not find anything out of alignment or to big or small of a gap. Really consistent.

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    I like the Mazda6 and I think the company did a pretty good job with all the attention to detail and the overall designing. But yeah, the interior sounds a bit disappointing as it looks. They're going to have to up their game there.

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    nice article, agree on road noise. that was the most evident deficiency of the car when i drove it.

    also, to me, it did not seem terribly fast, but it does have good test numbers.

    I think most average drivers would prefer the Fusion over the 6 because it is more sedate. Both are equally excellent to me.

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    Excellent writing! It's a turn off to hear that it takes that long to hook up an iPod though. I might as well hook up a AUX cable and do it the old fashioned way! It does look like it does something for the long trips but it looks like it has a lot of missing things in the interior of the car. Maybe they'll improve this in their next model.

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    You people bashing the interior are laughable...the conservative styling combined with perfect ergonomics and high quality materials are exactly what people who have taste want...the huge Cylon space craft button cladded centre stack multi screened jokes car makers impose on the public are cheesy looking at best! The 6's controls are initiative and the driving position is perfect! I'm betting none of you have even been in one. Love the rubber necking Dugly Acura drivers staring at me from their overated FWD Luxo crap that costs over double what I paid for my 6 LmFAO!

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    The 6 is pretty but it's interior is a bit of a letdown. So is the fact that 185 HP is the best you can get. Prospective buyers must realize that Zoom zoom is a thing of the past for this car as far as acceleration goes and that any one of it's competitors optional turbo 4's or V6's will effortlessly dispatch this car.

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    The rumour is the in car entertainment and NAV for the CX5 and Mazda6 will get updated to similar tech as the Mazda3 within a year.

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    • By William Maley
      It feels weird to be writing a review of the previous-generation Mazda3 when the new model is currently sitting out front at dealers. But I find this situation to be unique because I had the chance to explore a 2019 Mazda3 to get some first impressions while working on a review of the 2018 model. This gives me a chance to compare the two in certain aspects, along with pondering the question of whether or not the previous model is still a good buy.
      Despite the new model taking the styling up another level, the outgoing model is still a looker. From the bold front end with a large grille and slightly angled headlights, to sculpting running along the sides, the 2018 3 still stands out in the compact crowd. The older design also allows for slightly better rear headroom and a larger area of glass for improved visibility.  But the new 3 holds a significant edge over the old model when it comes to the interior. The modern design and use of high-quality materials really help boost Mazda’s ambitions of becoming something more premium. But the 2018 model I found to have a slightly easier center stack layout and more interior room. One item I didn’t get the chance to play within the 2019 Mazda3 is the infotainment system. Aside from boasting a larger screen, Mazda has also dropped the touchscreen functionality. The latter has been a big issue on some of the recent Mazda vehicles I have driven, including the 2018 3. It is difficult to figure out which parts of the screen are touch-enabled and which aren’t. The system is also beginning to show its age somewhat as the system showed some slowdown in certain areas such as connecting to my phone via Bluetooth. Under the hood of the 2018 model is either a 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder. My tester had the latter which produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. This engine can also be found under 2019 Mazda3, albeit slightly tweaked - 186 for both horsepower and torque. I find the Mazda3 to be the best application for the 2.5 engine. The lighter weight of the vehicle allows the 2.5 to provide a smooth and quick acceleration for most situations you find yourself in. However, the 2.5 feels like it is running out of breath when going above 70 mph, making passing and merging onto a highway slightly difficult. Where the 3 really shines is down a twisty road. Very few vehicles can match the sharp handling characteristics on offer. The suspension keeps the vehicle level when cornering and quickly respond to change in direction. Steering is quick and features a nice weight when turning. Ride quality is slightly rough with a fair number of bumps coming inside. Some of this can be attributed to the 18-inch wheels fitted on my tester.  Should you consider a 2018 Mazda3 when the bright and shiny 2019 3 is available now? I can only give a half-answer as I haven’t driven the 2019 model yet. But having sat in one, I can see why someone would consider it. The impressive design inside and out can make you believe you’re driving something from a luxury brand. The 2018 model still has some things going for it such as having slightly more interior space, similar fuel economy figures, and dealers beginning to lower prices on them to get them out. As I am writing this (May 5th), I have seen dealers in my local drop prices by $1,000 to $3,000 on 2018 models. Right now, I would be willing to pocket the extra cash and go with a 2018 Mazda3. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 3
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline:  Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00

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