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    2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring



    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 has been a couple of years since we last checked out the Toyota 4Runner. Since that time, the crossover marketplace has grown even further and becoming the clear choice for many consumers. But there are still some who want/need the capability of an SUV like the 4Runner. Who should consider it?
      Toyota hasn’t changed the 4Runner’s exterior since we last checked it out. This isn’t a bad thing since one of the things I liked about it was the styling. The front end still looks like it is wearing a muzzle with a large surround for the grille and chunky front bumper. Other design details to take in are a set of flared out wheel arches, hood scoop, and rear tailgate with a window that can be raised or lowered. The interior follows the exterior with no real changes. Many materials are of the hard plastic variety which is ok considering the off-road character of the 4Runner. Having materials that can stand up to rough and tumble of off-road conditions isn’t a bad thing. The chunky knobs and simple layout of the dashboard are still here, making it easy to find certain controls when on the move. It would be nice if Toyota could swap the 6.1-inch touchscreen for something a little bit larger. It isn’t as easy to read at a glance and more often than not, you’ll be hitting the wrong touchscreen button. At least the Entune infotainment system is simple to understand. Space is plentiful for passengers in both rows with an abundance of head and legroom. There is the option of a third row, but it would be wise to skip it since it isn’t comfortable for most people to due to the minuscule amount of legroom. The powertrain remains a 4.0L V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission. Most trims will have the choice of either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The TRD Pro and Trail (the model seen here) only come with four-wheel drive. The power figures may make you believe that the 4Runner has enough grunt for the daily grind, but it falters once you take it out on the road. Around town, the V6 provides a decent amount of grunt. But where the engine falters is trying to make a pass or merging onto a freeway. It seems to make more noise than actual power in these situations. The automatic transmission provides smooth gear changes. But adding an extra gear would not be a bad thing since would drop engine rpm on the expressway and improve overall fuel economy. I got an average of 19 mpg for the week - EPA fuel economy figures stand at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined for 4WD models. SUVs have made progress in terms of ride and handling, but you wouldn’t know that if you were driving a Toyota 4Runner. Take for example the ride quality. At low speeds, the 4Runner’s suspension does a good job with smoothing over bumpers. At higher speeds such as driving on a freeway, the ride becomes very bouncy. Going around a corner isn’t a pleasant experience as there is a fair amount of body lean. Steering is on the heavy and makes certain tasks such as pulling into a parking space a bit of a chore. But the 4Runner does redeem itself when it comes to off-road driving. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to take this 4Runner off-road which is quite a shame because the Trail adds some goodies to help when it comes to going off the beaten path. There is a locking rear differential, Crawl Control which is a low-speed cruise control system to allow the SUV go through a rocky trail, Multi-Terrain Select that alters throttle and traction control settings for various conditions, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that adjusts the suspension to allow for more wheel travel. The Toyota 4Runner is an old-school SUV wrapped up in modern clothing. It makes no apologies for what it is and that is something I respect. This is a model that should be considered by those who want to go to special place in the woods or out in the desert on a regular basis. If you’re not planning to go off-road on a regular basis, then the 4Runner is a poor choice. Stick with a crossover or something like a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Toyota
      Model: 4Runner
      Trim: Trail Premium
      Engine: 4.0L DOHC Dual VVT-i 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, 4WD
      Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18
      Curb Weight: 4,750 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $39,095
      As Tested Price: $40,148 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge and $750.00 'Keep it Wild' savings)
      Options:
      Remote Engine Start - $499.00
      All Weather Mats/Cargo Tray - $200.00
      Cargo Cover - $155.00
      Cargo Net - $49.00

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