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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
      Like life, reviewing vehicles sometimes mean having a curveball thrown your way. Originally, I was going to be reviewing the Chrysler 200 before its production run would end. Sadly, the 200 was pulled out of Chrysler’s test fleet before I was able to drive. But sometimes, that curveball can be a positive. In this case, a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn would take its place. More importantly, it would be equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. We like this engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. How would it fare in the Ram 1500? Quite well.
      The EcoDiesel V6 in question is a turbocharged 3.0L with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test truck came with four-wheel drive, but you can order the EcoDiesel with two-wheel drive. The EcoDiesel might not have the roar or performance figures of the 5.7L V8 (0-60 takes about 9 seconds for the diesel compared to just a hair over 7 seconds for the V8), but it is a very capable engine. There is a lot of punch on the low end of the rpm band and the engine never feels that it is running out of breath the higher you climb in speed.  You can tell the EcoDiesel is a diesel during start up as it has distinctive clatter. Also, it takes a few seconds for the engine to start up if you let the truck sit for awhile. But once the engine is going, you can’t really tell its a diesel. Whether you’re standing outside or sitting inside, the V6 is quiet and smooth. The eight-speed automatic is one of the best transmissions in the class as it delivers imperceptible gear changes. In terms of towing, the EcoDiesel V6 has a max tow rating of 9,210 pounds (regular cab with 2WD). The crew cab with 4WD drops the max tow rating to 8,610 pounds. This does trail the V8 considerably (max tow rating of 10,640). But the EcoDiesel makes up for this in terms of fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined for the EcoDiesel equipped 4WD. Our average for the week was a not too shabby 23.4 mpg. This generation of the Ram 1500 has garnered a reputation for having one of the best rides in the class. We can’t disagree. The coil-spring setup on the rear suspension smooths out bumps and other road imperfections very well.  Our truck also featured the optional air suspension which is more focused on improving the capability of the pickup and not ride comfort. There are five different ride height settings that allow for easier access when getting in and out of a truck to increasing ground clearance when going off-road. The air suspension will also level out the truck if there is a heavy load in the bed or pulling a trailer. The Ram 1500’s exterior look hasn’t really changed much since we reviewed one back in 2014. Up front is a large crosshair grille finished in chrome and large rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. The Laramie Longhorn features it own design cues such as two-tone paint finish, 20-inch wheels, and large badges on the front doors telling everyone which model of Ram you happen to be driving. Inside, the Laramie Longhorn is well appointed with real wood trim on the dash and steering wheel, high-quality leather upholstery for the seats, and acres of soft-touch plastics. Some will snicker at the seat pockets that are designed to look saddle bags, complete with a chrome clasp.  Comfort-wise, the Laramie Longhorn’s interior scores very high. The seats provide excellent support for long trips, and no one sitting in the back will be complaining about the lack of head and legroom. One nice touch is all of the seats getting heat as standard equipment, while the front seats get ventilation as well. The UConnect system is beginning to show its age with an interface that is looking somewhat dated and certain tasks taking a few seconds more than previous versions. There is an updated UConnect system that debuted on the 2017 Pacifica with a tweaked interface and quicker performance. Hopefully, this is in the cards for the 2017 Ram 1500. As for pricing, the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 comes with a base price $52,365. With options including the 3.0L EcoDiesel, our as-tested price was $60,060. Sadly this is the new reality for pickup trucks. Many buyers want the luxuries and features found on standard vehicles and are willing to pay for it. The Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 can justify the price for what it offers, but it is still a lot of money to drop. The nice thing about the Ram 1500 is the number of trims on offer. You’ll be able to find a model that should fit your needs and price range. Personally, I would be happy with a Big Horn or Laramie as they would offer everything I would want or need in a truck. But if you want something luxurious with a cowboy twist, you can’t go wrong with Laramie Longhorn. The EcoDiesel is just the cherry on top.   
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Diesel
      Year: 2016
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: 1500 Crew Cab
      Trim: Laramie Longhorn
      Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 3,600
      Torque @ RPM: 420 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $52,365
      As Tested Price: $60,060 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - $3,120.00
      4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,695.00
      Wheel to Wheel Side Steps - $600.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $280.00
      Cold Weather Group - $235.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $75.00

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