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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Mazda6 Signature

      The turbo makes the difference

    The Mazda6 is a prime example of how making various improvements throughout the lifecycle can make a vehicle. Since the first model I drove back in 2014, Mazda has been messing around with various aspects such as the interior and NVH levels. Last year saw Mazda make some key changes to 6 with the big news being the introduction of a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder from the CX-9 crossover. This was to address one of the major shortcomings of the sedan, lackluster performance when it comes to making a pass or merging onto a freeway. There are some other minor changes to go with the updated engine that help make the Mazda6 feel a bit more rounded.

    • The turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder produces 227 horsepower (250 on premium fuel) and 310 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic to the front wheels. 
    • I praised this engine in the CX-9 I drove back in the summer with a linear flow of power and no hint of turbo lag. Those carry over to the 6, along with the feeling of confidence that you’ll be able to pass or merge onto a freeway without any issue. It was quite startling how quick the 6 accelerated from 45 to 70 on a freeway on-ramp, only taking a few seconds. The six-speed automatic works seamlessly with the turbo engine, providing snappy up and downshifts.
    • One other trait of the turbo engine I was impressed with was NVH levels. There was barely any engine noise or the whoosh of the turbo when accelerating.
    • Mazda hasn’t messed with the 6’s chassis with the addition of the turbo engine. It still has the planted feeling and minimal body roll that imparts a lot of confidence to a driver. Steering is quick and provides the right balance of weight and feel.
    • One surprise is how the 2018 model rides slightly better than the 2017 model as bumps are better isolated. This might be 
    • Exterior enhancements are small with a new grille design, LED headlights, and the 19-inch wheels. But they do a surprising job of keeping of the 6’s exterior looking fresh.
    • The enhancements for the interior really help Mazda’s ambition to become more premium. The dash has been slightly restyled and now comes with stitched upholstery and natural wood trim. The climate control system has been redesigned that makes it slightly easier to use.
    • Mazda has started rolling out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the 6 for 2018 via an update. My test car had had the update, but I was unable to try it out as I could not pick the option in the system. I’m not sure of the issue, but I hope to try it once again in a future Mazda product.
    • The turbo engine is only available on the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. My test 6 was the top-line Signature that carries a base price of $34,750. With destination and some options, the as-tested price came to $36,140. If I was to buy one, I would drop down to the Grand Touring Reserve which begins at $31,750. I would lose out on the 360-degree camera system, Nappa leather upholstery, and digital gauge cluster. But I would keep a number of desirable features such as the ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, and power front seats.
    • Every Mazda6 review has seen me come to the same conclusion; the sedan is so close to being considered one of the best, but it is missing a certain thing. But this conclusion is different. Mazda has been able to fix the various issues I have complained about over the past few years and now have a very compelling midsize sedan. It's a shame that the 6 along with other midsize sedans are being overshadowed by the likes of crossovers. But for those who still have their heart set on a sedan, then I have no issue in recommending the 6 as an option worthy of consideration.

    Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    2018 Mazda6 Signature Gallery

    Year: 2018
    Make: Mazda
    Model: 6
    Trim: Signature
    Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
    Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26
    Curb Weight: 3,560 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan
    Base Price: $34,750
    As Tested Price: $36,140 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Machine Gray Paint - $300.00
    Scuff Plates - $125.00
    Cargo Mat - $75.00

    Edited by William Maley



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    @William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

    So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

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    2 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    @William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

    So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

    @dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

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    16 minutes ago, William Maley said:

    @dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

    Awesome, much appreciated, thank you.

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    If Chevrolet put the 2.0 into a lower level of Malibu it would be an obvious choice over this...but given the extra power...I think I would take the Mazda over the Malibu.

    Nice looking car and I wish them well with it.

    Chris

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    DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

     

    😛

     

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    2 minutes ago, Suaviloquent said:

    DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

     

    😛

     

    ALWAYS RELEVANT!!!

    The biggest missed place in ALL AUTO REVIEWS is to clearly talk about how people sitting in the front will affect those sitting in the back. There is NEVER a perfect front seat sitting and back seat sitting that fits a perfect 4 or 5 adult placement. This is the LIE that the auto industry has not owned up to. You and your coworkers decide to go out to lunch and your the one who offered to drive. You and one coworker are US average size of 5'8" another is 5'6" tall but very large size and the other is 6'2" tall and you drive a Camry. Who sits where and why. 

    IMHO, ALL Auto Reviews should cover sizing and how it fits for the AVERAGE American but also if you have Large size people or tall people or even very short. 

    Just like many other areas in life that people either try to fit everyone into or ignor it totally, the interior space of sizing for a single person is a lie when you will always have a variety of sized people. They should clearly state a 4 adult person space seating in every car or SUV on how people will fit. Fine if 5'8" tall is the standard they want, but then clearly state how much head room, hip room, leg room, etc. is left or if there is not enough.

    We have discussed many times on how tight the compact to mid size 4 door sedan market is and how even when multiple OEMs state the same or near same seat size, one fits more comfy than another.

    The reviews are heavily biased on just the driver and not taking into account passengers.

    I could go on but I hope you get my point.

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    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

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    9 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

    Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

    My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

    Edited by ykX
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    2 hours ago, ykX said:

    Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

    My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

    That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

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    5 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

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    2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

    Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

    The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

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    8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

    I'm not an Uber driver and would never carpool, so I really don't care.  I've driven before w/ coworkers going to lunch, etc.  Never had anyone complain about backseat space in my Jeeps.    I do recall cramming a couple tall coworkers in the back of my Mustang years ago, was a bit of chore for them getting in and out of the back.  Likewise when I rode in the back of a '15 Mustang and a '76 Porsche 911--tight.  But for a 10 minute ride to lunch, no big deal.

    For people w/ children, that's what minivans and SUVs are for...

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    15 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

    The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

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    2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

    They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..pretty big.  I liked them, had several '99-04 Intrepid rentals, a couple 300Ms, a Concorde and an LHS as rentals back in the day..really liked the design inside and out, and they drove quite nicely.. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    1 minute ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..

    Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6.

    Passat also has decent interior room for a lot terribly large car.

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    2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6. 

    Actually longer than the Impala or LeSabre....the LHS was DTS sized.  The 300M was a bit shorter w/ it's cropped rear. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    6 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

    Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

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    2 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

    Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

    Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

    Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

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    1 minute ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

    Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

    Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

    I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

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    Just now, Drew Dowdell said:

    I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

    I am working on that with the wife. I actually really like the 6th gen Camaro, Also  GM has a fantastic Blue BTW. Interior is an upgrade over 5th gen also.

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    38 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

    Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

    Edit: two average adults in the back with four average adults total.

    Edited by ykX
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    1 minute ago, ykX said:

    Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

    As a sumo wrestler (or at least Sumo/Shrek sized) you would think he would support Japanese products...

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    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    ^ This....

    @dfelt is doomed to a life of Suburbans and Escalades. 

    Yes, like NBA and NFL players..doomed to having to buy full size SUVs to haul around their posse of hangers-on...

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      EPA fuel economy figures for the turbo-four with AWD are 19 City/24 Highway/21 Combined. I saw an average of 20.7 mpg during my week of testing. It should be noted this is the same as the Honda Passport with its slightly more powerful 3.5L V6 producing 280 horsepower.
      The Santa Fe’s ride is still smooth and relaxing over many of the bumps and imperfections that dot the roads of Metro Detroit. It is also surprisingly quiet with barely any wind or road noise coming inside. Handling is where the Santa Fe really surprised me as it felt agile when driven around a bend. There was barely any body roll and steering provided excellent response. 
      On the surface, the 2019 Santa Fe is an improvement over the Santa Fe Sport. It features a fetching design, comfortable ride, simple tech, and a lot of equipment for the money. My Ultimate tester came with an as-tested price of $39,905 and that includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go; blind spot monitoring, Infinity premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, and much more. Build up one of the Santa Fe’s competition to similar specs and you’re looking at spending on average around $5,000 more.
      But the Santa Fe is soured by the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine which appears to have two settings - slow off the line performance and unpredictable acceleration at higher speeds. Until Hyundai can figure out what is going on, stick with the base 2.4L four-cylinder. It may be a little bit underpowered, but at least it is more consistent in its power delivery.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Santa Fe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Santa Fe
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L GDI 16-Valve DOHC CVVT Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,450 - 3,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21
      Curb Weight: 4,085 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama
      Base Price: $38,800
      As Tested Price: $39,905 (Includes $980.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00
    • By William Maley
      Over a year ago, I pitted the Mazda CX-9 against the Volkswagen Atlas to find out which was the better three-row crossover. The CX-9 put up a good fight with a very luxurious interior and impressive driving dynamics. However, the Atlas took home the win as it proved to be the better carrier of passengers and cargo, along with providing a slightly smoother ride. A year on, the CX-9 makes a return to the C&G Detroit Garage to see if it could redeem itself. Spoiler alert: I still feel the same way as I did last year.
      Going on three years, the CX-9 is still one of the best looking three-row crossovers on sale. Its graceful lines, tapered rear pillar, and slim lights make the crossover look more expensive than it actually is. The Grand Touring may miss out on the Nappa leather for the seats and Rosewood trim found on the Signature, it is still a nice place to sit in. Bright metalwork contrasts nicely with soft-touch plastics and leather upholstery on the seats. But the interior also houses some of the CX-9’s key flaws beginning with the seat arrangement. All 2019 CX-9s come with seating for seven people, there is no option for six with a set of captain chairs - that is being rectified for 2020. Those sitting in the second-row will have no complaints about space, but anyone sitting in the third-row will bemoan the lack of legroom. This can improve if the second-row is slid forward. Cargo space is another weak spot. The CX-9 only offers 14.4 cubic feet behind the third-row, 38.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 71.2 cubic feet with both rows folded. To give some perspective, the Atlas offers 20.6, 55.5, and 96.8 cubic feet of space. 2019 finally sees Mazda add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility to their MazdaConnect infotainment system. This is an improvement as MazdaConnect trails competitors in terms of graphics and a slightly confusing menu structure. At least the control knob and shortcut buttons make using the system less aggravating. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder with 227 horsepower (250 if you fill up with premium) and 310 pound-feet. This is channeled through a six-speed automatic and the choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Putting a turbo-four into a three-row crossover seems like madness, but Mazda was able to make it work with no issue. Torque arrives at a low 2,000 rpm, allowing the CX-9 to leap away from any driving situation. Response from the transmission is excellent with snappy up and downshifts. Fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed around 23, slightly better than the 22.5 mpg for the 2018 model. The ace up the CX-9’s sleeve is the handling. No other crossover can close to matching the taut characteristics on offer with body motions kept in check and sharp steering. Though how many people consider a plus is likely very small. Ride quality falls under supple with most bumps and imperfections being ironed out. Impressive when you consider this is riding 20-inch wheels. The Mazda CX-9 is an outlier in the three-row crossover class as it focuses more on the driving experience and looks. That isn’t a bad thing as it gives Mazda a unique selling point. But a small space for passengers and cargo is the CX-9’s major downfall.  Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the CX-9, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Inline-Four
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 or 250 @ 5,000 (Depending on the fuel)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,383 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,640
      As Tested Price: $45,060 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Illuminated Door Sill Trim Plates - $575.00
      Front & Rear Bumper Trim - $550.00
      Snowflake White Pearl - $200.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00

      View full article
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