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
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)
Machine Gray Paint - $300.00
Scuff Plates - $125.00
Cargo Mat - $75.00
Edited by William Maley