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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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    6 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Kids love love love the idea of a Mustang GT...wife feels the exact opposite.

    I am in the same boat, really want Mustang GT but also interested in Miata, BRZ is not doing it to me for some reason.   

    I checked, Mustang commands enormous insurance rates (even higher than a Corvette).  Miata would be fun for autocross and more economical to upkeep and run, but it is like buying a bike, will be very limited use due to the size and also lack of power is bothering me a bit.  Mustang GT would be a awesome and much more useful due to a back seat for kids, more comfortable interior but much more expensive to run.

    Wife will be questioning all the choices but she just got a bigger house and renovated kitchen, I think I deserve to get something as well.

    Edited by ykX
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    1 hour ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    If I go for a mid sized sedan and want to keep it a long time...do you think these trade offs are worth it for long range durability and resale or would I be better off to look at something else?

    Agree on the Camry not feeling as solid...

    Thinking BRZ or Miata may well be next car...but seriously thinking Sedan also.

    I think you should get this my friend!

     

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    21 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    I am 53 and my youngest goes away to college next year. I want to enjoy my status as a free man...well sort of...still married and don't plan on changing that.

    Do not forget my friend the gift that keeps on giving, College debt. My kids are out but still paying it off. LOL

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    6 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Do not forget my friend the gift that keeps on giving, College debt. My kids are out but still paying it off. LOL

    Ahhh...I work for a university so tuition is covered. Partially how my daughter will be buying a WRX in the next year or two.

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    I'll be the oddball here and say that for a 2-seater toy I would get a Sky Red-Line.  260 HP would be plenty for me and I don't autocross. 

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    28 minutes ago, ykX said:

    I am in the same boat, really want Mustang GT but also interested in Miata, BRZ is not doing it to me for some reason.   

    I checked, Mustang commands enormous insurance rates (even higher than a Corvette).  Miata would be fun for autocross and more economical to upkeep and run, but it is like buying a bike, will be very limited use due to the size and also lack of power is bothering me a bit.  Mustang GT would be a awesome and much more useful due to a back seat for kids, more comfortable interior but much more expensive to run.

    Wife will be questioning all the choices but she just got a bigger house and renovated kitchen, I think I deserve to get something as well.

    Which is what makes GTI, WRX, ST, RS, R, and ST more than just letters in a soup bowl.

    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I'll be the oddball here and say that for a 2-seater toy I would get a Sky Red-Line.  260 HP would be plenty for me and I don't autocross. 

    Finding them not beaten to death is a bit of an issue. We looked at that for one of my sons friends. What is out there has pretty much been ridden hard and put away wet.

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    3 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I'll be the oddball here and say that for a 2-seater toy I would get a Sky Red-Line.  260 HP would be plenty for me and I don't autocross. 

    I liked how the sky looked more than the solstice. and compared to the miata.... driving dynamics would play a part in that decision

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    I liked the Sky styling more, and the interior more than the Solstice.   But the newest ones are both about 10 years old now, and the interior plastics in both were pretty nasty.   I wouldn't want to fool around with another old car.   For a sports car, I think I'd be more inclined to get a recent Miata or Fiat Spyder.    But I also like hefty coupes like the Challenger R/T & SRT, and hefty convertibles like the Mustang GT...

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    43 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    I liked the Sky styling more, and the interior more than the Solstice.   But the newest ones are both about 10 years old now, and the interior plastics in both were pretty nasty.   I wouldn't want to fool around with another old car.   For a sports car, I think I'd be more inclined to get a recent Miata or Fiat Spyder.    But I also like hefty coupes like the Challenger R/T & SRT, and hefty convertibles like the Mustang GT...

    Split the difference and look at the Camaro. I found even the V6 to be very fun and sporty. 

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    15 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Split the difference and look at the Camaro. I found even the V6 to be very fun and sporty. 

    Maybe in convertible form...the coupes I find to be like being in a cave.  Very poor outward visibility...

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    13 hours ago, regfootball said:

    A good Chrysler crossfire would be a nice vintage find. Hey or an XLR

    Both are maintenance queens

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    7 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    Good to know!  But but the crossfire is a Mercedes I thought German cars were reliable and lasted forever!!

    They are reliable, but maintenance is expensive as they age...remember the old adage, if you can't afford a new Mercedes, you can't afford a used one.  Old German cars are money pits.

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    36 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    Good to know!  But but the crossfire is a Mercedes I thought German cars were reliable and lasted forever!!

    That's because people consider them sunk investments.... they can't possibly trade them in because they just spent $7,000 getting it road worthy again.

     

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    I'm gonna do a bit of a flip flop on all the Mazda6 revisions.  I still would tend to think adding the turbo should have added some more go juice, but they do out of the Japanese automakers tend to put the most effort into interiors.  I think if you prefer Japanese marques I can understand (after 4 years) why someone would be enthusiastic.  The Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans have been a bit of a hot mess the last few years in terms of interiors and styling.

    One thing about the Mazda6, the Mazda CX5 has this too.  Part of where you would normally expect the center stack to be filled in with controls between the top and where they put the climate controls at the bottom is just kind of blank wasted space. 

    Edited by regfootball

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    On 10/18/2018 at 9:24 AM, Drew Dowdell said:

    That's because people consider them sunk investments.... they can't possibly trade them in because they just spent $7,000 getting it road worthy again.

     

    I still remember from my stint selling cars, a great customer, who was from another country and was in on work visa for a large company in it was either finance or computers or some high level management thing. When he moved his family here he had to buy cars.  So the first thing he does is buy a new (used) BMW.  He always wanted a BMW.  What was the next thing he had to do?  He had to put 4 grand into the BMW like a week after he bought it.... LOL  I don't even remember what he bought from me, i think it was a truck.  LOL

    Edited by regfootball

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    Has anyone noticed the dash of the Madza6? It pays homage to a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500. Both have almost the same clean lines.

    Edited by Larry C. Brown
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