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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2018 Mazda6 Signature

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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


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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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Probably two guys 6'3 if no one adult is in the back seat behind them.

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      2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
      Mazda is on a mission lately to make their products feel more premium. They have been tuning their vehicles to be quieter and more refined in order to give them an air that they are above their class. This second generation of the Mazda CX-5 debuted for the 2017 model year with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft of torque.  For 2019, Mazda added the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine from the CX-9. On regular gas, the engine produces 227 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft of torque, but if you fill it up with 93 octane, the horsepower figure bumps up to 250.  Available only on the Grand Touring and Signature trims, the 2.5-T makes the CX-5 the compact crossover with the most available torque.  Mazda sent a CX-5 Signature for me to try for a week to see what I thought.
      There’s no replacement for displacement… maybe
      The biggest CX-5 news for 2019 is the engine options. There is the 2.5-T mentioned above and a 2.2-liter turbo diesel. Both are exciting entries into a relatively conservative segment.  The 2.5-T is the second-largest displacement engine available in the segment, behind the 3.2 liter V6 in the Jeep Cherokee.  This 4-cylinder puts out quite a bit more torque than the bigger V6, though the Jeep produces more horsepower (271 @ 6,500 rpm). Even among 4-cylinders, this is the largest displacement you can get, but none of those others offering 2.5 liters also offers a turbocharger. This engine is rated by the EPA to get 22 city / 27 highway.  I got about 24 mpg in mostly city driving. Zero to 60 is a claimed 6.2 seconds.
      Under normal driving, the engine is quiet and composed, with torque coming on quickly when called for. When the pedal is mashed at speed, the CX-5 leaps forward with minimal turbo lag and gives off a strong growl from under the hood. The only time you can really feel any lag in the turbo is if you are starting from a dead stop. Overall, you never feel without power at the tip of your toes and the sounds, and lack of sounds, from the engine room is quiet and refined.
      One area the CX-5 falls behind on is in the transmission department. Although the transmission offers smooth shift and is willing to downshift when called upon, a 6-speed automatic almost feels anachronistic in a time when all of its direct competition is sporting 8 or 9 speeds. I never thought there would come a day when 6-forward gears aren’t enough, but here we are. Adding 2 or 3 more gears to the CX-5 would further liven up the already sporty crossover and help keep the turbocharged engine firmly in the good places of its torque band.
      Ride: Al dente – Firm but tender
      If there is a brand that Mazda is looking to emulate here by being premium without the premium badge, it would likely be BMW.  The ride is firm, but not so harsh as to spill your latte. Steering is on the heavy side with precise control and great on-center feel.  Body roll is minimal. Pushing the CX-5 into corners is fun and the standard G-Vectoring Control Plus makes sure you stay planted where you intended to be.  The i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive mostly runs in front-wheel-drive mode until microscopic amounts of wheel slip are detected and then some torque is instantly transferred to the rear wheels.  Mazda programs the AWD system to always have at least a little bit of torque going to the rear in order for the transfer of torque to happen faster. 
      It’s what’s inside that matter most
      Inside the CX-5, the premium story continues. There is a distinct lack of cheap plastic even in places where they could probably get away with it. The dash and door panels are made of soft-touch material and there is a tasteful amount of chrome trim. Though the seats look black in pictures, they are actually a very dark brown that Mazda calls Caturra Brown Nappa leather. This leather is a feature of the Signature trim level and they are both heated and ventilated.  Rear passengers get heated outboard seats as well, controlled from inside the fold-down center armrest. Also, a feature of the Signature trim is the real wood dash inlay and ambient cabin lighting. The seats in the CX-5 are very comfortable with just the right combination of support and cushion. They would be most welcome companions on a long road trip. The rear seats are fairly flat and do not offer a lot of legroom.  There is no adjustment fore and aft.  Wind and tire noise has been kept to a minimum.
      There are 4 USB ports, two in the up front armrest and two in the rear armrest. Only one of them allows a connection to the infotainment system.  Oddly, the USB ports don’t seem to put out much juice as my phones were very slow to charge from them.
      The infotainment system is another area similar to BMW.  The unit is controlled by a large dial in the center console or touch screen controls. I found the touch aspect to be laggy and a long reach, so I found myself using the dial. Using the dial to navigate is simple enough, but the menus and layout of the screen could probably use a re-think.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both here, for some reason only Apple CarPlay can be activated by touch. Operating either system is frustrating with the dial however, this is especially true for Android Auto which I found frustrating to use without touch screen functionality. At least, unlike BMW, Mazda doesn’t charge you an extra subscription fee to use them. Sound from the Bose speakers was clear, but not especially great.
      There was a time when people mostly bought crossovers for the utility of hauling lots of bulky stuff home from the store, however, these days are different. Now, crossovers are a fashion statement.  Still, the CX-5 has 59.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded and 30.9 cubic feet with the seats up.  That is at the high end of mid-pack in the segment with the Honda CR-V being the leader, while the Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Equinox, and Ford Escape all have less. 
      Do you need a safe space? This may be it.
      The Mazda CX-5 Signature comes with a whole host of safety equipment and the center of it all is the heads-up display that keeps the driver informed.  Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-Keep Assist, and Radar Cruise Control, all have status lights in the heads-up display.  I found the blind spot monitoring system to be especially helpful when I was backing out onto a busy street with limited visibility.  Radar Cruise control is one of my favorite systems of all and I feel it should be standard equipment on all cars. The CX-5 can even read speed limit and stop signs as you approach, changing and updating the local regulations in the heads up display.
      The Signature also comes with active headlights that turn when you turn to help see around corners. They helped me spot a deer on the side of the road I normally would not have seen.
      The Verdict
      The CX-5 Signature is the top of the CX-5 line, so naturally, the price is reflected in that. With an MSRP of $36,890 before any options, the CX-5 may seem pricey, but it comes with everything you could possibly want.  However, when you compare it to other small crossovers with similar equipment it actually ends up comparing favorably to others in its class. I priced out Jeep Cherokee Overland with the 2.0T and technology group and the MSRP is $41,685. A GMC Terrain Denali with all the same option boxes checked? $41,430.  A Honda CR-V can’t even be equipped like the CX-5 because there is no up-level engine option, yet it still rings up to $38,147.
      Overall, Mazda has produced a handsome, sporty, fun to drive crossover with enough utility to remain competitive. They’ve loaded it with safety equipment and kept the price in check. It is definitely worth a look.
       
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