2018 Mazda6 Review: The drivers’ choice

    Crossovers and SUVs might presently have America’s coronary heart, however the trendy midsize sedan phase remains to be a fiercely aggressive class. And whereas some automakers have chosen to 86 their sedans altogether, different corporations are nonetheless devoted to producing high quality, five-passenger four-doors which can be fashionable, comfy and inexpensive. We have pushed lots of nice midsize sedans right here at Roadshow, however none converse to us fairly just like the up to date — and now, turbocharged — 2018 Mazda6.

    Turbo punch

    Whereas decrease Mazda6 trims proceed to make use of a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 engine, the upper-crust Grand Touring and Signature fashions get a giant improve in energy. The turbocharged 2.5-liter I4 is actually the identical engine you may discover within the Mazda CX-9 crossover, and below the hood of the Mazda6, it makes this sedan transfer.

    Step on the accelerator and the Mazda6 involves life with a quickness. The six-speed automated transmission fires off easy shifts, letting the engine rev in its candy spot to ship the complete 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of utilizing front-wheel drive, the Mazda6 is freed from torque steer, and in reality, the revised suspension tuning means this automobile is even higher to drive than earlier than; go away it to Mazda to make this the best-handling automobile within the midsize sedan phase.

    Look into my eyes! The fog lights at the moment are included straight into the pinnacle mild housing. 

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Out on curvy again roads, physique roll is almost nonexistent, and understeer by no means rears its ugly head. Braking energy stays robust and safe after an extended day of laborious driving. There is a Sport driving mode, however it would not even really feel mandatory — I am fully happy with the usual dynamics. Sport mode solely modifications the transmission’s shift factors, anyway, so it would not add a lot to the already good default setup.

    The turbo engine is claimed to return an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon mixed, which bests the Kia Optima 2.0T, and matches the Chevy Malibu 2.0T and V6-powered Nissan Altima. (The 2019 Altima will use a brand new variable-compression turbo engine, so I will be to see how that one stacks up.) Throughout per week of testing, together with a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I noticed 25.1 mpg on the journey laptop.

    I would love for Mazda to supply the turbocharged engine with a handbook transmission, however I do know, I am preventing a dropping battle. When you do need some Mazda6 handbook motion, you’ll be able to solely get it on the bottom Sport trim with the naturally aspirated 2.5, which has 66 fewer horsepower and 125 fewer pound-feet.

    Oh, and talking of energy, in order for you the turbo Mazda6 to realize its peak 250 horsepower, you may have to run it on 93-octane gasoline. When you fill your automobile with common 87, Mazda says you may be leaving 23 horsepower on the desk.

    Luxurious touches

    Although the outside styling is barely a wee bit totally different than final 12 months’s mannequin, the Mazda6 will get a serving to of favor and substance inside. Prime trims get glossy suede seat inserts and pure wooden trim items, however even with out these niceties, the Mazda’s inside is gorgeous. Quiet, too. Mazda says it added 70 new components to enhance general ranges of noise, vibration and harshness, and it actually makes a distinction.

    The inside is totally new for 2018, and rattling, it appears to be like good.


    The seats use a brand new design which can be stated to scale back fatigue on lengthy journeys. The entrance chairs get a barely angled seat backside cushion with denser foam, which retains your again straighter and butt cushier. After six straight hours behind the wheel, I really feel no discomfort. Mixed with the NVH tweaks, all of it means the 2018 Mazda6 is a greater place by which to spend time.

    Improved tech

    The Mazda Join infotainment system is housed in an Eight-inch touchscreen. Nevertheless, the display screen solely operates by contact when the automobile is stopped and in Park. For controlling Join on the go, you may have to make use of the rotary knob on the middle console.

    Although the no-touching-while-driving rule is sort of ridiculous, I truly like utilizing the rotary dial higher. There’s a lot of tactile suggestions and I respect the shortcut buttons positioned across the dial itself.

    I just like the Mazda Join system as a result of it is so easy to make use of. Connecting my cellphone by way of Bluetooth is a fast course of, and radio presets are simple so as to add. The onboard navigation system has a helpful point-of-interest search operate, although its graphics aren’t as wealthy and crisp as different techniques.

    As for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, they don’t seem to be obtainable proper now, however that’ll quickly change. Mazda says present 2018 mannequin 12 months homeowners can have this tech added at the dealership beginning in July, and all vehicles will ship with Android and Apple connectivity starting in December. Mazda is little doubt late to the sport right here, however I am glad it is catching up.

    Driving aids like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping help and adaptive cruise management are normal throughout all trim ranges, aside from the bottom Sport, the place they’re bundled right into a $625 package deal. You possibly can set the lane-keeping help to inform you of lane departure by way of an audible chime or a rumbling sound from the audio system, although if you wish to be discreet, it’s also possible to choose a steering wheel vibration possibility. Adaptive cruise management can convey the Mazda6 to a easy, full cease — a godsend in heavy Bay Space visitors.

    The highest-end Signature trim comes with a head-up show with visitors signal recognition, in addition to a 360-degree digicam. The HUD is now projected onto the windshield, as an alternative of Mazda’s earlier cheap-looking pop-up display screen, which is nice. Not so nice, nonetheless, is the grainy decision of the 360-degree digicam. It appears to be like as pixelated as a film streaming in 3G on a first-gen iPhone.

    How I would spec it

    The 2018 Mazda6 begins at $21,950 for the bottom automobile with the naturally aspirated engine and a six-speed handbook transmission. On the opposite aspect of the spectrum, my totally loaded Signature mannequin with the turbo powertrain is available in at $34,750.

    Is Mazda’s Soul Pink the perfect paint coloration in the marketplace? I would say sure. 

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    For my cash, I would most likely take the Grand Touring trim, which begins at $29,200. It is the least-expensive option to get the extra highly effective engine and nonetheless comes with all the motive force’s aids I would need. A particular further is the beautiful Soul Pink paint — it might be $750, however it’s richer than something you’d’ve received from Earl Schieb.

    A premium, sporty sedan

    The Mazda6 is not the one recreation on the town, and it performs in a very aggressive phase. The Toyota Camry is new this 12 months, and higher to drive than earlier than. The Accord can be a high quality alternative — among the finest vehicles on this class — and comes with Honda’s confirmed fame for reliability. Hyundai affords a turbocharged Sonata, as effectively, although it isn’t fairly as good to drive because the aforementioned rivals.

    For me, although, the Mazda6 is the choose of the litter. It is beautiful, and feels actually premium inside. Plus, it is the best-handling, most fun-to-drive automobile within the class, fingers down. Life’s too quick to drive a boring automobile.

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