SEATTLE, October 29, 2013 — Mazda’s 2014 6 is easily one of the most stylistic sedans in its category. Its swooping and curvaceous bodylines make this Mazda model a very attractive — if not head-turning – car. In fact, its combination of stylish exteriors, well-appointed interiors and smooth handling really do help set this car apart from others in its class.
Under its hood is the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter, double overhead cam, 16-valve 4-cylinder engine, which develops 184-horsepower @ 5700rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque @ 3250 rpm. While that’s not a ton of horses, it’s enough to get the job done and mates very well with either the available 6-speed manual transmission or the 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode.
The test vehicle used for this piece was the Mazda 2014 6 automatic version and it performed very well, never hesitated as if “hunting for the right gear.” Rather, performance was solid, smooth and responsive: the way it should be. The car does also feature a manual shift-mode model with paddle shifters and with the shifter itself.
EPA gas mileage clocks in at 26/38mpg city/highway respectively, numbers that proved to be fairly accurate for this test drive. The Grand Touring model tested also features some extra driving conveniences, such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning as well.
While Mazda gives the interior an upscale look, there are a few areas they could improve, such as the center of the dash area. The audio system appears to simply be “stuck in there” with sort of an aftermarket look; additionally, the climate control area appears a bit dated. The overall quality of the interior, however, is on-point. Mazda’s choice in materials and colors combine for a feel that is functional, tactical and modern.
Tom-Tom GPS technology powers the navigation and while it is easy to use, some users may find it a bit too simplistic.
One of the great features of the Mazda 2014 6 model is the Audi-style control knob on the front middle console. It provides a user-friendly system for navigating the audio options as well as the onboard navigation functions. Drivers can learn how to use these controls in no time and will be pleased to see how easily they can be managed while the car is in motion.
Sound quality for the audio system is slightly above average; not nearly as good as other sedans in this class, however, it should be adequate for most drivers. There are choices for AM/FM/Satellite radio, CD and Bluetooth Audio.
There’s ample rear legroom for two adults and a child in the middle thanks to a smart use of available interior space by Mazda. A middle arm rest does come down and has two cup holders in it and there are also rear heating/cooling vents for those passengers as well.
For those who need a good-sized trunk, the Mazda 2014 6 doesn’t disappoint. Its spacious 14.8 cubic feet ensure ease in packing luggage, making trips to Costco or ferrying multiple sets of golf clubs.
Where the 6 really shines is in the way it drives. It presents a very nice “driver’s car” feel. It does a great job of balancing the way the steering feels, handling corners well and offering a ride in comfort. It’s a solid car that offers a “fun factor” for the money. The Mazda 2014 6 is an easy recommendation for its price bracket.
From a safety perspective, Mazda equips the 6 with side-impact air bags, dash air-bags and side-impact curtains. In addition, the car has front seat-belt pretensioners with force limiters, side-impact door beams and a foldaway brake pedal assembly.
Priced at $31,495 with destination charge, it’s price-competitive to the likes of the KIA Optima and Hyundai Sonata. It does not have all the bells and whistles these other cars offer, however, one could argue that the drive and handling is what wins at the end of the day.
In early in 2014, this car will have a diesel engine available and it will not require the AdBlue treatment. Thus, it will have an option for incorporating optimal fuel-economy technology in the coming months.
In summary, the Mazda 2014 6’s best features are its styling, handling, excellent seats, decent power and really good fuel economy. It’s a sedan for anyone shopping for a car in $25k-$32k range. They will like what they find here.