The Mazda6 was known as being a sportier option for consumers wanting a sedan, competing against stalwarts the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Accord and Camry are both re-designed for 2018 and are pretty sweet to drive. The Mazda6 also gets re-engineered, with a more refined but still fun-to-drive spirit and more emphasis on creating a high-end feel at an affordable price.
For 2018, the Mazda6 adds two upper trims, Grand touring Reserve and Signature, in addition to the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring models. Starting prices range from $21,950 for the Sport with manual transmission to $34,750 for my tester, the top-of-the-line Signature. The Mazda6 is only available with front-wheel-drive.
The Mazda6 has an elegant profile and the updated grille and headlights set it apart from the 2017 model. The interior features redesigned seats with high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam.
The Sport and Touring trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The upper trims get the new turbocharged version of the same engine that makes 227 hp with regular gas and 250 hp with premium, and 310 pound-feet. It’s only available with the six-speed automatic, much to the chagrin of Mazda fans. It’s the same engine offered in the CX-9.
The turbocharged engine is the same one that powers the large CX-9 crossover. So it provides plenty of power in the lighter Mazda6. There’s a little turbo lag off the line which is a new feeling in the Mazda6. The car really shines as a capable freeway cruiser, ready to merge and pass. The six-speed automatic shifts quickly to find the right gear. If you want to crank things up a notch, put it in Sport mode. The ride is smooth and quiet. Visibility is pretty good all the way around.
EPA mileage estimates for my tester are 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with a combined rating of 26. I got 26 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is all-new. My Signature trim has many upscale touches including a head-up display, Nappa leather seating, ultrasuede and Japanese Sen wood trim, 360-degree view monitor with front and rear parking sensors.
The front seats in all trims have been re-designed. They’re wider, with high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam that creates a firm, supportive seating surface. Mazda says the seats are designed to help keep front passengers’ spines in the natural S-shape humans use when standing. Rear seats have also been redesigned with high-density urethane foam.
They are indeed comfortable and supportive. We made the round trip from Seattle to Portland with four adults in tow and everyone commented on the comfortable ride.
My tester has heated and ventilated front seats. The ventilated seats work by wicking away warm air from the front passengers, instead of blowing cold air. This was really nice to have on warm days!
Standard features on all trims include cloth seats, dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, push-button start, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Mazda Connect infotainment system with and Commander control knob and touchscreen control, rearview camera, a new eight-inch display screen, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Other newly standard features include LED headlights and tail lights and Smart City Brake Support, which automatically applies the brakes in emergency stops below 19 mph.
Driver assistance technologies standard on the Touring and above trims include Smart Brake Support, Advanced Smart City Brake Support, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning and high beam control.
The Signature trim adds a 360-degree view monitor, leather-wrapped steering wheel, reconfigurable 7-inch gauge display, and eight-inch Mazda Connect infotainment display with sharper color contrast. An 11-speaker Bose sound system is standard on the Grand Touring and above trims.
The Mazda6 has 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space with remote trunk operation. The rear seats are 60/40 split fold providing flexibility in hauling cargo and passengers.
The 2018 Mazda6 gets a top rating of five out of five stars in NHTSA crash tests.
Reliability is lower than competitors, receiving a rating of only 2.5 out of 5 from J.D. Power.
Available in several trims and price points
A new turbocharged engine is offered for 2018
More refined ride than outgoing model
Base trim is available with a six-speed manual transmission
Decent fuel efficiency
Quieter and more comfortable than the outgoing model
Modern and upscale interior
Lots of available driver assistance technologies
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on most trims
Trunk not as large as some competitors
Low reliability rating
My tester starts at $34,750. Cargo mat is $75. Machine Gray paint is $300. Scuff plates are $125. Delivery fee is $890 bringing the grand total to $36,140.
The 2018 Mazda6 offers handsome styling and a high-end interior with peppy driving dynamics and lots of available tech. It’s another worthy competitor in the mainstream midsize sedan category. But is it enough to lure customers away from a crossover or SUV?