The restyled Mazda6 looks sophisticated and youthful without being gaudy. The design language, called Kodo, or Soul of Motion, is highlighted by Mazda’s new signature grille and flowing lines.
By TOM STRONGMAN
The sedan’s coupelike profile reflects a styling trend that is becoming increasingly popular with all manufacturers, and it gives the car a sporty and dynamic persona. The nose is low and pointed. Pronounced front fender arches blend into sides where a strong character line swoops toward the back to become a set of shoulders over the rear wheels. It culminates in an upswept trunk.
There are three trim levels: The standard model begins at $20,880, the Touring at $24,495 and Grand Touring at $29,495. I drove a Touring model from Mazda’s press fleet and its sticker price was $25,010.
Power comes from Mazda’s Skyactiv 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, and therein lies the rub. This engine develops 185 horsepower, which is pretty much par for its size, but it felt rather anemic even though it was mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Once underway, and with a heavy dose of throttle, the performance was OK, but low-speed driving left me wanting for more performance.
I drove a CX-5 a few months back and I thought its engine was less than scintillating as well.
Fuel economy is rated at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 37 on the highway, evidence that Mazda is more interested in fuel economy than performance, and that makes sense with the price of gasoline being what it is. That being said, I would prefer a more vigorous powerplant, even at the expense of a few miles per gallon.
Mazda will offer a 2.2-liter clean diesel engine that should have more torque, far better throttle response and better fuel economy as well.
The Mazda6 rides on a chassis with a 111.4-inch wheelbase, one of the longest in the family sedan segment. That translates into a reasonably spacious cabin and one that is free from excessive wind or road noise. Rear-seat legroom measures 38.7 inches, one of the segment’s roomiest. The trunk, too, is quite large, and split-folding rear seats mean large objects can be accommodated when necessary. Overall length is 191.5 inches.
The test car was loaded with a long list of standard features, including a blind-spot monitoring system, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition with push-button start, hill-start assist and steering-wheel controls for cruise and audio.
The Mazda6 suspension is tuned for reasonably sporty handling and it delivers on that promise. The ride quality suffers slightly because small bumps are easily felt through the suspension. That may be a function of the 19-inch wheels.
The base price of the test car was $24,495. Options included clear film paint protection, cargo mat, metallic paint, doorsill trim plates and auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass. The sticker price was $25,010.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Tom Strongman’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org