Mazda is introducing a new Mazda6 sedan starting this fall. The flagship mid-size sedan pricing starts at $30,695. Photos courtesy Mazda USA.
By Vince Bodiford
Mazda rolls out all-new 2018 sedan this Spring
Mazda has raised the bar with its flagship sedan, with an all-new 2018 Mazda6 that goes on sale early this Spring. In anticipation of the new model, we drove the current model, and put our sights on what’s to come. Without a doubt, the Mazda6 is a classy, fun-to-drive mid-size sedan.
Mazda6 has received improvements every year it has been on sale. Updates for the previous model year added more sound insulation throughout its cabin and available Nappa leather interior appointments.
Perhaps the greatest upgrade of Mazda6 Signature is its source of motivation. Mazda’s award-winning, SKYACTIV-G 2.5T gasoline turbo engine returns for its second application. Higher-grade models will also be available with Mazda’s award-winning turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine.
Mazda6 offers two powertrain options in the U.S., starting with the torquey, fuel-efficient SKYACTIV-G 2.5 naturally aspirated engine. Mazda6’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine comes with a host of upgrades to reduce internal friction and improve efficiency across all RPM, and it adds a greater level of refinement. A new technology that is unique to Mazda in North America is cylinder deactivation in a four-cylinder engine. The outside two cylinders can shut down when the vehicle is operated at steady speeds between 25 and 50 mph, but all four cylinders work instantaneously when needed for maximum performance. A centrifugal pendulum has been adopted in the torque converter of the six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, counterbalancing any vibration that might otherwise be felt when running on two cylinders. The result is an imperceptible switchover between two- and four-cylinder modes, yet with very tangible real-world efficiency benefits.
First available in the current-generation Mazda CX-9 midsize crossover SUV, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T is a technological tour de force that produces 310 lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM and 250 horsepower on 93-octane fuel (227 horsepower with 87-octane gasoline).
Mazda’s Dynamic Pressure Turbo builds boost nearly instantaneously by using a small inlet port to force air into its turbocharger, akin to how water velocity increases when one holds his or her thumb over a hose. From there, a secondary valve can open up at higher RPM for increased airflow and maximum horsepower. A pulse-scavenging 4-3-1 manifold that prevents exhaust backpressure and helps the engine breathe freely.
Up front is Mazda6’s new grille, which accentuates a look of depth, with a strong framework, low center of gravity and wide stance. Its standard LED headlights integrate fog lamps and carry a crisp, wide lighting signature.
Inside, the interior is all-new, with only the steering wheel and small trim pieces carried over from its predecessor. It’s one of the most comfortable and contemporary interiors I’ve been in for awhile. Most noticeable is its horizontally stretched dashboard that accentuates Mazda6’s width and belies a sense of subtle sophistication.
In this latest round of thoughtful improvements, engineers have revisited every aspect of Mazda6’s chassis, with its suspension offering a smoother, more linear ride quality and greater NVH refinement similar to the ultra-quiet CX-9. Its steering rack is now rigid-mounted to the chassis, offering greater steering response and feel, and its SKYACTIV-CHASSIS has been stiffened in complement with the revised suspension to offer both a smoother ride and to improve outright dynamic performance.
Enabling this more comfortable ride without compromising the Mazda6’s handling, the suspension geometry has been revised, with roll-steer changes that promote more neutral handling.
Additionally, body reinforcements, thicker sheet metal in the rear wheel-wells, reinforced chassis bracing and even thicker suspension trailing link mounts help improve interior conversation sound quality, putting Mazda6 into rarified air when it comes to quietness, refinement and capabilities.
Overall, the Mazda6 continues to deliver great Mazda comfort, value and driving fun – pricing starts at $30,695 and our test vehicle was priced at $34,695 nicely equipped.
for more information, see your local Mazda dealer, or visit MazdaUSA.com
Test Drive by Vince Bodiford
In pursuit of premium, an engine isn’t enough. A chassis isn’t enough. An elegant interior and world-renowned design aren’t enough. Refinement and technology aren’t enough.
But together, they complete what Mazda expects to be yet another step to elevate the brand beyond the realm of mainstream vehicles, offering a “Mazda Premium” experience that will delight customers. As with its predecessor, the new Mazda6 will land among the world’s best cars, for those who love to drive. But it will aim higher, moving Mazda’s consideration with customers to a new, class-above place, because Mazda never stops challenging.