ALL NEW 2014 MAZDA6 WINS SLEW OF AWARDS

2014 Mazda6

By Tom Crosby

The buzz about the do-over for the 2014 Mazda6 mid-size sedan began in the late summer of 2012 and after its launch Mazda was able to describe the third generation makeover as a total success as the industry kudos starting piling up.

The 2014 Mazda6 was the first Mazda to earn a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which conducts independent crash safety tests.

Wards AutoWorld magazine said it had one of the year’s 10 Best Interiors and it was one of three finalists for World Car Design of the year and named Best New Vehicle at the Atlanta International Auto Show.

Leading the way to the industry achievements is Mazda’s SKYACTIV® technologies which created a lighter, stronger body with 58% high-tensile steel body and a lighter chassis using independent front-strut and multi-link rear suspensions. Both improve driver confidence and handling.

Standard safety features now include Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert in the Mazda6 Touring model, our test-drive. (There is a base Mazda6 Sport and top-of-the-line Mazda6 Grand Touring, and a 2.2-liter clean-burning diesel engine option that ups miles per gallon beyond the already impressive mileage from the gasoline powered 2.5-liter engines.)

The gasoline powered SKYACTIV-G® engine has a 14 to 1 compression ratio improving fuel efficiency and low-rpm torque. Result: 14 more horsepower, an 18-pound-feet gain in torque and seven extra highway miles per gallon to 37.

While not a tire-squealer off the line, our Touring edition held its own on the highway when pushed through smooth manual shifts to the rpm red-line, showing the Zoom Zoom Mazda uses as its marketing mantra. There is moderate engine and wind noise.

Outside, Mazda6 has panache with a sleek design called KODO, or “Soul of Motion” that broadened the hood, increased the wheel base, narrowed the width and used a cab-rearward approach to match muscular fender arches and minimum chrome on nicely shaped sides front to rear.

Our “Soul Red” body paint ($300 add-on) atop 19-inch alloy wheels drew curious bystander glances.

Inside is equally impressive, with firm, comfortable and spacious front bucket seats and roomy rear bench 60/40 split fold-down is comfortable for two ample sized adults.

The 5.8-inch dashboard touch screen displays phone and audio information, including easy Bluetooth connectivity. Leather seats, tight fit and finish, readable gauges, tastefull chrome accents and easily reached and legible controls create an functional ergonomic interior. Popular options can increase gas mileage and improve braking power.

LIKES: Mileage, style, ride, handling, interior comfort
DISLIKES: Some noise
BOTTOM LINE: Price is right for multiple awards-winning mid-size sedan

FACT FILE: MAZDA6 TOURING 2014

  • Base price w/destination fee $24,240
  • Curb weight 3,183 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 111.4 inches
  • Length 191.5 inches
  • Width 72.4 inches
  • Engine specs 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, SKYACTIV-G
  • Horsepower 184 hp at 5,700 rpm
  • Torque 185 ft-lbs at 3,250 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed manual
  • PA Rating 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway
  • Range 16.4-gallon tank, regular unleaded
  • Performance 0-60 in less than 8 seconds