2014 Mazda Mazda6 – Review and Road Test

By Jonathan Spira on 28 April 2013
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The 2014 Mazda Mazda6

The 2014 Mazda Mazda6

Earlier this year, Mazda, following in the footsteps of several other automakers that were about to introduce a diesel to the U.S. market, entered two Mazda6 diesel sedans in the grueling Rolex 24 (also known as the 24 Hours of Daytona) race.

Mazda will begin selling the oilburner towards the end of 2013 as a 2014 model and we decided to become a bit more familiar with the line by driving the gasoline-powered variant.

The 2014 Mazda Mazda6 itself is a headturner.  I can’t think of a car with an MSRP that starts at roughly $21,000 that generated as many comments – all favorable– as the Mazda6.  Based on the automaker’s Takeri concept car, the Mazda6 continues the Kodo Soul of Motion design language that first appeared on the Shinari concept.  Its front fascia, perhaps a drop overwhelming, gives the car substantial presence and the handsome roofline and sweeping character lines give it an elegance not typical of the pricepoint or market segment.

2014 MAZDA MAZDA6: THE ENGINE

DSC_1716The gasoline version comes with a 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder mated to a redesigned six-speed automatic.  It develops 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque and runs on regular gas.  Fuel economy is excellent, with 26 mpg (10.9 l/100 km) in the city and 38mpg (7.4 l/100 km) on the highway (the manual transmission isn’t quite as fuel efficient).   Mazda credits the compression ratio (13:1) engine as one of several high-tech tricks that improve efficiency.

A manual transmission is available on all models except the Grand Touring and the SkyActive-Drive automatic transmission uses a conventional torque converter for low-speed driving and a single automated clutch with paddle shifters for gear changes.

Mazda’s new i-Eloop system (the name, Mazda explains, is derived from Intelligent Energy Loop) is a capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system that does away with the separate (and typically large) electric motor and separate battery that most hybrids require.  Because it’s capacitor based, it can charge and discharge millions of times without any deterioration in its storage capacity.  DSC_1720The 6 is the first car in the U.S. to get this technology.

THE MAZDA6 DIESEL VARIANT

When the diesel version arrives later this year, Mazda will become the first Japanese automaker to offer a clean diesel passenger car in the U.S., joining what has largely been a German-dominated market (think Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen, although Chevrolet and Chrysler are adding diesels to their lineups).

The 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel, with a compression ratio of 14:1, develops 310 pound-feet of torque (the race-car version developed 445 pound-feet) and is expected to get 44 miles per gallon (5.3 l/100 km) in highway driving.  It won’t require costly urea injection or particulate filters to meet emissions standards.  Mazda credits the unprecedented low 14:1 compression ratio with the low emissions.

Click here to continue to Page 2The Mazda6’s Interior and Driving the Mazda6

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