FeelAlive being the mantra of the Mazda automotive company truly describes the emotions that will come over you when you drive the new 2018 Mazda 6 2.5. Be it the entry level with a manual transmission or the full-featured signature with the Turbo SKYACTIV-G 2.5 L DOHC 4-Cylinder Engine.
Be Inspired. Be Extraordinary.
As you approach the 2018 Mazda6, it may not look that different than it has for the last four years. Look again, the flowing body lines may be the same, this is a very different mid-size sedan, and at a lower price than last year.
So how is that possible?
We asked Jacob Brown, Communications Manager for Mazda North America Operations just that question. “How can you build and sell the same car for less than last year’s model?” Jacob’s response was interesting as he showed us the 2018 Mazda6 that includes thousands of dollars of more value than it did in 2017?”
Brown explained that Mazda works closely with suppliers, and jointly they develop advanced business practices of sharing resources, parts and common architecture across platforms to produce products at a better price.
What is New in the 2018 Mazda6?
Mazda provides a premium feel vehicle at a competitive price. And there is no better display of that than the 2018 Mazda6. Build quality, fit finish and drive experience are designed to be competitive with luxury brands at a lower price. The 2018 Mazda 6 sports more than 150 changes. Changes that have improved safety ride quality and overall experience. Two-millimeters thicker sheet metal along with thinner panel gaps and thicker rubber strips on doors help to make the car stronger and quieter. Along with an improved suspension and two refined powerplants are all part of the many changes you will find in the 2018 Mazda6.
The addition of a Turbo with the most torque in its class to an already powerful and efficient 4-cylinder engine is the big news in the upper trim level models. That does not ignore the base model whose naturally aspirated engine (non-turbo) has been improved with cylinder deactivation. Yes, you heard it, a four-cylinder engine that can run on just two cylinders. Thus, the Mazda6 offers the best in class EPA Fleet Fuel Economy with 23 city, 31 highway and 26 miles per gallon, combined for the 2.5T and 26 to 35 MPGs for the naturally aspirated engine (not official govt numbers.) Both engines will run on regular but running premium fuel especially at higher elevations will make a noticeable improvement in power.
The interior of the Mazda6 is different: Even before you ignite the engine, you will sense this mid-sized sedan is different from the others. The front seats fit! Designed for the American body type, understanding that as Mr. Brown said, “We have Love Handles.” Saying the seat design considers our wider frame. Upper trim levels of the Mazda6 now have heated and COOLED seats. While heated seats have been around for more than a generation; cooled seats are something you normally only find with expensive option packages of higher priced cars. We found the Napa Leather driver’s seat to be extremely comfortable. While other manufacturers may ignore the rear seat passengers, Mazda has not! Even rear headroom and legroom are generous for a car of its size.
Evident in the Mazda6 in Signature Trim, we drove is the use of premium materials: Japanese Sen wood, (used to produce Japanese Wadaiko drums and quality furniture.) Elsewhere you find well-styled treatments; Ultrasuede on the dash gives a soft, elegant look and feel, and the aluminum trim on the interior door handles flow into the design giving the car a very up-market feel.
The technology in the 2018 Mazda6 is oriented to the driver. The available Mazda Active Driving Display now projects onto the windshield in front of the driver, (in the past it was on an odd plastic outcropping.) The seven-inch digital gauge display for the driver and the eight-inch Mazda Connect™ Infotainment system. New for 2018 is a 360 camera, full speed radar cruise control with stop & go. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available and on early production models with the 7” screen can be retrofitted at the dealership.
Outside the car: You will not see a lot of chrome or even trim-level defining badging on the Mazda6. There are subtle changes for 2018 such as standard LED head and tail lights and additional sound deadening within the fenders.
On our test drive, we were impressed with the ride. While part of the Skyactiv design philosophy is too lightweight the car, 2018 model is a heavier car than its predecessor. Brown shared with us that Mazda cars are tuned to be driver friendly cars, designed for the real everyday road, not only for the racetrack. The weight is shifted forward onto the front tires resulting in a smoother ride that dampens bumps and transitions well over surfaces, and more accurate steering. And for a front-wheel-drive car with 310 lbs of torque we were very impressed that there was no torque steer (when the steering fights being controlled because the wheels are providing traction.)
Let’s talk Price
The 2018 Mazda6 has a $500 lower retail price than 2017: The Sport Model begins at $21,950 with a 6-Speed Manuel transportation and $23.000 with Automatic. Step up to a Touring model for $25,700, Grand Touring for $29.200; Grand Touring Reserve $31,270 and Signature $34,750. Add-ons: i-ACTIVSENSE Package for the Sport, $625; Paint: Soul Red Crystal $595, Machine Gray Metallic $300, Snowflake White Pearl Mica $200. This does not include delivery charges, taxes or tags.
The Mazda6 is in Mazda dealerships now
Mazda aspires to offer a class above experience within their network of dealerships to match the premium upmarket products they build and sell.
There is No Mediocre with Mazda
Mazda is a small batch car maker that provides products at a mainstream price. Not a big manufacturer with just 1.6 million worldwide vehicles produced, of which about 290K are sold in the USA.
In today’s marketplace, it is refreshing to hear a car company being proud of their heritage. And as a Japanese company, Mazda is focused on the quality and craftsmanship they build into each one of their products. Mazda and its suppliers, based on the western side of Japan, not on the eastern industrial hub, where they never stop challenging themselves to do better.
Independently owned, Mazda recently purchased a small stake in Toyota, and Toyota invested in Mazda. Recently announcing a joint production venture here in the USA. Not unlike Mazda did with Ford in the 1980’s and other auto companies in the past.
Mazda employs about 750 in the USA with both a corporate office and a research and development studio in southern California. The company has design centers in Irvine California, Frankfort Germany, Yokohama and Hiroshima Japan, it makes a majority of its cars in Japan.
Good is never good enough for Mazda.
When we asked Brown why they did not just wait and put all of this into a new model. He replied, “Mazda does not do model years when there is an improvement to be made they do not wait for a new model year or a refresh, it gets added to the car.” “When the Mazda engineers find a something meaningful to update on their vehicles, they do it.” “Any technologies Mazda could put into the cars today, they put into the cars today.”
When we asked Brown what specifically on the 2018 Mazda6 is directly from the American design studio, he shared that the Initial Shinari Concept in 2010 comes from the American Team. Then they work in partnership with the engineers in Japan to bring the Mazda6 to market.
What to look for next?
Skyactiv-X engines in 2019 – Mazda just won an Edison award for the new spark-controlled compression ignition for gasoline internal combustion engines. Using a spark plug as a control mechanism, it is able to finely balance ignition timing and air-to-fuel ration, maximizing fuel efficiency resulting in stronger torque with higher-revving drivability and lower CO2 emissions. Thus, quicker acceleration without impacting fuel efficiency.