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2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Review

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2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.5

The midsize sedan segment is filled with all-new versions of popular nameplates this year, but among them, the 2014 Mazda6 seems the most willing to break from the "appliance-car" mode in both its exterior styling and its sports-sedan-inspired handling. In a quest to improve across-the-the-range fuel economy while refusing to sacrifice dynamic handling, Mazda has filled the model with a number of related technologies under the Skyactiv umbrella. The innovations stretch from its two engines to its two transmissions to various aspects of its body and chassis structure. The Japanese carmaker has chosen to eschew a V6 in the new Mazda6, instead offering a 4-cylinder gasoline-fueled powerplant and, eventually, a 4-cylinder turbodiesel. Despite the lack of a V6, the Mazda6 is still a credible competitor to Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. In fact, we named the new sedan one of the 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014.

You'll Like This Car If...

While many midsize sedans are plain-vanilla, the Mazda6 spices the segment up with dramatic exterior styling, innovative technology and a significant dollop of fun-to-drive.

You May Not Like This Car If...

We'd never say you would be making a mistake if you chose a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, which are the segment's front-running choices, so if you don't want to stand out a bit, you might shop elsewhere.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.5
  • 8.8
  • 7.7
  • 9.3
  • 8.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#15

out of 27

Fuel Economy

#6

out of 27

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

9.3 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

The 2014 is all-new is the truest sense of the term. Not only is the body shape utterly new, so too are the engines, transmissions and virtually every mechanical bit.

Driving the MAZDA6
2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions We have to admit there are times when driving the new Mazda6 that we would've preferred the added horsepower a V6 would have given us. But most buyers in the...

... midsize segment opt for 4-cylinder power, and the 2.5-liter, 184 horsepower Skyactiv-G engine is a willing enough performer. By designing the body, engine and transmissions at the same time, Mazda engineers were able to tailor the body and chassis to match the other components, resulting in a lighter yet stiffer body, which offers more precise handling. At the same time, the suspension was optimized to enable more confident cornering. We also appreciated the very quick 15.5:1 ratio offered by the fully electric power steering. Those who seek ride comfort above all else might find the Mazda6 a trifle harsh at times, but we will make that trade to gain better handling capabilities.

SKYACTIV-G ENGINE
With an almost diesel-like 13:1 compression ratio, the Mazda6's 4-cylinder gasoline engine wrings eight percent more horsepower and nearly 11 percent more torque than the MZR 2.5-liter gasoline-fired engine Mazda used previously.

I-ELOOP ENERGY CAPTURE
The ingenious I-Eloop system uses a capacitor – not a more expensive and slow-to-charge battery – to gather energy that would otherwise be lost while the Mazda6 is coasting, and the stored energy is used to power ancillary equipment.

2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Details
2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

We think the interior of the Mazda6 is among the most upscale in the segment. The dash sweeps gracefully from driver's to passenger's side, but while the passenger side offers only a large expanse of soft-touch materials, the driver is presented with a dense cluster of highly legible instruments, gauges and knobs. It's a not-so-subtle bow to the car's "driver orientation." Another is the Mazda6's small-diameter steering wheel that feels great to the touch. Well-bolstered 6- or 8-way power-adjustable driver's seats are standard on all but the lowest trim level, which is equipped with a 6-way manually adjustable driver's seat. Rear legroom is among the most generous in the midsize segment thanks in part to the car's 111.4-inch wheelbase.

Exterior
2014 Mazda MAZDA6 photo

The Mazda6's pretty face and voluptuous curves immediately capture the attention of midsize-car buyers, who too often are offered safe, conservative designs. Mazda designers took more chances by basing the new model on Mazda's well-regarded Takeri concept vehicle. Among the important elements are the long hood, rearward-set windshield and muscular haunches over the rear wheels. The Mazda6 also echoes and refines the Takeri's bold front end with its sweeping "wing," prominent Mazda badge, and finely sculptured lower valance. From both front and rear, the emphasis is on width, giving the 2014 Mazda6 the curb presence of a more expensive car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The entry-level I-Sport trim level is equipped with the Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine and Skyactiv-MT 6-speed manual transmission. It also offers 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels – the largest standard wheels in the competitive set – plus power-operated side-view mirrors and automatic headlight shutoff. Push-button start, cloth seats, power windows with a driver's side 1-touch auto up/down feature, 60/40-split fold-down rear seats, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control functions, and air conditioning with a pollen filter are also standard features. The standard entertainment system is a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system that can deliver MP3/SiriusXM satellite radio reception.

Optional Equipment

In this era of connectivity, the Mazda6 features all-new infotainment options. A 5.8-inch in-dash touch screen tops the center console, and it controls phone, audio and navigation functions. Other available features include Bluetooth connectivity and iPod audio with the familiar information accessible via the touch screen. Grand Touring models feature an 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System. When a smartphone is connected, text messages can be shown on the touch screen, and the system can voice the messages and allow users to send replies using fixed phrases. A speech recognition system allows users to search and manipulate audio tracks. The most interesting new bit of optional safety equipment is the Smart City Brake Support system designed to assist a driver in avoiding frontal collisions when traveling at speeds of less than 19 miles per hour.

Under the Hood
2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Engine photo

At introduction only the Skyactiv-G gasoline engine will be available in the Mazda6. It features a radical 13:1 compression ratio for greater efficiency, facilitated by an all-new exhaust manifold design that necessitated a new body structure. Equally innovative are the Skyactiv-MT 6-speed manual transmission and the Skyactiv-Drive 6-speed automatic. The latter employs aspects of both torque-converter and dual-clutch transmissions to deliver both excellent low-speed feel and admirably quick shifts. The transmissions are lightweight and help the Mazda6 turn in segment-topping gasoline-only fuel economy. Waiting in the wings is the Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter "clean-diesel" engine that will arrive some six months or so after launch.

2.5-liter inline-4
184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25 city/37 highway (manual), 26/38 mpg (automatic)

Starting at right around $21,000 (MSRP), the base 2014 Mazda6 is value-priced versus its top-tier Japanese brand competitors like Accord, Camry and Altima. Although it is as all-new as a car can be, the base i Sport is priced only $155 more than the previous model. The mid-level i Touring trim (around $25,000 including destination charge) includes virtually all the features of the i Sport model plus extras like dual-zone automatic climate control and a 6-way power driver's seat. The top-of-the-line i Grand Touring starts close to (but still under) $30,000, and it features a wide variety of additions including unique 19-inch platinum silver alloy wheels, a power moonroof, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. For a more precise look at the prices consumers are currently paying, please view our Fair Purchase Price pages. We expect that the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 will not hold its value quite as well as the Accord or Camry, but that hit might be offset by a lower purchase price.

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2014 Mazda MAZDA6 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 109 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Fun to drive, great value.

By on Saturday, March 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "Cloth interior is very hard to clean off hair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The only complaint I have about this car is the cloth interior (black). I couldn't remove my hair from the seats. Car interior always looked messy, so I ended up having the cloth interior replaced with leather. I owned other Mazda's with cloth interior and did not have this problem."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

The 2016 Mazda 6 is far superior to the 2014/2015

By on Thursday, March 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great styling, gas mileage and handling"

Cons: "None on the new 2016"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned a 2015 Grand Touring Mazda 6 with the tech package and drove it for 15,000 miles. Overall it was a nice car with beautiful styling and excellent gas mileage. I also found the 4 cylinder engine to have more than adequate power/performance. However, the car had a few flaws. The navigation/infotainment system was easily 5 years behind the competition. The screen was small, the software was slow and clunky and the navigation screen looked like a 1980's Nintendo game. The front seats are a little too narrow and the padding is a little stiff. I found the seats to be acceptable but not comfortable. Overall the car handles reasonably well, but has some body roll when you first enter into a turn, which limits your confidence. In addition, the car has too much road noise, especially when driving on a concrete surface. The noise comes almost entirely from the tires, since wind and engine noise are nicely muted. Overall, I liked the car, but its flaws kept me from loving the car. I recently traded the 2015 for a new 2016 Grand Touring with tech package and what a difference. All of the above mentioned flaws have been corrected in the 2016. The 2016 has noticeably less road noise, less body roll in turns, the navigation/infotainment system is much better with a larger screen and updated software/performance, the seats are still narrow but much softer and more comfortable, it has a restyled dash that is better looking and a HUD (head up display) that projects your speed and other vital info onto your windshield (great feature not offered on the 2015). It cost me a few too many $ to trade, but I could not be happier. The 2016 has all the great styling, great gas mileage and performance of the 2015, but with all the rough edges smoothed off. I give Mazda credit for having the objectivity to understand and correct all the 2014/2015 shortcomings. I now love my Mazda 6."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

One of the most beautiful cars on the road!

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gorgeous, fun to drive, amazing gas mileage"

Cons: "Paint chips easily, road noise at times"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My search for a new sedan took several months. I looked an nearly everything - the Toyota Avalon, the Honda Accord, Audi A4, Hyundai Sonata and Genesis, the Kia Optima, the Ford Taurus and Fusion - and even the Lincoln MKZ. I just felt like I was settling with all of them; either the price was too high, the cost of ownership was crazy, or the design was just boring... I was nearly ready to just give up and go with some SUV (that the wife wanted), when a co-worker mentioned the new Mazda6. I hadn't even considered a Mazda - nor was I aware of what this car was like. So, I found a dealer that had a very lightly used 2014 model. And I fell in love at first sight. Exterior: The exterior of the car is absolutely gorgeous, from all 360 degrees. So many cars have an attractive profile, or front end - but just seem to drop the ball elsewhere; A goofy set of tail lights or boring sheet metal. I realize that looks are subjective (to a degree) - but I feel this car just hits all the marks and is one of the best looking vehicles on the road today - and I'm comparing it to all makes and models out there. I feel that if I were to take the Mazda badges off, most people would assume it was some high-end sports sedan made overseas. Interior: The interior keeps pace with the exterior design; I have the GT version with black leather seats with the accented red stitching. There is plenty of rear seat legroom and fits 3 car seats (two boosters and a full baby seat). Trunk space is also very large. The entire dash is a soft touch rubber material. There are just enough satin metal accents and texture contrasts to make things look both sporty and luxurious. The instrument cluster is centered perfectly and is bright and clear. Tech: I have the infotainment system, which includes a nice touch-screen display. I've heard some complain about it's size being small compared to other makes and models in this class, but I just don't feel that having a larger display would necessarily make the experience any different or better. For one, it's nearly 6 inches - That's plenty large for me. Another reason, is that even though this is a touch screen, Mazda gives you a command dial (similar to those found in BMW's) right behind the shifter. I use this to control most of the features, since it's right there where my right hand rests normally. The navigation system is straightforward and easy to use - it's powered by TomTom - so you can update it yourself using the TomTom at Home software. The infotainment unit also includes Pandora, Sirius XM, HD Radio, bluetooth, USB and AUX. There is no DVD functionality, but I wasn't looking for that anyway. The Bose sound is fine (I'm not a huge Bose fan). Bluetooth audio quality is actually quite good - and so is the call quality. People don't complain about any echoes or quietness. What else? The heated seats are fast and HOT. Heated sideview mirrors are great. I have the adaptive radar cruise control, front collision breaking, blind spot warning, backup camera, bi-xenon HID adaptive headlights (they aim in the direction you turn) - it's got it all - well... it doesn't have a heated steering wheel, which would have been nice. Performance: The performance from the Skyativ 2.5L 4-cylinder, 6-speed power train is actually very good. It sounds great and is very quick to rev. Acceleration is not boring - especially with the paddle shifters - but it's not what I would call exhilarating either. It does 0-60 in a bit over 7 seconds, which is actually very good. My previous vehicle was a Grand Prix GTP with a supercharged 3.8L 6 cylinder - and it took 6.5 seconds. The Mazda doesn't feel like a typical 4 cylinder engine - it feels more like a 6 - and I think that is due to the good amount of torque provided. Would I trade more HP for a little less fuel economy? Maybe... Maybe not. This thing gets great gas mileage. I average about 32mpg, with a 60/40 highway/city split. On the interstate, I can get upwards of 40mpg average. I think that makes up for the .7 second longer sprint to 60 mph. Handling is fantastic. This thing feels like it's on rails when going around a sharp bend. There is very little body roll and it feels composed - even when you push it. The ride is firm - and with the 19" wheels road noises can be a bit loud at times - especially when driving on dirt roads. For this, I docked one mark. Quality: As for quality, this car is great - but I have a couple gripes. The rubber seals around the doors tend to stick to the metal when it's cold, and the rubber will pull off the small mounting rivet. It can be put back with little effort (a small flat blade screwdriver), but this shouldn't happen. Another is the thickness of the exterior paint; It is very easy to chip - especially on the front of the car. I feel Mazda could have used a better hardener in their process to help avoid this issue. For these issues, I docked a point."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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