By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
When it debuted last year, the Mazda6 quickly caught our eye. Its sensual styling, handsome interior, agile handling and impressive fuel economy combined to make the midsize sedan an instant favorite among the KBB.com staff. The 2015 Mazda Mazda6 carries on with little change, which is a good a thing. Driven by Mazda's Skyactiv engine technology, the Mazda6 is able to squeeze out impressive power from a mere 2.5-liter engine and return fuel economy figures that put some economy cars to shame. Mazda even offers a manual transmission on two of the Mazda6's three trims, another nod to the enthusiast nature of the Mazda family of cars. Unfortunately, last year's promise of a Skyactiv diesel looks to have been scrapped, with only a 2.5-liter gasoline-powered model offered for 2015.
If you're looking for midsize sedan with some sizzle, the 2015 Mazda6 won't disappoint. From its dramatic styling to its skilled ability to round corners, this affordable, fuel-efficient family sedan has it all.
Those who love driving a manual transmission are bound to be a bit peeved that the best options (like the Bose/Moonroof package) are reserved only for cars with an automatic. It should also be noted that the Skyactiv engine requires pricey synthetic oil with a 7,500-mile recommended change interval.
The 2015 Mazda6 carries over with only minor changes. A new Bose/Moonroof/Satellite Radio package is offered on the Touring model, while one-touch up/down windows with backlit switches are added to the base model.
Driving Impressions We admit there were times during our test drive we wished for a V6 under the Mazda6's hood. But, as most buyers in this segment opt for 4-cylinder engines, we...... feel the Mazda6's 184-horsepower 2.5-liter offering will more than meet most expectations. Mazda's ability to design the engine, body and suspension at the same time has created a car that is lighter and stronger than its competitors, and one that offers precise handling, excellent braking and a truly enjoyable driving experience. The fully electric power steering surprised us with its excellent feedback and relatively quick 15.5:1 ratio. As for overall ride comfort, we found the big 19-inch wheel and tire package on the Touring and Grand Touring to feel a bit harsh. Opting for the Sport trim brings smaller 17-inch wheels and a better ride, but fewer features we so love such as the Bose audio, automatic climate control and navigation.
The 2.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder has an insanely high 13:1 compression ratio that helps it deliver maximum power and fuel economy without the need for turbocharging.
I-ELOOP ENERGY CAPTURE
Mazda's i-Eloop regenerative braking system employs a fast charging capacitor in place of a battery to capture and store electricity while the car is coasting. That energy is then used to power ancillary equipment.
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. 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
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 2015 Mazda6 the curb presence of a more expensive car.
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 1-touch auto up/down, 60/40-split fold-down rear seats, cruise control, a tilt/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.
In this era of connectivity, the Mazda6 offers a 5.8-inch in-dash touch screen that 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.
The sole powerplant for the 2015 Mazda6 is the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine. It features a radical 13:1 compression ratio for greater efficiency, facilitated by its unique 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. Best of all, the Mazda6 doesn't require premium fuel.
184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual), 26/38 mpg (automatic), 28/40 mpg (i-Eloop)
The base 2015 Mazda6 Sport with manual transmission has an MSRP starting just under $22,000, while an automatic transmission model sells for just under $24,000. The mid-level Touring trim starts around $25,000 includes virtually all the features of the Sport model plus extras like dual-zone automatic climate control and a 6-way power driver's seat. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring starts just over $30,500 and 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 2015 Mazda Mazda6 will not hold its value quite as well as the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, but that hit might be offset by a lower purchase price.
By DJS on Friday, January 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "No motion sickness, great auto transmission"
Cons: "Interior Lights can kill battery"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car keeps everyone in my family happy. My wife and sons don't get motion sickness on winding roads like all the other cars we have tried and its fun to drive. I'm not sure what Mazda has done to the suspension that's different from all the other midsize cars (we tried everything from Ford, Kia, Toyota and Honda) but it's the only car that doesn't make my wife motion sick. The suspension is slightly stiffer than the Kia, Toyota, Honda but softer than the Ford. The interior noise is slightly more than the Honda but not by much. The automatic transmission is the best I have driven in any car of any type. It is smooth shifting quiet and quick. After it learns your driving (a couple hundred miles, I know because it looses its settings after the battery goes dead, see con section below) it seems it's never in the wrong gear. The manual mode is great too and allows very precise and quick shifts which allows precise engine breaking for long down slopes. The car handles the curves nicely without being too harsh or rolling too much and the breaking is smooth and linear and handles dry roads to slick ice well. The steering has the best driver feedback of all the current midsize cars. On long stretches of highway the car seems to glide along effortlessly but never puts you to sleep. The blind spot monitoring system and backup monitoring is brilliant. Its never obtrusive and extremely reliable and it definitely adds an extra layer of safety to everyday driving without being annoying. The interior is exactly like I like it simple, clean and convenient. Modern Hondas are exactly the opposite, with lots of very complicated and confusing controls, so if you like Honda interiors you will probably dislike the Mazda 6 interior and vice-versa. Fuel economy in my car is entirely dependent on the driver. It never gets bad economy but it can get amazing economy. My Brother drives like the police are chasing him and gets about 26mpg but on long trips I can drive it gently and get 45mpg easily, my wife gets about 33mpg average. The cars fuel monitor is almost exactly 9% pessimistic in my car reporting 9% less mpg than I actually get. I keep a log of every fill-up and its always consistent. The interior is roomy even with two car seats an adult can sit in the back comfortably and the two front seats keep plenty of leg room for anyone under 6 feet tall. My friend who is 6'4" cannot fit comfortably in the drivers seat but another who is 6'1" can. I'm 5'9" and I fit great, my wife is 4'11" and she fits great. So I can't recommend the car for a driver who is much over 6' tall but even very short drivers like my wife fit great with great visibility. Cons: The automatic cabin light system can drain the battery. My sons love to play with any buttons they can find and there are several ways to turn on the cabin lights so that they stay on continuously which will drain the battery if your not careful, everything else in the car shuts off after a while just not the cabin lights in specific modes. A good design is like Fords I have owned, they shut off everything accidentally left on after an hour or so. Also the I-drive knob (or some other such stupid name) between the passenger and driver seats is stupid and useless but at least its not intrusive, everyone simply ignores it. My wife doesn't like the sound of the trunk when it closes she says it sounds cheap. The other doors sound nice when you close them."
19 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Brandon on Monday, December 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, looks, LED headlights, gas mileage"
Cons: "Tiny things, steering wheel leather fades quickly"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I actually owned a 2014 Mazda 6 Sport from May to December of 2014. Once I saw the Grand Touring model on the street, I traded it in within a month for it. Since getting my GT in mid December of 2014, I have put almost 20,000 miles on my car. I actually delivery pizza and I couldn't think of a better car to drive every day, I love it. I get so many compliments, people thinking the car costs $40K< and turns so many heads even though the car has almost been out for 2 years. I can't think of a single complaint about this car, everything about it is perfect."
17 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By DBYak on Sunday, December 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, gorgeous, thrifty and all sport"
Cons: "Noisy on a rough road, hard to get in and out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this vehicle about 5 months now and have a second car so it doesn't get a ton of miles on it. But, every time I take it out for a drive, I enjoy myself. The car could probably use a few more horsepower to be a super driver, but it also gets great gas mileage. I don't really feel its underpowered, I would say its adequately powered for most situations. No, you won't scream from the stoplight, but it has sprightly acceleration and its smooth. When you need to speed up on the highway, you simply go faster without any harsh transmission kicks. I used the cruise control on a mountain pass and you literally could not feel the switches in RPM's and shifts. The Bose stereo option is excellent. Everything in the car is where you expect it to be and of good quality although I'm not in love with the look or feel of the headlight and wiper arms on the steering wheel. I've had much more expensive sport sedans and this is on a par with all of them. It is a perfect mix of fun to drive with a great value and great gas mileage on regular to boot. It is a long time between fill ups. One other minor gripe is as a tall guy, it isn't an easy car to get in and out of, being so low to the ground and I have to watch my head on the door too, but once in, I'm very comfortable for a long drive."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful