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 Mazda6 on Saturday, March 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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
By Indy Mazda on Thursday, March 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Nanid1978 on Thursday, March 12, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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