New 2018 Mazda MAZDA6 Sedan New 2018
Mazda MAZDA6 Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

More fun to drive than many of its rivals, the stylish 2018 Mazda6 is a standout in the midsize family-sedan class. Mazda’s flagship sedan offers a sporty driving experience, fuel-efficient engines, an upscale interior and top safety ratings. For 2018 the Mazda6 gets a revised look, a new more powerful 250-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, a retuned suspension for a more comfortable ride; wider, more comfortable seats; and improved infotainment features. With these important improvements the new Mazda6 is better equipped to compete with such popular rivals as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. A 6-speed automatic transmission works with both engines, but Mazda still offers a manual transmission with the base 184-horsepower 4-cylinder to satisfy enthusiasts. Four trim levels are available, with prices starting around $22,500.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a stylish and well-equipped midsize family sedan with top safety ratings, fuel-efficient engines and a well-earned reputation for reliability, you’ll like the new 2018 Mazda6. Buyers also appreciate the Mazda’s fun-to-drive dynamics and its upscale interior, which now features wider, more comfortable seats.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Its trunk isn’t as large as some of its rivals, and some may find the Mazda6’s rear legroom to be a little tight. Also, Mazda does not offer a hybrid or an all-wheel-drive version of the Mazda6. Hybrid shoppers should check out the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry hybrids. For all-wheel drive look at the Subaru Legacy and Ford Fusion.

What's New for 2018

For 2018 the Mazda6 is heavily revised with an updated exterior, a new more powerful 250-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, a retuned suspension for a more comfortable ride; wider, more comfortable seats; an 8-inch infotainment display, and a 360-degree-view monitor. Ventilated seats are now available as is Radar Cruise Control with stop-and-go capability. 

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Mazda’s entire lineup has earned a reputation for exceptional driving dynamics and the 2018 Mazda6 lives up to the those expectations. This year Mazda has retuned the sedan’s suspension for improved handling and a smoother ride, and the results are impressive. The Mazda6 is more fun to drive than before, with class-leading cornering capability, but its ride is now far more refined. The standard 184-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is powerful enough for most buyers, but the newly available 250-horsepower turbocharged engine finally gives the new Mazda6 sports sedan acceleration and passing power. The engine, which is shared with the Mazda CX-9 SUV, is smooth with plenty of torque off the line and an entertaining punch at higher rpm. The 6-speed automatic transmission has fewer gears than many in the class, but it’s responsive and a good match for both engines, plus it has a Sport mode. And the Mazda’s steering is a favorite in the class, with just the right amount of assist and plenty of feel.

Favorite Features

RADAR CRUISE CONTROL WITH STOP AND GO
For 2018, this advanced cruise-control system is available on the new Mazda6. It not only maintains a safe predetermined distance from the vehicle ahead, it works at all speeds and features stop-and-go capabilities so it’ll apply the brakes and accelerate for you in heavy traffic conditions.

TOP SAFETY PICK+
The new 2018 Mazda6 is the brand’s largest and most expensive sedan and it has received the highest safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mazda6 has earned 5 Stars from NHTSA and a rating of Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The Mazda6's already-impressive interior has been further improved for 2018. It’s all new except for the 3-spoke steering wheel and a few small trim pieces. Mazda has redesigned the front seats, making them wider and more comfortable. The rear seats also get new padding for additional comfort, and a larger 8-inch infotainment screen is now standard. The system’s rotary-dial controller is retained. It works well enough, but a touch screen would be preferable. Overall, it’s still one of the best interiors in the class, with clean design, impressive materials and an upscale décor. On paper, the rear seat's 38.7 inches of legroom looks good, but in reality, the overall space can feel tight. Its 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space is also small for the class, but 60/40-split fold-down rear seats are standard.

Exterior

For 2018 Mazda has tweaked the exterior design of the Mazda6 adding drama, strength and improved sound insulation. There’s a new grille that is more finely detailed and recessed, which gives the sedan a more aggressive face. Mazda has also reinforced the structure of the Mazda6, adding body reinforcements and thicker sheet metal to its rear wheelwells to keep more noise out of its cabin. The overall shape is sporty and athletic with voluptuous curves, a low roofline and a hunkered-down stance. Its long hood and muscular haunches add presence and give the Mazda the proportions of a more expensive luxury 4-door from BMW or Mercedes.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Mazda6 is available in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature. A base Sport model with manual transmission comes with keyless entry and push-button start, cruise control, 60/40-split folding rear seats, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with 8-inch color touch-screen display, rearview camera and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio system with USB and auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth streaming for phone and audio, plus blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Touring models have more features and standard active safety systems. Amenities include Leatherette seating, dual-zone climate control, power driver's seat, 19-inch wheels, auto on/off headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Smart City Brake Support.

Notable Optional Equipment

With four trim levels to choose from, the 2018 Mazda6 can be outfitted as expensively as your wallet will allow. The Touring trim can be further outfitted with heated front seats, moonroof, 11-speaker Bose audio system and LED headlights. Grand Touring models get navigation, the Bose system, radar cruise control, perforated leather seats, a power-passenger seat, paddle shifters and illuminated grille. Grand Touring models can be further outfitted with lane-keep assist, high-beam control and memory-seat adjustment. The Premium package includes heated rear seats and steering wheel, Nappa leather-trimmed seats and interior brightwork. The new top-of-the line Signature trim level adds wood trim and suede on the dash, seats and doors.

Under the Hood

The standard powerplant for the 2018 Mazda6 is the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline 4-cylinder engine. It features a radical 13:1 compression ratio for greater efficiency, yet still runs on regular unleaded. 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. And it gets better fuel economy than the manual transmission. New this year is an available turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is shared with the Mazda CX-9 SUV. It’s rated at 250 horsepower on 93-octane gasoline and 227 horsepower on less expensive 87-octane fuel. It’s available with the 6-speed automatic transmission only.

2.5-liter inline-4
184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (manual), 26/35 mpg (automatic)

2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
250 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
310 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg

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Pricing Notes

When you include the $890 destination fee, the 2018 Mazda6 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $22,500 for a manual-transmission Sport model. The mid-trim Touring models we recommend begin just over $25,000. Opting for an automatic transmission on either is an extra $1,050. The Grand Touring model starts around $32,000 and can cross $34,000 with the Premium package, and the new Mazda6 Signature starts over $35,000. At these prices, the Mazda6 starts slightly lower than major competitors like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy, and is in line with a Hyundai Sonata, which comes standard with an automatic transmission. As such, the Mazda6 is one of the best values in its segment. To be sure you're getting the best deal, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Mazda6's resale value is expected be mid-pack, trailing standouts like the Legacy, Camry and Accord.

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