2018 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The front-wheel-drive Mazda 6 competes in a heavyweight field of midsize sedans, including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. Sleek and evocative, it's the most eye-catching among them, while bringing the best roadside manners. It was last redesigned for 2013, refreshed for 2016, infotainment-updated in 2017, and now, for 2018, gets a powerful new engine.
The new optional engine is a 2.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder making 250 horsepower on Premium gasoline (227 hp on Regular) and an awesome 310-pound feet of torque. The smooth engine comes out of the full-sized Mazda CX-9 crossover, where it carries 500 more pounds with no sweat, so it should make the Mazda 6 zoom.
Along with the engine will come suspension upgrades, a steering rack mounted directly to the chassis for sharper steering, and stiffer body construction to reduce NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). We haven't had a chance to test one yet.
The standard engine is a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four cylinder making a modest but still frisky 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It's built with Mazda's SkyActiv technology, including direct injection, variable valve control, and a very high 14:1 compression ratio (in pursuit of fuel mileage).
Both engines get a six-speed automatic transmission, while the base engine also has a six-speed manual available.
With the automatic transmission and base engine, the Mazda6 gets 26/38 mpg City/Highway, or an EPA-estimated 31 miles per gallon Combined. With the optional stop/start and a regenerative-energy system called i-eLoop, it can get up to 40 mpg Highway.
With the available automatic emergency braking, the Mazda6 is rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. In the rollover test, NHTSA gives it a 4.
Three models are available: Mazda6 Sport, Mazda6 Touring, and Mazda6 Grand Touring.
Sport comes with cloth upholstery and includes all the usual airbags and stability control, and a rearview camera. The Touring adds blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking. Grand Touring adds LED headlamps with automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking that functions at a higher speed.