I am a huge fan of Mazda. Huge. I love the Zoom-Zoom philosophy combined with the incredible functionality of the cars in its lineup. The Mazda2 is a great city car. The CX-5 is both functional and fun as a crossover. And the Mazdaspeed3 is on my short list of cars I want to buy. In fact, until the 2014 model year, the only blight on the brand (IMHO) was the Mazda6. I thought every car in the Mazda lineup was exceptional, except that one.
The previous generation Mazda6 was (kiss of death) fine.
But for 2014, all that changes. And it begins and ends with the brilliant 4-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine.
While the 4-cylinder engine in the Mazda6 is still a 2.5-liter, the 2014 model is infused with Skyactiv technology. And that means more fuel efficiency and more power. How much more?
- 2013: 170 horsepower, 167 pound-feet of torque, 21 city mpg, 30 highway mpg
- 2014: 184 horsepower, 185 pound-feet of torque, 25 city mpg, 37 highway mpg
That alone is pretty impressive. But when you combine the increased power and efficiency with increased interior quietness, you have a real winner. When I first drove the previous generation Mazda6, I thought it was rather lackluster all around from the design that looked like a Toyota Solara to the engine power that lacked a certain Zoom-Zoom.
But this new model -- with both the automatic and the manual transmission -- leaves me giddy with delight. It's fun. It's comfortable. It's gorgeous. And it's quiet. One of my biggest complaints in the old model was the whining engine noise that traveled back into the cabin that had me cranking up the radio. But during my test period in the 2014 Mazda6, I actually drove with the radio off simply because I was so happy with this new-found peace.
The one thing I should point out, however, is that I wasn't able to hit the high end of the EPA fuel estimates. On the high end of my test week, I was averaging about 34 mpg. But as soon as I added in a lot of city driving, my fuel economy dropped below 30 mpg and stayed there. My combined average for the week was 28.7, which is pretty close to the EPA estimated combined average of 29 mpg.
Model tested: Mazda6 i Touring
Base price: $24,440
As-tested price: $25,010
Lest you think I went completely gaga over the Mazda6 (which I very nearly did), check out my rant from a previous test. It was also a rant on this test, but I try not to sound like a broken record. Much.
Want to subscribe to Drive, She Said via email? Simply type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.