2014 Mazda6 gets Zoom-Zoomier with Skyactiv

2014 Mazda6 gets Zoom-Zoomier with Skyactiv

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.

 

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Filed under: Car du Jour, Today's Rave

Tags: Mazda6

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    Have you worked through your keyless fob rant yet? I keep mine in my bag all the time, because you just press the small black button on the door (passenger or driver) to unlock or lock the door and of course then use the engine start button.

    You can use the unlock button on the fob if you want the drivers seat to move to position 1 or 2 in the settings before you get in.

  • In reply to Les Posen:

    no, i haven't worked my way through the rant yet. my purse is a bottomless pit and as soon as something goes in, it's lost. winter makes things a little easier because i wear a jacket and can put the fob in my pocket. but once it goes in the purse, i get angry all over again.

  • The talking heads on Autoline (channel 20.1 at 7:30 Monday) had commented that Skyactive didn't really convey anything, as opposed to Ford EcoBoost, which at least conveyed a turbo.

    In fact, one has to go to Mazda's site to find out what it is, which seems to be that the engine has a higher compression ratio without blowing up using regular gas, and otherwise reduced friction losses.

    And if you got close to the combined EPA rating and didn't have to have an egg under your accelerator foot, you did much better than you would in any Ford hybrid compared to the EPA rating. Mike Rowe still has the seemingly deceptive advertising that Ford beats Toyota in mileage. 28.7 mpg is pretty good for what is considered a family size car.

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