2014 Mazda6 i Sport Review
By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Model: 2014 Mazda6 i Sport
Engine: 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 184 hp @ 5,700 rpm/185 lb.-ft. @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 111.4 in.
Length x Width x Height: 191.5 x 72.4 x 57.1 in.
Cargo: 14.8 cu. ft.
Economy: 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/33.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 16.4 gal.
Curb Weight: 3,183 lbs.
Sticker: $21,675 (includes $795 delivery)
The Bottom Line: The new Mazda6 Sport has the power to change initial opinions. It has good styling, decent power and handling, all at an affordable price.
When my wife first sat in the Mazda6 Sport she was underwhelmed, to be kind. She didn’t like the interior and when she saw that it had a manual transmission, she was really unfriendly to the car. To be fair, the manual wasn’t Mazda’s fault; she just knows how less-than-smoothly I shift.
When she exited the car for the last time a week later, she admitted that her rush to judgment was just that. After a week and a couple of hundred miles in the Mazda6 she looked much more favorably on it. She liked the overall styling, inside and out, and admitted that the plainness of the interior was more a reflection of the car we had prior to the Mazda6 than on the Mazda6 itself. She also applauded the excellent fuel economy we achieved on two long trips, 33.3 mpg overall.
Okay, then, you can get good economy from several little econoboxes. But the Mazda6 is a real car, a m id-size with good dimensions all around. The front seats, for example, are comfortable – important on long rides – and offer good side support.
There is good power from the 2.5-liter inline four. The manual transmission allows you to extract the mot power from the engine in that you can downshift when you want that extra boost. Shifting is not a problem, which made my wife happy, although in all honesty we didn’t shift a lot on our longer trips.
The Sport version of the Mazda6 is the base model with no frills. The manual transmission, manual seats and basic sound system attest to this. Still, we had pushbutton start and stop, so this is no bare-bones base model.
For entertainment we had AM/FM, CD and a USB connection. The audio system has two knobs and the HVAC system has three.
There’s also no navigation system, but this helps keep the price affordable. Honestly, I like navi systems, but the world won’t come to an end if a car doesn’t have one. To compensate, I have navigation on my smart phone plus a TomTom just in case.
Overall styling is very much in the Ford idiom, reflecting the years when Mazda was under the Ford umbrella. The Mazda6 has a smaller grille than its Blue Oval counterpart, and it competes with the Fusion, so you don’t want them to look too much alike.
Drive quality is very good. A feature I appreciated and haven’t felt in many other cars is the ability for the Mazda6 to track down the highway. The car is in its own way a definition of Newton’s first law- a body in motion tend to stay in motion. If the Mazda6 is going straight down the road, it tends to stay straight. There’s no forced control of the steering wheel, it just stays the course. Similarly, when you’re in a corner and you aren’t encountering strange things – i.e. no decreasing radius turns or anything – the car stays the course as well, with little or no added input from the driver required.
The rear seats are comfortable, if firm. They offer good rear leg room. The seat backs fold with a release in the trunk to expand cargo capacity. There’s good rear and side visibility for rear passengers to alleviate any claustrophobia. Rear visibility is also good for the driver.
So while my wife derided the Mazda6 when she first sat in it, she appreciated all that Mazda has put into the economy version of its mid-size sedan by the time our test was over. The Mazdqa6 is, at its heart, a very good car. You can load it up with all the added goodies you want or you can take it as it is with the advantage of a better ticker price.
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