Redesigned for 2014, the new Mazda6 represents the third generation of Mazda's mainstream family sedan. It competes with a slew of popular nameplates: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.
Lighter than its predecessor, the Mazda6 drops last year's optional V-6 for a high-tech four-cylinder and, later in 2013, a turbo-diesel four-cylinder.
The new Mazda6 is strongly influenced by the Takeri concept from the 2012 New York Auto Show. Rather than the smiley expression on the Mazda3, the Mazda6 adopts the automaker's Kodo ("Soul of Motion") design language, most recently seen on the CX-5 SUV.
Like in the new 2013 Ford Fusion, the Mazda6's side mirrors are mounted on the door rather than the side A-pillar for aerodynamic reasons. The carmaker says the front wheels have been pushed nearly four inches forward to reduce front overhang, while the rear decklid has been shortened. The rear features a wider trunk opening, and the overall wheelbase has increased by a little more than an inch (now about 111 inches). However, the overall length, width and height have decreased a smidge compared with the old model. The new ultra-high tensile steel body is more than 200 pounds lighter than the current Mazda6.
The shelf-like dashboard falls steeply to the floor, with a small center display housing the available TomTom-based navigation system. A knob controller behind the gearshift controls much of the action. Mazda says rear passenger space has increased, and comfort is enhanced with longer rear-seat cushions and a larger rear-seat armrest. Like the CX-5, the Mazda6 has a new 3.5-inch information screen in the gauge cluster and can be optioned with a 5-inch display in the center console.
Under the Hood
The new Mazda drops the optional 3.7-liter V-6 for a pair of four-cylinder engines, both with the automaker's SkyActiv direct-injection technology. The base engine is a 2.5-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque. An optional system dubbed i-ELOOP integrates regenerative braking, a feature most often seen in hybrids.
A 2.2-liter SkyActiv turbo-diesel four-cylinder will arrive in the second half of 2013.
A six-speed manual is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional.
The Mazda6 will now flicker the hazard lights in an event of panic braking, and there's a new rear vehicle monitoring system, a lane departure warning system and a new self-braking front-collision system.
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