Changes to the Mazda6’s exterior are light; the sedan’s signature chiseled body and swooping curves return anchored by a pumped-up grille with studded accents and a more creased front bumper. Slimmer headlights that integrate more angular slitlike foglights round out the Mazda6’s dynamic face. Mazda says there’s new 17- and 19-inch wheel designs and a new color — Soul Red Crystal — joins the lineup.
Like its CX-9 and CX-5 siblings before it, the sedan’s interior got an upgrade. Mazda says the interior is all-new, and that only the steering wheel and some trim pieces carry over from the previous model year. One big change is the control panel’s stretched, horizontal design. Cabin materials also look upscale; on top Signature models, premium Japanese Sen wood trim and Nappa leather adorn the cabin. Other new highlights of the cabin include an updated Mazda Connect multimedia display that uses sharper color contrast, a 360-view camera and a reconfigurable 7-inch thin-film-transistor display; optional ventilated seats are also newly available for 2018.
Mazda also redesigned the sedan’s front seats; the automaker says they’re wider and use high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam for a firm but supportive feel. The automaker claims the seats are designed to help keep front occupants’ spines in the body’s natural standing S-shape.
Under the Hood
Much is changed under the hood. The Mazda6’s current engine gets an update and a new turbo joins the lineup.
The current 2.5-liter four-cylinder now features cylinder deactivation, which will allow it to run on fewer cylinders under light loads for better gas mileage. Fuel-economy estimates have not yet been released, however. Mazda says the six-speed automatic also has been updated to ensure the transition between four- and two-cylinder mode is imperceptible.
New for 2018 and available on higher trim levels is the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, borrowed from the CX-9 SUV. In both the sedan and SUV, it makes 250 horsepower on premium fuel, 227 hp on regular unleaded gas. It too will pair with the six-speed automatic transmission; a manual transmission is only available on non-turbo models.
Mazda said it also made a number of enhancements to the sedan’s suspension that should make for a smoother, quieter ride. The steering also has been updated, and Mazda says it should be more responsive and have a more direct feel.
The Mazda6’s i-ActivSense suite of safety features carry over to 2018; they include lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beams, distance-keeping cruise control and autonomous safety braking support. Also new is adaptive cruise control that can bring the sedan to a complete stop then accelerate back up to the set speed once traffic clears.