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2014 Mazda6 Review: Roomy, Stylish, Efficient, Fun

The 2014 Mazda6 is the first vehicle from the Japanese automaker to sport the sleek and stylish Kodo design language but with a roomy, plush interior and a drivetrain that is both sporty and efficient – the Mazda6 is far more than just a pretty face.

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My 2014 Mazda6 test vehicle was fitted with the features of the range-topping Grand Touring trimline which means that it comes with the most standard goodies and the biggest price. The Mazda6 Grand Touring is so loaded that there are only a handful of options including the GT Technology Package that adds radar guided cruise control, the i-ELOOP assist system, lane departure warning and automatic high beam control. My test vehicle did not feature the GT Tech Package and the only option added was the Sirius Satellite Radio option that added $900 to the final pricing for a total of $31,190 as tested.

The Exterior
The biggest news surrounding the debut of the new Mazda6 sedan was the introduction of the company’s Kodo design language and honestly – I find this to be one great looking sedan. The car is long and low with a wide, sporty stance and fluid body lines that connect the front and rear ends beautifully. The exterior has a sporty feel with an angry, aggressive look but it takes a slightly more subtle approach than some of the other sedans in this segment.

Mazda6 front

Across the front end of the 2014 Mazda6, we see a face that is likely to grace most of the Mazda vehicles in the next few years. This includes a large central grille opening flanked by sharp, angular headlights fitted with HID projection and LED trim. The headlights and grille are connected side to side by a chrome trim piece that starts atop the headlight housings and flows down around the bottom of the grille while a collection of vertical bars filling both the upper and lower grille openings give the front end a sharp, linear look. It also looks fairly mean and I like that. Along the bottom of the front end is a molded chin extension that flows out to the corners where fog lights are mounted in matte black housings. The outer lines of the grille run back through the hood, creating a raised area that extends up and away from the bulging front wheel arches.

From the side, the Mazda6 has an incredibly long, low look but when parked next to other vehicles in the class, you see that it really isnt all that much bigger than the competition. This includes a long hood line, a very slippery windshield that flows through a low roofline and a rear window that creates more of a fastback design than a traditional sedan. The side profile is capped off by a super short trunklid that is created by the long, sloping back glass. The rear end sits just a touch higher for a bit of a sporty rake while the accentuated front wheel arches and the flattened rear quarter panel tops have a very luxury look to them. Finally, 19” alloy wheels fill these big wheel openings while also adding to the sporty feel of the Mazda6.

Out back, the 2014 Mazda6 has a design that somewhat mimics the front end with great looking LED taillights set at an angle that provides the same angry look that we see up front. Between the LEDs, the shape of the lenses and the darkened backup lights, these taillights add more sport inspired feel where other midsized sedans fall very flat. Like the front end, there is a single chrome trim piece that runs from light to light with a small dip in the middle to make room for the big chrome Mazda logo. A small molded trunklid spoiler and dual exhaust outlets set in a black lower fascia completes the sporty feel of the Mazda6 Grand Touring sedan.

MAzda6 rear

The 2014 Mazda6 is the first of the company’s lineup to wear the distinctive Kodo design language and it has been so popular with both the media and the car-buying public that this look has also been applied to the top-selling compact Mazda3 hatchback and sedan. The exterior design is power and unique but it is not as “in your face” as the likes of the Koa Optima or the Hyundai Sonata so those who want to stand out from the Camry just a little – the Mazda6 has a face that is sure to please.

The Interior
The 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring that I tested came with pretty much every available amenity inside and when you open the driver’s door, the most noticeable feature is the great looking sport seats. These black leather clad seats feature contrasting red stitching which accent the deep side and base bolsters so not only do they look fantastic but they also do a great job of keeping the driver and front passenger soundly in place during stints of spirited driving. The black leather with red stitch work is extended into the padded center front armrest that also serves as the center storage area cover and the padded portions of the door panels. Everything else along the dash, door panels and center stack are finished in black with a touch of chrome around the shifter, through the middle of the dash, on the door grab handles and on the various controls knobs on the dash and console. There is also some silver trim around the three large gauges in the dash with the large, centrally mounted speedometer flanked by a tachometer on the left and a vehicle information gauge on the right.This blacked out interior looks great and works to accentuate the sport minded design of the Mazda6 interior while the scant silver trim adds a touch of class.

Mazda6 front seats

In terms of space, the long cabin of the 2014 Mazda6 yields an impressive amount of headroom for very tall front and rear passengers while the front seats offer an incredible amount of leg and knee space for both the driver and passenger. With the front seats to comfortably seat two 6 foot tall people, there is still plenty of rear leg room and even with the driver’s seat moved all of the way back, an adult can fit in the back seats without having his or her legs crushed between the front and rear seats. However, a very tall driver and front passenger who have moved their seats to offer the most leg room possible will prevent the rear riders from stretching their legs much if they are also taller adults. Luckily, there is still plenty of room for children in the back seats or shorter adults with the front seats moved all of the way back. In short, there is plenty of passenger space in the Mazda6 to comfortably seat four adults of average height so a family of four (even with two tall kids) who spends lots of time together in the car should find this midsized sedan to be a great option. Also, the Mazda6 has a big, roomy trunk that will allow for plenty of cargo storage for that same four person family.

Mazda6 rear seats

The 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring package is the top of the line option for this midsized sedan and that translates to lots of high tech goodies from front to back. Aside from amenities on the outside of the car like rain sensing wipers, heated power exterior mirrors, an auto dimming driver’s side exterior mirror and a matching self adjusting rearview mirror and a power moonroof, the Mazda6 offers a ton of content previously unheard of from a midsized sedan under $30k. Things like keyless entry, push button start, full power seat controls for the driver and front passenger with heated surfaces, a touch screen infotainment system a Bose 11 speaker sound system and a rearview camera give the Mazda6 the feel of a much more expensive vehicle. In addition to the touch screen that allows you to adjust the sound and navigation system, the Mazda6 has steering wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth hands free capabilities and a great control interface mounted on the center console just passed the end of the center arm rest. This control knob is similar to what is featured on higher priced Audi models – allowing the driver to make adjustments to the sound system, the navigation system and the hands free phone system without lifting his or her elbow from the arm rest. When you combine the functionality of the steering wheel controls, the centrally mounted control knob, the voice controls and the basic buttons and knobs located on the center stack, you have an interior layout that caters both to those who love modern infotainment technology and those who do not. This is a great system but it is not one that requires classes at the dealership to figure out how to change the radio station.

Mazda6 dash

The 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring sedan offers tons of space and high end gadgetry in a plush, high end looking cabin. Many of these features have become more common outside of the luxury segment but with the Mazda6 carrying a price as tested of just over $31k – the new 6 offers a ton of content in a very affordable package.

Mazda6 infotainment control knobThe Drive
The 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring is powered by the Skyactiv-G 2.5L 4-cylinder mill that sends 184 horsepower and 185lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission that can be controlled manually by the steering wheel mounted shift paddles. I have grown to love shift paddles and in the Mazda6, this simple option to control the electronically shifted automatic transmission adds a little extra bit of driving excitement. While you might not expect to spend much time hammering the turns in your new Mazda6, carefully selecting gears as you enter and exit each turn – the paddles afford you the option to do so. While this transmission option doesn’t offer the control of the manual transmission that is not offered with the Grand Touring package, this paddle shifted auto is a great system for someone who wants more driving fun out of their new midsized sedan.

Mazda6 side

Whether you are shifting with the paddles or letting the 2014 Mazda6 think for itself, the Skyactiv 2.5L engine provides a nice amount of power across the powerband. This isn’t a car that is going to stomp muscle cars from a dig, but as midsized sedans go, the Mazda6 has a nice, sporty feel to it when launching hard from a dead stop. The Mazda6 really shines on the highway, where it will comfortably cruise down the highway at 75mph with plenty of power instantly on tap when you need to step out and pass a slow moving vehicle or accelerate hard to merge into fast moving traffic. When you climb into the Mazda6 and consider the size of the cars with the available power output, it seems like it might be a little light on power but in a segment where a very fuel efficient vehicle can display the need for more power – the Mazda6 sedan’s drivetrain is strong and responsive in almost any normal driving situation.

Best of all, the 2014 Mazda6 delivers a solid amount of power and strong acceleration without killing you at the pump. In fact, the Mazda6 advertises fuel economy figures of 26mpg around town, 38 on the highway and 30 combined. In a mix of roughly 40% around town and 60% on the highway, I averaged just over 31 miles per gallon during my time in the 6. More impressively, I found that careful driving around Detroit’s highways could yield highway fuel economy closer to 40 miles per gallon but that is when I was driving gently to get the best fuel economy that I could without becoming an obstruction for other drivers. I have a heavy foot and still got pretty good fuel economy so I suspect that light footed drivers who spend their time in a similar flat highway system to the one in my area could very easily hit – and exceed- the EPA fuel economy estimates.

Mazda6 front lights on

Finally, the suspension setup of the 2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring offers solid handling through the twisties and a nice, smooth ride on the highway. Many modern sport sedans offer confident handling at the expense of ride quality but the Mazda6 combines the two attributes very nicely. There is a fair amount of the type of “feedback” that would you expect from a sport minded sedan so when driving, you can get a good feel of the road but it offers this road feel without being too rough under normal driving circumstances. While this is no MX5, the Mazda6 is a sedan that can be thrown into the tight turns with some confidence and impressive stability on longer, higher speed curves on the highway. This is a sedan that feels surprisingly light on its feet for a vehicle that looks very large on the road so those who like to cut through the corners with some urgency will find that the Mazda6 is a fun midsized sedan to drive while also offering a calm, comfortable ride on a long highway drive.

The Final Word
Mazda has been doing poorly enough in the United States that they pulled production of the Mazda6 from Flat Rock Michigan to Japan and with the introduction of the distinctive Kodo design language of the 2014 Mazda6 – it is clear that the company has a whole lot riding on this midsized sedan. Fortunately for them, the Mazda6 enters into a jam packed segment with all of the variables needed to succeed against the heavy hitters of the segment like the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry.

Mazda6 front

If you are in the market for a great looking midsized sedan with lots of interior space for the folks sitting in the front and back that also offers lots of fun to drive factor and great fuel economy capabilities – the 2014 Mazda6 is a car that you should be sure to drive before making your next new car purchase.

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