by Tony West and Jamar Lee
For 2014 Mazda created 3 new showstoppers, the Mazda 6 Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring, 3 mpg giants under 30 grand. I tested the 2014 Mazda 6 GT with an open mind, mainly because Mazda hasn’t impressed me in the last decade. The redesigned 2014 Mazda 6 is a sleek sexy sedan that impressed at first sight with its sporty edge and lux flair. A fiery soul red paint job matched with the soft gray leather interior turns its swag up. Sitting in the soft leather seats affront steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, a 5.8 –inch touchscreen, and power moonroof takes it to the next level. I was more impressed once I pulled off. The Mazda 6 has a very comfortable ride. Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology makes the 6 a pleasure to drive. The ride is smooth, easy, and steady at every turn. And the mpgs are the best I’ve seen in a non-hybrid.
SKYACTIV and ELOOP = Superb EPA
The Mazda 6 is available in 3 trims, the Sport ($22,695), the Touring ($23,645), and the Grand Touring Model ($26,695.) All 3 come standard with 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine, a quiet ninja with hutzpah. SKYACTIV technology increases fuel efficiency with more efficient engine components and a more rigid body design. The SKYACTIV engine with the 6-speed manual transmission available in all models, allows for reduced shift throws and incomparable fuel economy. Even better is the ELOOP technology, which uses regenerative braking to store energy to power the headlights, climate control, and audio system.
Both of Mazda’s innovative technologies make the Mazda 6 a MPG Giant. Less gas is used because the alternator doesn’t pull from the engine as much. Yet the Mazda isn’t a hybrid. Dizzam! Did Mazda take a figurative dump on hybrid tech? With an EPA rating of 40mpg highway, 28mpg city, and 32mpg combined, it nearly beats out the Ford Fusion and rolls over the more expensive and less efficient Chevy Volt hybrid.
Hybrid/ Lux Character in a Sporty Sedan
The 2014 Mazda 6 GT we tested turned heads. Mazda stepped up the swag factor with bold color options, LED headlights and taillights, 19” alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler, and a more muscular body. The Mazda 6 GT is spacious inside with leather trimmed luxury flair.
The 2014 Mazda 6 has some of the great things hybrids offer with sporty character. The Touring and Grand Touring models offer a SKYACTIV Drive 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, active grille shutters, Tom Tom navigation, Sirius Satellite radio, heated side mirrors, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming rearview mirrors, and the Smart City Brake System. The Smart City Brake System auto-slows the 6 at speeds less than 19mph when a collision is imminent. Other lux sporty features on the GT include heated front seats, a rearview camera, voice command, Bose surround sound, Bluetoooth, USB ports, keyless entry, and a push button start. All models come with a 5.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, media, and other infotainment apps. The 5.8-inch touch screen is okay. But it could’ve been a little bigger. Some street names are left out and it’s not directional, nor does it have real time traffic.
Ideal for a Road Trip – the $100 Tale of Two Cities
On the road the Mazda 6 has one of the most calming rides I’ve had for less than $30,000. All the cutting-edge technology with the luxury interior makes for a smooth tranquil ride. All of my passengers said the same thing. And the manual is great because it starts in 4th gear and predicts my next shift. So no jerky shifty.
We put the Mazda 6 GT to the test traveling to 3 cities; Chicago to St. Louis, MO, St. Louis to Springfield, MO, then back to Chicago, IL. The trip spanned over 1,000 miles but gas cost me less than $100 for the entire trip. One fill up lasted me 5 days. Across 2 states-urban to rural terrain, the 2014 Mazda 6 was given positive feedback. There was only one issue I discovered with highway driving. The moon roof has a plastic bar erected in the sill of the open roof that creates loud wind resistance. The noise is so loud that I had to yell over it or close the moon roof altogether to hear audio on the highway.
Standard Safety for Less than Competitors
The 2014 Mazda 6 GT offers a lot of standard tech and safety features for less than the Cadillac CTS, the Toyota Avalon, and the Hyundai Genesis. That puts it on pace to rival their 2013 sales. Especially when fuel savings are factored. An additional $900 for the MRCC/FOW package adds the Forward Obstruction Warning and Radar Cruise Control. Optional is an advance package that includes the Lane Departure Warning System and High Beam Control. Standard Safety features include Dynamic Stability Control, the Traction Control system, Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hill Launch Assist, and the Tire Pressure Monitoring system. All this optional/add on this and that is confusing. The fully loaded 2014 Mazda 6 gives so much for what some pay for a base sedan that I would just pay $30,000 and get everything I want in a sporty sedan.