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The all-new 2014 Mazda 6 is so much better all-around than the previous model. It is sleeker, longer, wider yet lighter on its feet. Utilizing Mazda’s SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, the engine, fuel economy, transmission, suspension and braking systems of the Mazda 6 have been redesigned to work in harmony with each other to produce a much better Mazda 6i Grand Touring sedan that I tested.
With the KODO ‘Soul of Motion’ design language, first expressed on the SHINARI Concept, the all-new Mazda6 matches nearly every sinuous sheet metal curve of its conceptual twin the TAKERI Concept. From its elongated cab-forward stance, muscular fenders and sweeping character lines-the new Mazda6 looks like nothing else on the road. The style features the familiar Mazda five-point chrome ‘signature wing’ front grill. The chrome strikes beyond the grille to continue into the eagle-eye shaped adaptive HID headlights. A new LED strip functions as the daytime running lights. Nestled within its black horizontal lines and flanked by piano black top-line trim is the Mazda badge. The lower front fascia shows a new splitter to keep the front end planted and at the sides are round foglamps. Starting from the sculpted hood and continuing along the prominent front fenders is a pronounced character crease, curing and twisting itself across the A-pillar as another sweeping stroke of the metal emerges to proceed toward the rear. The greenhouse is surrounded by a full-perimeter strip of chrome to give the all-new car a more luxurious touch. Eventually a third crease surfaces to readjust the muscular tone into the stylized wraparound tail lamps before beautifully blending into the ‘signature wing’-matching chrome piece of the trunk lid. Below the rear bumper are dual exhaust finishers at each end to show the performance character from the rear.
This low and sleekly styled Grand Touring Mazda6 cuts through the air with an incredibly low 0.26 coefficient of drag, the lowest in its segment. Placing the all-new model next to the last Mazda6 model shows the vast difference in styling. The all-new model is built on the longest wheelbase among the competition at 11.4 inches and features a width of just 72.4 inches. Its lean and lighter body is 191.5 inches long and rides on standard 17 inch wheels and tires. The Grand Touring edition comes with 19X8 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 225/45R19 inch Dunlop SP Sport 5000 all-season radial tires for a smooth quiet ride with excellent grip.
Power is provided by the SKYACTIVE–G 2.5 liter, Direct Injected, DOHC, 16-valve, all-aluminum, In-line four-cylinder engine with VVT running a high 13.0:1 compression ratio. This high-tech engine generates a healthy 184hp at 5,700rpm and 185lb.ft. of torque at just 3,250rpm. The engine is mated to the SKYACTIVE-G Drive six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. This smooth shifting automatic comes with paddle shifter on the Grand Touring trim level that I tested for even more fun when behind the wheel. The electric speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering system is a perfect match for the newly redesigned fully independent suspension. The monocoque unibody construction features more high-tensile strength steel and it weighs 97 pounds less than the previous model. The front and rear suspension subframes enhance stiffness, and inhibit noise, vibration and harshness furthering the superb handling characteristics. Up front is a sport-tuned MacPherson setup with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar. The rear is a multi-link setup with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. The ride is so harmonious that with a little touch the car goes where you point it to. It feels very light and nimble when putting it through its paces on curving roads.
Slowing the all-new Mazda6 down from speed are large, power-assisted, steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.7 inch vented rotors and in the rear are 10.9 inch solid rotors. Each rotor is clamped with large single-piston calipers. Control of the vehicle during serve braking or when braking on wet or slick pavement is handled with standard ABS, EBD, BA Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, and Hill Launch Assist. Each of these safety systems works together to give you more control during emergency situations.
With the new SKYACTIVE-G Powertrain, redesigned suspension and sleeker designed body the all-new Mazda6 i is one fantastic, fun-to-drive four-door sport sedan. Besides the excellent mechanicals is an excellent driver-oriented cabin that features intuitive functions matched with a multitude of well-placed operational controls with ample room for five adults. Repetitive function controls offers drivers a variety of options base on their operational preferences, whether it be via voice control, touch screen, button pushing or knob turning, such as the all-new commander-switch feature situated with the center console which comes standard in the Grand Touring model that I tested. The contoured dash is uncluttered yet still very striking with warm textures of dark satin. Additional high-quality surfaces abound in the form of soft-touch surfaces and high-quality faux wood trim on the dashboard face, around the instrument cluster with aluminum trim around the air vents, on the door pulls, center stack and console. Dark satin finish also appears on knobs and switches making controls easier to locate as well as adding a distinctive design element.
The instrument cluster offers meter lighting that makes the gauges readably clear in bright sunlight as well as minimize eye strain in the darkness. The three-spoke, racing inspired, tilt/telescopic/leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and appeals to enthusiasts and offers standard functional features such as steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls. The front leather-trimmed bucket seats are soft, comfortable and very supportive featuring 8-way power-adjustments for the driver and dour-way power-adjustments for the front passenger. There are also 2-memory settings for the driver’s seat. The rear 60/40 split bench seat features a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders and vents on the back of the center console to help bring cool/warm air faster to the rear.
My all-new 2014 Mazda6 I Grand Touring vehicle came standard with these features not mentioned above: rain-sensing wipers/washers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated/power-remote sideview mirrors, power moonroof, heated front seats, 5.8 inch color touch-screen display, navigation system, reaview camera, Bose 11-speaker sound system, Sirius satellite radio, USB audio input/HD radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone/audio, auto/off Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, halogen foglamps, chrome door kick plates, rear lip spoiler, power windows/door locks, advanced keyless entry, push button start/stop, dual-zone climate control, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, center console with sliding storage box/armrest, carpeted floor mats, grab handles above each passenger door and dual map lamps.
Standard safety features include five-passenger 3-point safety belts/pretensioner/load limiters up front, LATCH system for child seats, anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system, Blind Spot monitoring system, Smart City Brake Support, advanced front dual airbags, front side-impact airbags, front/rear side-curtain airbags, SKYACTIVE Ring Structure, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and an alarm system.
The all-new 2013 Mazda6 i Grand Touring sport sedan is a great looking, performing, comfortable, convenient, ergonomic, safe with the latest in infotainment systems. It is a tremendous leap from the previous generation that was also a great sedan but this new model is even more. During my seven-day test drive the on-board trip computer registered 31.9mpg driving more than 350 miles in the city and on the highway.
Copyright: 2013 Harvey Schwartz
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