I’ve reviewed the 3rd generation Mazda6 on two previous occasions, this week makes it the third time. I have been a fan of this generation of the Mazda6 since it was first introduced, and for 2018, the car gets quite a few improvements, making an already great car even better.
In some ways the mid-cycle refresh is very noticeable and in others not very noticeable at first, but if you put a 2017 Mazda6 next to a 2018 refreshed version, then you should be able to notice the subtle differences.
The overall exterior styling looks very similar to the previous model year, which in my opinion is one of the nicest and most elegant in its class. However, when you look closely you’ll notice there are quite a few differences. The main styling change occurs in the front, the bumper is much cleaner looking now, with a larger grill and the removal of the fog lights. The headlights are also wider, giving the overall front a much wider and lower look. The larger grill also looks very premium. The rear of the car also has been tweaked to give it a more premium look. The 17” wheels have also been redesigned and now there’s a 19” wheel option. Overall, I think these little tweaks to the exterior design make the Mazda6 look great, especially in the “Soul Red Crystal” paint, I couldn’t stop looking at the car, it’s been quite the head turner.
Another change on the 2018 Mazda6 is the introduction of the “Signature” trim, which we first saw on the Mazda CX-9. The Signature is an even higher trim than the GT and comes with extra goodies like Nappa leather, Sen wood trim, suede trim on the doors and lower dashboard, 360-degree view monitor, front and rear parking sensors, gunmetal finish front grill, LED interior lights, and a few other small additions.
The biggest difference is the introduction of the 2.5 liter turbocharged engine, in addition to the naturally aspirated 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine. When I first reviewed the Mazda6 a few years ago, I said that it was a great car but I would’ve liked an extra 40 horsepower to make it a really great car. I guess the engineers at Mazda read my post (probably not) and the horsepower difference between the NA and turbo engine is exactly 40 HP.
With the addition of the Signature trim, the 2018 Mazda6 is now offered in four trims, as opposed to three trims in the previous years. The base trim is now the GS trim, it was the GX trim last year, with a starting price of $27,000, this trim is offered with the 2.5 liter naturally aspirated engine only. The next trim up is the GS-L, which starts at $31,600 for the naturally aspirated engine and $33,600 for the turbocharged engine. The GT trim starts at $35,800, and the Signature trim starts at $38,800, both of these trims come with turbocharged engines only. These prices do not include taxes or the $1,795 Freight & PDI charges.
Our review car for the week was the 2018 Mazda6 Signature with the optional “Soul Red Crystal Metallic” exterior color, which is a $450 and in my opinion a must have option, for a total price of $41,045 including freight and PDI.
The two engines on offer are a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated (with cylinder deactivation) and 2.5 liter turbocharged engines. The naturally aspirated engine produces 187 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 186 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm and the turbocharged engine produces 227 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on 87 octane and 250 horsepower on 93 octane fuel and 310 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Both engines are mated to 6-speed automatic transmission, the 6-manual is not offered anymore, I guess it wasn’t a big seller, I personally would choose the manual over the automatic any day. I’m not saying this is a bad automatic, I generally prefer manual transmissions over automatics.
According to Mazda, the turbocharged 2.5 liter engine equipped Mazda6 should consume 10.0 L/100 km in city driving and 7.5 L/100 km on the highway. For our week-long review, the trip computer showed 10.5 L/100 km, however, most of my trips were very short in city traffic, I’m confident I could meet or beat Mazda’s posted fuel consumption figures.
Like I said in my previous reviews, I really enjoyed driving the Mazda6 but was wishing for more power and now that the turbocharged engine is offered, it turns the Mazda6 into a whole different animal. The added horsepower makes the Mazda6 feel very sporty, and I was running the car on 87 octane fuel, I’m sure it’ll be even more fun on 93 octane with the added 23 horsepower.
Like any other direct injected engine, the 2.5 liter is a bit loud one cold starts, but when it warms up, it’s quiet and smooth. The power delivery is very smooth and driving in the city traffic and passing is made more enjoyable with the additional ponies, passing slower cars on the highway is very easy, just put your foot down and the automatic transmission quickly downshifts and off you go. The 6 also comes with a “Sport” button, which makes thing even more interesting, with the transmission holding gears longer. This car is quite a lot of fun on twisty roads. The suspension is on the firmer side, but not uncomfortable, making the car feel very sporty. The Mazda6 feels very European in its driving dynamics and the overall interior feel, more on that below.
I’ve always been a fan of the interiors on Mazda vehicles, they’re very simple and elegant, and the material quality is top notch. The interior on the Mazda6 reminds me a bit of Audi’s interior. The interior has also been tweaked for the 2018 model year, everything has been stretched horizontally, giving the car an even more spacious feel.
Our Signature trim came with beautiful “Deep Chestnut” Nappa leather, white Nappa leather is also available. The leather is very soft and comfortable to sit on, and it looks great. The leather is also applied to the sides of the center stack, where the driver’s and passenger’s knee usually rests. I really like this feature, I find it a little hard to believe when it’s missing in some of the luxury cars, because there’s nothing I hate more than resting my left knee (as a driver) on hard plastic on the side of the center stack. The Signature trim also comes with suede on some parts of the dash and doors, and wood trim on the doors, giving the car an upscale look.
The interior is very quiet, with minimal engine noise making it into the cabin, with the exception of cold starts I mentioned above. With the excellent fit and finish, the high quality interior materials, and quietness, the Mazda6’s interior feels very premium and is a great place to spend time. The interior is also very roomy, as it should be in a mid-size sedan. I had plenty of room in the front and rear seats, with room to spare. The Mazda6 also has a huge trunk, with 416 liters of cargo volume, I was easily able to store a stroller and our weekly groceries for the family with room to spare.
The 2018 Mazda6 Signature is loaded with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from modern cars. I’ll go over some of the highlights of the available convenience features and tech available on the Mazda6 signature.
The display touchscreen for the entertainment/navigation is now 1 inch bigger than before, measuring 8 inches. The touchscreen is responsive and can be controlled by touching it or using the rotary knob on the center console, I’m a big fan of this knob, it’s very easy to use to switch between different features, such as navigation, entertainment, phone etc. and doesn’t distract you.
The Signature trim is also equipped with 360 degree cameras, this is a very handy feature for parking and the side cameras are a great help when parallel parking, saving you from scraping the wheels against the curb. However, I wasn’t very impressed with the image quality on the monitor, it needs to be a lot crisper, especially at this price range.
Another one of my favorite tech feature on the Mazda6 is the heads-up display, which is very crisp and easy to read. The heads-up display shows you your speed, it also shows posted speed by reading the speed limit signs and even displays a stop sign when you’re approaching a stop sign. The HUD also displays a little indicator when someone is in your blind spot, in addition to the regular light from the blind spot monitor on the mirrors. This is a great feature because you don’t have to look away from the road when you see there’s someone in your blind spot just by looking at the HUD, when the HUD is clear then you can look over your shoulder to double check before switching lanes. The HUD also displays warnings when you’re about to leave your lane without signaling (the lane departure warning also shakes the steering wheel a bit when you’re about to drift out of your lane). Additionally, the HUD also shows you when to turn etc. if you’ve put in an address into the Navigation system.
I have listed all the features that area available on the Mazda6 Signature below, not all of the tech/convenience features are available on all the models, but the list below shows you what you can equip your Mazda6 with.
- Advanced keyless entry (proximity and ignition)
- Heated steering wheel
- Heated front and rear seats
- Ventilated front seats
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 8” color touchscreen display with Mazda Connect
- Navigation system
- 360° View Monitor
- Traffic Sign Recognition System
- 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with 2 memory settings
- 6-way power passenger seat
- 4 USB ports (2 front, 2 rear) and auxiliary audio input
- Automatic dual-zone climate controls
- Power windows with driver timer, one-touch up/down front and rear feature
- Bose premium sound system with 11 speakers
- Adaptive Front-lighting System
- Auto-dimming mirrors
- Paddle shifters
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop-and-go function
- Smart Brake Support
- Pedestrian Detection (forward sensing)
- Distance Recognition Support System
- Forward Obstruction Warning
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Lane-keep Assist System
- High Beam Control System
- Smart City Brake Support
- Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Rear view camera (wide angle)
- Dynamic Stability Control
- Traction Control System
- Hill Launch Assist
- Automatic leveling LED headlights
- LED rear combination tail lights
- Automatic on/off lights
I have been a fan of the Mazda6 since I first drove it a few years ago, but I did feel it need more horsepower, which Mazda has provided by turbocharging the engine. The Mazda6 is now a very fun car to drive and it is very luxurious. The Mazda6 can be mistaken for an entry level mid-size luxury sedan, the quality of material and fit and finish are top notch. The 2018 Mazda6 should definitely be on your shopping list if you’re looking for a fun to drive vehicle that will not only carry four adults comfortably and also has a lot of room in the trunk.
For more information on the 2018 Mazda6, check out mazda.ca.