After years of making fun-to-drive cars that couldn't quite compete with the Japanese heavyweights--not to mention emerging Korean brands and ever-improving U.S. models--Mazda decided to rethink its strategy. Seeing where the market was going, Mazda initiated its Skyactiv program, intended to add a new level of fuel efficiency.
It's that strategy that carries over to the 2014 Mazda Mazda6. Building on the premise of more fuel efficient engines, smarter transmissions, and a host of fuel saving technologies, this Mazda6 is a very different car than the one it replaces. But it's not just under the hood; Mazda gave its midsize sedan a very similar aesthetic that invokes the Mazda Takeri Concept. Styling is bold and elegant, the grille is sportier and less puppy-like, and highlights include the 2014 Mazda6 features Mazda's first application of LED headlights, and overall styling that more closely resembles the lookers coming out of Korea, rather than Japan.
Who It's For
The midsize category has been spearheaded by stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for decades. Newer entries such as the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, the newest Nissan Altima, and Motor Trend's Car of the Year—the Volkswagen Passat—make this the most competitive segment in the industry. All boast unique interpretations of value, practicality, and appeal that the whole family can appreciate. The midsize segment generally appeals to shoppers who want roomy, safe sedans that are accessibly priced and have high residual values.
- New Skyactiv four-cylinder engines that return excellent fuel economy.
- A suite of new available technologies such as idle start/stop system, and regenerative braking.
- Mazda's newest "Kodo" design language, resulting in a sporty looking sedan that takes after the Takeri Concept.
- Mazda says despite the focus on efficiency, like previous Mazdas, the new Mazda6 will still be fun to drive
What We Think
When Mazda first unveiled its Skyactiv philosophy, we were unsure how the strategy would pan out; The 2012 Mazda3 with Skyactiv was a good first attempt, but after driving the 2013 Mazda CX-5 we've become believers. The CX-5 made good on the promise of efficiency, and offered a fair, competitive value proposition. We think Mazda nailed the styling—and if the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 can deliver the efficiency and a measure of fun, it could have a contender in the most competitive segment in the industry.
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