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2014 Mazda6 Grand Touring: a mid-size sedan standout

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It was cold weather when I tried out the new 2014 Mazda6 for a week-long test drive. I was overly-impressed then and since that time, the Mazda6 has been recognized as one of the best vehicles available in the marketplace. It falls in the mid-size sedan classification, which is almost over-crowded by the popularity of that size. Manufacturers are nearing the saturation mark of available choices. Fortunately, the Mazda6 stands out.

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The test-drive model was the Grand Touring edition, with an exterior Blue Reflex color and a black leather interior. It was powered by the Skyactiv 2.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC engine matched to an 8 speed automatic transmission. It was rated at 184-horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. It was front-wheel drive. The Grand Touring is the top-of-the-line for the 2014 Mazda6 and definitely increases the purchase cost.

I am not sure who said it, but I have heard this in reference to the new 2014 Mazda6: ‘Purchasing a mid-size sedan is like buying a pair of men’s shoes. There are lots of choices, but not many anyone would get excited about unless they were spending really big bucks.’ I think that accurately represents this all-new 2014 Mazda6.

It took a while for Mazda’s marketing to get the point across, but they use the term Skyactiv a lot in describing Mazda. So what is it? At first I thought it was just another buzz word invented by the marketing folks attempting to draw attention. Skyactiv is being used to describe the full structure of the vehicle – the ‘architecture’ so to speak. When talking about Skyactiv in the 2014 Mazda6, it beans that everything from the ground up is brand new. The body, the frame, the engine, the transmission are all designed and engineered to work and blend together. The chassis was not put into place first and all the other parts made to fit onto that. It is harmoniously constructed for it all to fit easily.

There was a laundry list of standard features that, in general, exceeds the competition in the mid-size sedan category. Items that stood out to me during the test drive included an 11-speaker Bose sound system, rearview camera, paddle shifters, 5.8 inch navigation screen, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, leather trimmed sport seats, rear seat armrests with cupholders, rear window de-fogger, and a lot more. For safety features, there was rear cross traffic alert, hill launch assist, blind spot monitoring, and traction control. These were not all the standard features, but ones that I noticed as being more premium than most other vehicles in that class.

The cabin interior is roomy, the handling is very agile, and the exterior is attractive. It has quick acceleration but a smooth and responsive engine. The interior is not only roomy, but fairly stylish with premium materials of high quality. The actual ride is very firm, but that is something I like, although some might prefer a more laid-back soft ride.

It is EPA rated for 28-mpg city, 40-mpg highway, and 32-mpg overall. For the week, I average 35-mpg overall, so a major standout with the all-new 2014 Mazda6 is the terrific mileage, in my opinion. My test-drive Grand Touring had a base MSRP of $29,695, with an additional $2080 added for a ‘GT Technology Package.’ That package added Radar Cruise Control, a new Eloop regenerative engine braking system, and a High Beam Control. This regenerative braking system was more than worth that additional charge. With the delivery and destination charges added, the bottom sticker price came to $32,845.

Bottom line – the 2014 Mazda6 is all new this year with so many standard and premium features, it cannot be easily described. The mileage is great. I really liked the Grand Touring edition. Other models and manual transmission can lower the price significantly and may be attractive to others. The Mazda6 is a solid pick for consumers wanting a terrific mid-size sedan.