Sometimes things can move fast in the automotive world.
David Dilby, who holds the title Product Planning Manager for Mazda, was in Miami Friday to show it off to members of the Southern Automotive Association at the group’s monthly luncheon.
As it enters its third generation, the Mazda6 is all-new for 2014 and represents a significant step in its growth.
Mazda is taking the 6 up a notch with more premium content to give it more separation from the highly popular Mazda3 compact hatchback and sedan.
But as the 6 moves up in class, Mazda won’t be jacking up its prices, Dilby said.
“With the first Mazda6 introduced in 2003 and the current one that came out in 2009, they haven’t really broken away from the Mazda3,” Dilby said. “So we have this overlap that’s driven by our marketing message.
“What we’re looking to do with the next Mazda6 is shift it up to a ‘mature, sporty’ area.”
In other words, keep the Zoom-Zoom that has become Mazda’s marketing mantra but give the 6 a more distinctive, sophisticated, luxurious, and prestigious air.
“When we benchmarked the development of the vehicle, those are the attributes the engineers and designers were focusing on and trying to deliver in the vehicle,” Dilby said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re shifting the price in that direction.
“But we’re shifting the vehicle attributes more in that direction, a more refined and near-premium direction versus not only Mazda3 but a lot of other cars in the segment.”
Though its appearance both inside and out may look like a car with a price tag approaching $35,000 or even $40,000, the 2014 Mazda6 starts at $20,980 for the Sport model with a six-speed manual transmission to $29,495 for the top-of-the-line Grand Touring model.
In between are the Sport with an automatic at $22,495 and the Touring at $24.495.
The 2014 6 is now being offered with an all-new powertrain with Mazda’s SKYACTIV 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine matched with either a manual or automatic transmission. It delivers segment-leading fuel consumption of 38 miles-per-gallon on the highway (26 mpg city).
It drinks regular octane fuel and is rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque.
But the 6 also will have something for diesel fans later this year.
A diesel version rated at slightly less horsepower (an estimated 162) but with a significant boost in torque (an estimated 310 pound-feet) and mileage (an estimated 30/42 mpg is scheduled to go into production this summer and arrive in showrooms by late fall, Dilby said. Or least that’s the plan.
“We see it as a very competitive entry, first of all because only Passat is doing it,” Dilby said, referring to Volkswagen’s popular sedan, “and secondly because the V6 engines have really decreased in popularity mostly because of fuel economy.
“This kind of addresses that as well as the torque on the engine will offer driving performance.”
It could be the key in giving a big boost to what has been a somewhat overlooked but very value-oriented sedan over the last decade.