When you first walk up to the fully redesigned mid-size 2014 Mazda 6 FWD sedan, you can't help but notice the revised styling that suggests sporty performance.
Mazda provided us a Soul Red with Black interior 2014 Mazda 6 I Touring Sedan (mid trim level) recently to drive for a week to find out how and if this - very reasonably priced - five passenger sedan would perform as good as it looks.
The new Soul Red color on our test car along with its 19-inch Alloy Wheels additionally gave it a look that said this was a different and better Mazda than we had driven before - and it was - for the most part.
The new 2014 Mazda 6 styling both inside and out is done very nicely giving this roomy and comfortable sedan a much more expensive look than its price point would indicate.
The MSRP for the three trim levels are I Sport $20,990, I Touring $23,645 and the I Grand Touring $29,695.
We were impressed particularly by the clean sculpted lines of the Mazda 6 exterior. The body style lines are cleanly crafted around the signature Mazda grille and then flow around the side and over the front wheel wells, back along the cabin and then sweep around the back highlighting the taillight assemblies giving the Mazda 6 its distinctive look from the rear as well.
On the inside the roominess of the cabin both front and rear seating makes you think you may be stepping into a full-size sedan (both shoulder and headroom) rather than the mid-size it actually is.
The same clean yet subtle sweeping style lines also run throughout the cabin front and rear. The materials have a good quality look and the fit and finish overall exceeded our expectation. Mazda has used polished aluminum nicely trim accents throughout and even included a bit of wood trim look in the Grand Touring model.
The front seating is generous and has nicely bolstered back and seat areas giving driver and passenger a more secure and confident ride experience. The back seat, in particular is impressive for both room and comfort. We took some friends with new baby and "wide body" car seat out to dinner and found that their family and car seat fit very comfortably and securely in the Mazda 6 - more so than some other five-passenger mid-size sedans.
Though initially disappointed on finding the seating surfaces were Leatherette (premium vinyl), we found them to be a "pretty close" leather look and feel easing that concern.
All 2014 Mazda 6 sedans are Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and powered by the Mazda exclusive Skyactiv all- aluminum 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder with VVT Direct Fuel injected engine that produces 184 horsepower with 185 lb.-ft. of torque.
Our test I Touring sedan was equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. There is a Skyactiv tuned 6-speed Sport shifting automatic transmission available.
Fuel economy ratings for the manual transmission model we drove is 25/37 MPG City/Highway with an average expected 29 MPG.
Personally we like a manual transmission and this one did nicely matched to this power plant in the Mazda 6. We would note, though this power train is certainly adequate and one could even call it "peppy", it is certainly not a performance drive train.
Overall though, it is a solid drive train that provides good fuel economy and is adequately responsive for most city and highway driving.
We had a couple of other concerns about the 2014 Mazda 6 I Touring trim level model.
One concern was, that even with a decent list of features and functionality in this sedan, the absence of satellite radio (available in the Grand Touring) and navigation (also available in the Grand Touring) was interesting particularly that they were not even available as an option on the I Touring.
The other concern (probably applies to all trim levels) was, though the new Mazda 6 rode quietly enough, we noted that the materials in the exterior body panels and interiors were not as "robust" in touch and feel as other competitor vehicles in the same price range. But this did not diminish our generally positive assessment of the 2014 Mazda 6 I Touring sedan.
Still the 2014 Mazda 6 I Touring is loaded up with lots of features and functionality.
Our Mazda 6 I Touring sedan was equipped with Electric Speed Sensing Power Steering, Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Hill Launch Assist, Variable Intermittent Wipers, Halogen Headlamps with Daytime Running feature, LED Combination Tail Lights, Power Side Mirrors with Turn Signals, Dual Exhaust with Bright Chrome Outlets, 6-way Power Driver Seat, 4-way Manual Passenger Seat Adjust, Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column, Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control with Pollen Filter and Rear Seat Vents and Cruise Control with Steering Wheel Mounted Control.
Other items standard on our car were the AM/FM/CD/MP3 Audio System with six speakers and a 5.8-inch Color Display with Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, Auxiliary Input Jacks, USB Audio Input Port, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone and Audio Capability, Pandora, HD Radio, SMS Text Messaging Audio Delivery and Reply and Audio Voice Command.
It also had a Back-up Camera, Push Button Start, Leather Wrap on the Steering Wheel and Shift Knob, Center Console with Storage, 12-Volt Power Outlets (2), Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and 60/40 Fold Down Rear Seating for additonal cargo space.
The 2014 Mazda 6 I Touring sedan with manual transmission, with a small list of extras and delivery, had a final sticker price of $25,010.
At the end of our test week, we think the Mazda 6 I Touring is reasonably priced for a good looking, nicely equipped and moderate (but adequate) performing five-passenger sedan and that it meets a drivers need for practicality and economy while looking sporty at the same time.