• Available 19-inch wheels
  • 17-inch wheels as standard
  • Kodo design language looks fantastic
  • LED headlights as standard
  • Lots of metal trim bits
  • Larger front grille
  • New Soul Red Crystal paint option
  • More upscale feel
  • Lots of horizontal surfaces
  • New Signature trim line
  • Japanese Sen wood trim
  • Redesigned seats
  • 0-inch infotainment display in the dash
  • Available seat ventilation and digital gauges
  • Available adaptive cruise control
  • New turbo 2.5-liter engine plucked from the CX-9
  • Suede with kimono-like gold glint
  • Turbo engine makes 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque
  • Cylinder deactivation for the NA four-cylinder
  • Six-speed automatic for the turbo
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic for the NA four-cylinder
  • Stiffer chassis and body for reduced NVH
  • Suspension tweaked for a more refined ride
  • New steering rack mounting and revised suspension geometry for better handling

Mazda’s premium four-door, now with more zoom-zoom

First arriving in North America for the 2003 model year as a replacement for the Mazda 626, the Mazda6 was billed as the Japanese brand’s premium midsize four-door offering. Hailed as Mazda’s flagship sedan model, the nameplate has seen three generations throughout its career, with the most recent getting a debut at the Moscow International Motor Show in August of 2012. Now, it’s time for a refresh, with Mazda dropping details on the 2018 model year at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The updates this time around are extensive, and include a more upscale interior, improved chassis refinement, and most importantly, the addition of a turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood.

All told, the 2018 Mazda6 gets a rather impressive list of revisions, much more than we’re accustomed to seeing in a simple mid-cycle refresh. And that’s great, especially when you consider how impressed we were with the older model. By all accounts, it looks like Mazda is vying to instill the 6 with a sense of elevated quality and luxury, leveling its crosshairs at more expensive competitors in the segment. At the same time, that requisite Mazda fun gets a boost thanks to forced induction. So then, what’s the end result? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6.

Exterior

  • Available 19-inch wheels
  • 17-inch wheels as standard
  • Kodo design language looks fantastic
  • LED headlights as standard
  • Lots of metal trim bits
  • Larger front grille
  • New Soul Red Crystal paint option
2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 749676
Kodo design language looks fantastic
In terms of exterior appearance, the 2018 Mazda6 looks a bit different from the model that came before it, but not much

In terms of exterior appearance, the 2018 Mazda6 looks a bit different from the model that came before it, but not much. It still looks dead sexy, taking cues laid out by such jaw-droppers as the Mazda Vision Coupe, and that’s a very, very good thing in our eyes. Mazda calls it the Kodo design language, and it incorporates sporty proportions, elegant curves, flared wheel arches, and just the right amount of embellishment. We think the Mazda6 manages to strike a balance between elegance, understated sophistication, and athleticism, which is a difficult thing to pull off these days.

Up front, you’ll find the majority of the upgrades for 2018, which include a new grille that’s a bit larger than before, stretched towards the ground and filled with a fine mesh metal insert, as compared to the slimmer, horizontal slat-filled grille from the 2017 model year. Consequently, the lower intake is a bit trimmer than before. The headlight housings were also tweaked, and now get underlining chrome signatures that expand out from the central grille’s polished surround. LED lighting elements are standard. Lower in the fascia, you’ll find additional horizontal chrome details in the bumper corners, replacing the more vertical strips from before to visually elongate the whole front end.

Again, the changes aren’t dramatic, but do a good job in subtly refining the exterior aesthetic. In the flanks, there are fewer updated details to point out. Changes for the 2018 model year are relegated to freshly painted surfaces that extend towards the lower sections of the body, as well as new wheel designs in the corners. Sizing for the rollers include both 17-inch and 19-inch options – yep, you can get 19’s for your 6 straight from the factory!

left right
The changes aren’t dramatic, but do a good job in subtly refining the exterior aesthetic.

The front fender line looks great, enhancing the car’s front-end beefiness without minimizing the wheel and tire combo. Following this back towards the tail, we run across metal surrounds for the windows, as well a pert rear end that emphasizes the car’s coupe-like roofline.

Moving to the rear, we find slim taillights that bookend well with the headlights up front, wrapping around into the rear quarter panels and connected by a polished chrome strip across the trunk lid. The trailing edge of the trunk lid gets a small upturned flick and the suggestion of a spoiler, while underneath is a duo of round polished exhaust tips, both of which are features that cement the 6’s sporty aspirations.

Lastly, the 2018 Mazda6 gains a new paint color option dubbed Soul Red Crystal, as seen in the above-featured images. Of course, old standbys like Machine Gray Metallic are also on the list.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 192.7 Inches
Width 72.4 Inches
Height 57.1 inches
Wheelbase 111.4 inches

Interior

  • More upscale feel
  • Lots of horizontal surfaces
  • New Signature trim line
  • Japanese Sen wood trim
  • Redesigned seats
  • 8.0-inch infotainment display in the dash
  • Available seat ventilation and digital gauges
  • Available adaptive cruise control
  • Suede with kimono-like gold glint
2018 Mazda6 Interior
- image 748278
More upscale feel
To complement the more elegant exterior finish, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with a much nicer premium feel for the cabin space

To complement the more elegant exterior finish, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with a much nicer premium feel for the cabin space. In fact, the updates are so pervasive inside, we’d argue Mazda is justified in calling it an “all-new” interior design. According to the automaker, “only the steering wheel and small trim pieces [are] carried over from its predecessor,” and the result is a simplified aesthetic that elevates the 6 above the vast majority of sedans in the segment.

Horizontal surfaces pervade throughout, with the dash gaining a long, solid divider between the upper and lower portions. Brush metal makes its presence known with a bevy of surrounds and embellishments, while the air vents are trimmed down to integrate seamlessly with the surrounding material. The hard buttons are located lower on the center console, once again emphasizing slim, horizontally drawn design features. A three-spoke steering wheel with thumb-length multifunction controls greets the driver’s hands.

If you want the best of the range in terms of luxury and comfort, go for the new top-trim Signature model, which comes draped in additional soft touch goodies throughout the cabin space. The trim here includes standouts like Japanese Sen wood, a material usually reserved for traditional Japanese musical instruments and furniture, but now is used for the dash on the new Mazda6. The 2018 model year also carries over last year’s updates, which saw the addition of more sound insulation and the option for Nappa leather upholstery.

2018 Mazda6 Interior
- image 748269
Japanese Sen wood trim
If you want the best of the range in terms of luxury and comfort, go for the new top-trim Signature model, which comes draped in additional soft touch goodies and Japanese Sen wood trim.

Further material choices include brown Nappa leather upholstery “whose color is inspired by the aged wood in ancient Japanese temples,” and suede with a golden glint that’s applied by “using a similar technique to that which is used to make ornate kimonos.” Cool.

Up front, the 2018 Mazda6’s seats get a redesign for wider accommodations. However, Mazda says the sitters are still as supportive as they were before, and include features first introduced at Mazda’s Technology forum in Frankfurt in August of 2017. Customers are offered ventilation for front-seated passengers, a first for the brand. The rear seats were also redesigned with the same high-density urethane as the fronts.

And what premium sedan worth its hide wouldn’t come with the latest safety tech? For the 2018 model year, the Mazda6 comes with the automaker’s latest i-Activsense suite, which includes stuff like the optional full-speed Mazda Radar Cruise Control with automatic stop and go, something that’s highly desirable for those high-traffic commuter situations. There’s also a new 360-degree View Monitor, an 8.0-inch infotainment display in the dash, a windshield wiper de-icer feature, and heads-up display on the windshield, plus a 7.0-inch TFT gauge display for higher trim levels.

Drivetrain

  • New turbo 2.5-liter engine plucked from the CX-9
  • Turbo engine makes 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque
  • Cylinder deactivation for the NA four-cylinder
  • Six-speed automatic for the turbo
  • Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic for the NA four-cylinder
2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 749680
New for 2018, North American buyers now get the option for a Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter engine stuffed by a single turbocharger.

While new grilles and kimono-style suede are all well and good, the upgrade that has us most excited can be found under the hood. New for 2018, North American buyers now get the option for a Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter engine stuffed by a single turbocharger. It’s the same engine found in the CX-9 crossover, making the 2018 Mazda6 the second application for the powerplant.

Standout features include a Dynamic Pressure Turbo, which uses a smaller inlet for quicker spool at low rpm and a larger secondary inlet for more power higher in the rev range. There’s also a “pulse-scavenging” 4-3-1 exhaust manifold for easier flow, and cooled exhaust gas recirculation that works to reduce combustion temperatures and knock threshold.

All told, the turbo Mazda6 makes torque levels “on par with a 4.0-liter V-8,” or 310 pound-feet, to be exact. Peak torque arrives at just 2,000 rpm, which means the fastest 6 should feel pretty damn impressive around town. Horsepower comes to 250 horses when running 93-octane fuel. Go for the cheap stuff, and peak power drops to 227 horses. Routing the muscle to the front axle is a six-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox available for models equipped with 2.5-liter turbocharged engine.

2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 748265
New steering rack mounting and revised suspension geometry for better handling
All told, the turbo Mazda6 makes 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm, which means it should feel pretty damn impressive around town. Horsepower comes to 250 horses when running 93-octane fuel.

Alongside the boosted powerplant, Mazda is also offering a more efficient variant with direct injection and all-atmosphere aspiration. As a carryover from the previous model year, the 2018’s NA engine sees the not-so-unsubstantial upgrade of cylinder deactivation, switching from four to two cylinders when cruising to save on the explodey juice. It’s a rather unique feature for a four-banger model, shutting down the two outside cylinders when cruising between 25 mph and 50 mph, keeping those mpg figures as high as possible without resorting to boost to make power when asked.

FWD is once again standard, driven by a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission. Standout features include a centrifugal pendulum in the torque converter that helps to balance out vibrations made when running on just two-cylinders and smoothing the transition when kicking it back over to full four-cylinder power. Buyers also have the option for a six-speed manual if rowing your own isn’t an issue – or indeed preferred.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, SkyActiv
Horsepower 250 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT @ 2,000 RPM
Transmission Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic

Chassis And Handling

  • Stiffer chassis and body for reduced NVH
  • Suspension tweaked for a more refined ride
  • New steering rack mounting and revised suspension geometry for better handling
2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 749682
Available 19-inch wheels
This wouldn’t be a Mazda if it didn’t have that zoom-zoom attitude behind the wheel.

Last year, the 6 got something called G-Vectoring Control as standard, a feature that essentially shifts the car’s weight to the front tires by reducing engine torque as you enter a corner. The balance shift helps the front end grip, and as a result, makes the steering more responsive.

This year, the 6 once again includes G-Vectoring Control as standard, but to help make the most of that revised interior design, Mazda also made sure to give some love to the chassis and suspension in order to improve the ride quality and reduce overall NVH (noise/vibration/harshness) levels.

To this end, the 2018 Mazda6 gets a reinforced body and thicker metal in the rear wheel wells, plus more chassis bracing and thicker suspension trailing link mounts. The suspension was also revised for a smoother ride quality and higher levels of refinement.

That said, this wouldn’t be a Mazda if it didn’t have that zoom-zoom attitude behind the wheel, and as such, the automaker made sure the various chassis and suspension goodies also resulted in enhanced handling. To complement this, the steering rack was rigid-mounted to the chassis for better response, while the suspension geometry was adjusted. The roll-steer was also changed for a more neutral handling feel while carving up the corners.

Prices

2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 749686
LED headlights as standard

Pricing for the 2018 Mazda6 is unavailable as of this writing, but should be revealed closer to the model’s sale date next year. Expect a number close to the MSRP for the 2017 Mazda6, which currently starts at $21,945.

Additionally, customers willing to spend a bit more will have a chance to grab the new Signature trim level for the finest of the fine in the lineup. Inside, look for the Signature to add more soft-touch materials to the dash, seats, and door panels, plus that tasty Sen wood trim we mentioned in the Interior section.

Competition

Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry High Resolution Exterior
- image 700800

The Toyota Camry is an outrageously successful commuter four-door, and for good reason. Not only is it well equipped and easy at the pump, it’s also one of the most reliable models you can buy. 2018 sees the Camry entering a new generation, gaining new exterior styling and a new interior spec, plus loads of fresh equipment for the cabin. A large selection of engine options are on the table, including a four-cylinder and a six-cylinder. There’s even a hybrid set-up if you’re so inclined.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Honda Accord

2018 Honda Accord High Resolution Exterior
- image 723397

Offered for an incredible tenth generation in a recent update, the Accord also has a reputation for outstanding value, great reliability, and low fuel consumption. The styling is a bit busier, and comes complemented by new Jewel headlights and lots of glossy black components throughout. For the engine options, customers have a bevy of four-cylinders to choose from, with the latest model year also offering a high-tech 10-speed automatic transmission.

Read the full review on the 2018 Hond Accord.

Conclusion

2018 Mazda6 Exterior
- image 748268
It’s clear the brand is taking a holistic approach to making the sedan more refined, more entertaining, and above all, more desirable.

Overall, we really like what Mazda did with the 6. It’s clear the brand is taking a holistic approach to making the sedan more refined, more entertaining, and above all, more desirable.

The introduction of the Signature trim to the 6 line makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider the Signature is the most popular trim level for the CX-9 by a long shot. The sedan’s interior looks fantastic, and while it’s not quite in the same territory as the big German luxury sedans (Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, etc.), you could easily make the argument that it’s damn close. So close, in fact, that the 6 might even be the better buy, depending on what you want.

That’s all good stuff, and it synergizes perfectly with the new turbocharged engine option. With 250 horsepower and a whopping 310 pound-feet of torque, this thing is sure to be no slouch when you put your foot down. The question is how well the chassis and suspension bits handle all that twist, and you can’t help but wonder about torque steer interfering with the Mazda’s traditionally faultless handling prowess.

But when you get down to it, the only real question we have is this – where’s the manual gearbox option for the turbo? Give us that, then add a dash of AWD, and we’d be quite happy indeed.

  • Leave it
    • * How much for the Signature model?
    • * Would be much better with AWD
    • * Sedans not as popular as they used to be

References

Mazda6

2016 - 2017 Mazda6 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 578922

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda6.

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide
- image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

Press release

Mazda Motor Corporation announced today it will unveil a thoroughly re-engineered and refined Mazda6 sedan (known as Mazda Atenza in Japan) at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The company will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. (local time) on Nov. 29, the first of two press days. The show is open to the public from Dec. 1-10.

The Mazda6 is the flagship of Mazda’s passenger car lineup. The development team’s goal for this round of updates, the third since the model was fully redesigned in 2012, was to enhance the daily lives of people who love cars, incorporating premium details and new engineering concepts and technologies based on Mazda’s human-centered design philosophy.

The powertrain lineup adopts new technologies, including a cylinder deactivation system for the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine, to offer superior fuel efficiency and a performance feel crafted to match human sensibilities. In addition, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine that debuted in the Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV has been added to the engine lineup in North America and some other markets. Producing torque on par with 4-liter V8, this engine offers an effortless performance feel that is equal parts composure and excitement.

The concept behind the styling improvements is “Mature Elegance,” and the design team worked to raise the quality feel of both the interior and exterior, resulting in a look of greater maturity and composure. A new high-grade interior features Japanese Sen Wood, often used in traditional Japanese instruments and furniture, and other exclusive trim elements for an enhanced premium feel that is authentic to the brand. Overall the design is more distinctive, premium, beautiful and dignified, as befits the flagship of Mazda’s passenger car lineup.

The updated Mazda6 offers a wider range of advanced i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies which help the driver identify potential risks and reduce the likelihood of damage or injury. Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) can now bring the car to a standing stop and take off again when the car in front moves away, and the model also adopts Mazda’s latest 360° View Monitor. In combination with previously introduced safety features, these technologies allow drivers to enjoy superior safety and worry-free driving under an even wider variety of conditions.

The highly acclaimed VISION COUPE design concept, which the company recently unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, and the updated Mazda CX-5, which adopts the same SKYACTIV-G 2.5 with cylinder deactivation as the new Mazda6, will both make their North American debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

In line with its “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” long-term vision for technology development, Mazda aims to use the fundamental appeal of the automobile — driving pleasure — to inspire people, enrich society and help bring about a beautiful earth. By offering an experience of car ownership that celebrates driving, the company hopes to enrich lives and build a strong bond with customers.

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