Entry Price: $21,495
Price as tested: $36,040
This week, we’re driving the all-new, turbocharged 2018 Mazda6 Signature, the top-line offering from the folks at Mazda and noted for its powerful mechanical properties and outstanding mid-size fuel mileage.
Emphasizing the great fuel mileage, Mazda6 Signature generates a 31 MPG highway EPA number and 23 city, both good for a larger mid-size car powered by a turbocharged engine. As for price, non-turbo entry level Sport starts at just $21,945 while second level Mazda6 Touring starts at $25,700. The Grand Touring begins at $29,200 which leads to our tester Signature that begins at $34,750.
Notable is when potential buyers moves up to the Mazda6 Grand Touring and Signature models, they receive the new for 2018 turbocharged 250-horse, 310 torque 2.5-liter four that is packing some real punch. This car accelerates like a V8 powered car from the 1960s, while still delivering outstanding mileage. This engine asks for premium 90-plus octane fuel, although you can use the 87 octane but horsepower drops to 227 (it’s all computer controlled).
For those looking for less power and more MPG, the entry level Sport and second-in-line Touring come with a 2.5-liter fuel injected four-cylinder that delivers 187 horses and 186 lb. ft. of torque. Both the aforementioned turbo and non-turbo engines rely on fine shifting Sport Mode six-speed automatic while gear shifters have but one choice for 2018, notably the entry Sport that still comes with a six-speed manual.
Fuel mileage estimates are 24 city and 34 highway for the manual transmission non-turbo four-cylinders while the automatics deliver better at 26 and 35, respectfully. Always noted for delivering good MPG, the 26/35 number is a significant improvement compared just five model years ago, when “6” models best MPG numbers were 21 city and 30 highway.
The new “6” exterior design is impressive (love the gunmetal finish grille) and the amenities list on the Signature is too many to list in this column. Only a $200 exterior paint upgrade and $200 more for scuff plates and a cargo mat pushed the final retail to $36,040 with $890 delivery included.
Standard across the five model line is Mazda6’s constantly improving Skyactiv Vehicle Dynamics G-Vectoring control, a feature that helps deliver a smoother, less tiring drive. This G-vectoring system automatically adjusts power delivery and cornering enhancement and although the effect is subtle, drivers who have a better feel of the road will sense it especially when cornering.
New for 2018 on all models is standard forward collision city emergency braking and forward collision all-speed warning. Thus, when traveling at slower city speeds, the Mazda6 will engage the brakes to help avoid a front collision. Once you get up to highway speeds, the driver will receive a warning.
Enhanced safety features continue as both Sport and Touring join upper-class models in 2018 to include smart brake support, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, hill start assist, rear cross traffic and more. Add in the airbags, four wheel disc ABS, electronic brake assist, dynamic stability and traction controls and you end up with a vehicle that touts overall Five Star government crash ratings.
Notable is nearly every comfort and safety convenience comes standard on the second level Touring model. Included are LED auto leveling headlamps, rain sensing wipers, dual zone climate control air, all the powers, heated front seats, power driver seat, rear view safety camera, Bluetooth, USB, blind spot with cross-traffic alert, push button start, six-speaker HD stereo system, Mazda Connect infotainment and even a power moonroof.
When you arrive at our Signature tester, amenities explode to include all of the high-tech items, an 8-inch touchscreen, 11-speaker Bose stereo with navigation, traffic sign recognition, and just about every convenience possible from beautiful NAPPA leather seating to paddle shifters and nice wood grain touches inside. Traction comes thanks to Falken 19-inch tires on sporty 10-spoke alloy wheels and your Mazda dealer is awaiting your visit to explain all models and some year-end leftover incentives.
As for handling, Mazda6 adheres very well in the sharper corners and delivers a stiffer yet acceptable ride when engaged in the transmission’s Sport Mode setting. Drivers enter this mode by simply pressing a button and allowing Skyactiv computers to take over and automatically adjust engine throttle response and transmission shift points.
Inside you’ll find a new dashboard design with easy to read speedometer and gauges. A turning knob on the console controls the color display, while steering wheel buttons can adjust radio volume and driving info. Rear legroom is notable and overall the entire cabin layout is well done.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 111.4-inches, 3,560-lb. curb weight, 14.7-cu. ft. of cargo space, 36.7 ft. turn circle, 6.5-inch ground clearance and a 16.4-gallon fuel tank.
In summary, Mazda6 in any state of build is a good choice in the mid-size division. I’m happy Mazda6 now has the more powerful turbo engine that enhances Mazda’s performance abilities and offers consumers what they sought for many years.
Now, when you visit your Mazda dealer, you can drive both turbo and non-turbo “6” models allowing a better comparison to fit your driving style.
Likes: New models, turbo engine, fuel mileage, great looks.
Dislikes: Engine still a bit noisy, console control knob has learning curve.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.
Test Drive: 2018 Mazda6 Signature
Entry Price: $21,495