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1. What’s new for 2015?
The Mazda6 sails into 2015 little changed after its complete overhaul in 2014. Mostly, Mazda moved some features from the options list to standard equipment. For example, the Sport model now provides one-touch up/down power windows on all windows and illuminated power-window switches on each door. Another new standard feature is Mazda’s Advanced Keyless Entry. A new optional Bose Audio/Moonroof package is available on the base and mid-level trims, and standard on the top Grand Touring model. The GT also sports a new Touring Technology Package.
2. How much does it cost (with Trim info)?
The well-appointed base model is the Sport, with an MSRP starting at $21,190. At mid-level, the Touring model begins at $23,845. The luxo Grand Touring sedan starts at $29,895. The Touring Moonroof Package and Touring Technology Package are optional on the Touring model and standard on the GT. Only the GT can get the GT Technology Package, which offers a nice set of safety and performance add-ons.
3. What options or trim level is best for me?
All three trims offer good value. We think the top-level Grand Touring sedan with the GT Technology Package is a lot of car for the money, featuring radar cruise control, obstruction warning, regenerative braking, lane departure warning, active grille shutters, a sport mode button and high beam control. The standard GT features include navigation, power moonroof, top-quality audio system and SmartCity Brake Support.
4. What engine do you recommend?
Only one engine is available for the Mazda6, but it’s a honey. It’s the 184 horsepower 2.5L SkyActive-G I-4 that is both powerful and efficient, thanks to an unusual 13:1 compression ratio. The exhaust manifold design is unique and lets the full power develop quickly. You can choose between two very good six-speed transmissions, manual and automatic. The automatic is tricked out for super-quick shifts and excellent low-speed feel.
5. How is the fuel economy?
The Mazda6 leads its segment with 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 26/38 with the automatic. The i-Eloop brake regeneration system ups the miles per gallon to 28/40.
6. How does the vehicle handle?
The Mazda6 is truly a driver’s sedan. With remarkably crisp handling, excellent braking and stability around tight corners, the Mazda6 does not disappoint. The manual transmission would be the choice for the driving enthusiast, except that it precludes a lot of nice options, like the moonroof package. Frankly, the automatic with manual shift mode is so fast, the manual seems superfluous. The ride on the 19-inch wheels in the top trims might be a little harsh for some drivers.
7. Are the controls easy to use?
The upscale cabin features a gracefully sweeping dash that presents highly legible instruments densely clustered in front of the driver. The gauges and knobs are high quality and add to the car’s driver orientation. The steering wheel is small and easy to control, and it feels good in the hands. The multi-function Commander Control in the higher trims is intuitively designed.
8. Is it comfortable?
Even the Sport model with cloth-trimmed seats is comfortable, but the GT is downright cozy, with leather wrapping the seats, steering wheel and shift knob. The optional 8-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar support makes long drives a breeze. Dual zone climate control and heated front seats are nice features. The car’s long wheelbase results in very generous second-row legroom.
9. What about safety?
The Mazda6 received a 5-Star Overall Rating from the NHTSA, scoring 5 stars for side crash results and 4 stars for frontal crash and rollover. The IIHS made Mazda6 a Top Safety Pick+, its highest rating, with Good marks in all tests except for the Acceptable result in the tricky small overlap front test. The additional safety features available on the Grand Touring sedan are, to our mind, well worth the price of the GT Technology Package. The SkyActive body design of the Mazda6 combines light weight with high strength, augmented by side-impact door beams. The higher trims provide blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Rearview camera is standard.
10. How’s the reliability and resale value?
JD Power gives the 2014 Mazda6 a predicted reliability rating of 4 stars out of 5. Unfortunately, it gave the car only 2 stars for overall quality. However, it awarded the Mazda6 its Performance Award and gave it 5 stars for overall performance and design. A good condition used 2014 Mazda6 with 19.5K miles should sell for $25,284, according to Kelly Blue Book, but you might find one for as little as $23,061. According to KBB, Mazda6 will not hold its value quite as well as the mid-size sedans from Honda and Toyota, although the Mazda has a lower purchase price.
11. What other models should I consider?
Mazda6 is competing directly with Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Mazda is the sportiest of the three, but the other two may be screwed together a little better. The other key competitors in 2015 for the Mazda6 include the Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler 200 and Chevy Malibu.