As many of you know, The Daily Derbi staff like Mazdas. Chad Waite has owned a Miata and now drives a Skyactiv Mazda3 while I drive a V6 Mazda6. We anxiously awaited the new Mazda6. A few months ago, Mazda slowly and quietly revealed the 2014 Mazda6 on their Facebook page. The more they revealed the more you could tell it came from the Shinari Concept. This way of showing new products is becoming quite popular for automakers. The car was later officially unveiled at the Moscow International Motorshow which was another quiet way of unveiling a new car because c’mon, who pays attention to the Moscow show? Five months later, it is officially here and I became the very first person in Utah(in Orem anyway) to experience it.
You might wonder how out little blog came across this… Time for a brief back story! Since I bought my Mazda6 at this particular dealer my wife and I get free carwashes there. Since we were there I thought, why not go look and see if they have one in yet. With the new Monroney window stickers they weren’t allowed to be driven until the start of the new year so I expected there to be one on display since they weren’t yet legal to drive. When i walked in I was disappointed to see they didn’t have one. I was about to turn back for the door when a sales guy pounced! He politely asked if he could help and I told him we were hoping to see the new Mazda6 and he said it was out on a test drive and said it would be back in a minute. He had us wait outside for it and then it pulled up.
Wow! What a stunner! The brand new car rolled up looking amazing in back riding on 18 in wheels. It even has LEDs in the headlights which just look great! While they aren’t a match to the one’s found in Audis, they look like they were meant to be there unlike many other new models you see now with LEDs that look forced into the design. A heard of salesmen climb out after being chauffeured by Chip, the General Manager of the dealer, who told me that was the first drive of the car. As he said that, I could smell the aroma of burn-off oil on the 2.5L Skyactiv 4cyl engine which produces 189hp, currently the only motor available for the car. A 2.2L turbo-diesel has been announced and is already available in Europe. I climbed in the car and the aroma quickly changed from oil to a mix of oil and leather- not the most pleasant combination I might add but remember this was the first drive of the car and that is common. The seats felt amazing. They hug you in all the right places. A quick glance at the odometer shows that it has done no more than 10 miles. Shift the J-gate into drive and the Skyactiv scoots you off at a reasonable speed. Being brand new, we didn’t do any spirited driving but just a quick spin around the block. The shifts from the 6spd auto are silky smooth. Even the manual mode has been improved when compared to mine. You can choose to shift either from the floor or with the paddles behind the wheel which actually respond in a reasonable manner unlike my Mazda6 which you have to time it just right to get it to shift when you want it to. The steering felt nice too and was weighted nicely.
If I have any complaints about the car they would be that the infotainment center’s touch screen is small compared to others and while the Skyactiv 4cyl is a great engine and good for an estimated 27 city 38 highway mpg (official EPA numbers are yet to be released) it just isn’t that powerful. Even though it is best in class mpg ratings and has more power than all of its competitors 4cyl engines with the exception of the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata which we looked at earlier this year. The base price is yet to be announced but is expected to start at around $22,000. A fully-loaded example such as our test car is around $32,000. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much seat time so we can’t give you a true opinion on the car but it looks great and from what we can tell, it drives great too.
Photos by: The Author
I didn’t have my camera gear with me at the time of the test so the above shots were done with my phone. Below are a few images from Mazda via netcarshow.com
Car provided by: Orem Mazda