2018 Mazda 6 Signature Review

The 2017 Mazda 6 has been a favorite among car enthusiasts. Sure, it doesn't have the most powerful engine, nor does it have as many bells and whistles as other luxury sedans, but it finds a good balance between physical appeals, driving dynamics, and most importantly, cost. For 2018, Mazda has given the Mazda 6 substantial visual changes to both the exterior and interior. It also gains two new powertrain offerings including a 2.5L with Cylinder Deactivation and a 2.5L with Dynamic Pressure Turbo (DPT). Thanks to Mazda Canada, I was given the chance to test drive the later. Here is my unbiased review.
In my opinion, Mazda's KODO design language looks the best with the Mazda 6. The Skyactive engine with its complicated exhaust configuration requires a long nose, and that long nose looks the most proportional with the long body of the Mazda 6. For the 2018 model, the exterior may look similar to the previous model at first glance, but the front grille has been redesigned with a wing shaped silver trim that extends into the headlights. The fog lights are integrated into the headlights, and the lower body black trim has been eliminated.

The taillights and tailpipe have also been redesigned, so is a set of gorgeous looking 19" alloy wheels that comes with our tester. Although each of these changes are subtle, the overall effect is quite noticeable. The 2018 Mazda 6 look wider, meaner, and more premium comparing to its former self.

While the exterior changes might not be immediately noticeable, same cannot be said about the interior. The 2018 Mazda 6's interior has received a significant upgrade. No longer will you find a CD player in the center console, instead, a classy suede trim runs across the entire dash. There is a minimum set of buttons below the standard Dual-zone automatic climate control panel. The only other buttons you can find are either on the steering wheel, or around the shifter. The end result makes the interior look cleaner, slicker, and more upscale.

Mazda has put an emphasis on placing premium materials in the cabin. Soft-touch materials are strategically placed where your hands will touch. The faux wood decorative trim looks unique, and real metal trims are used instead of painted plastic ones. I like the fact that Mazda didn't cheap out on the rear cabin as well. The exact same soft-touch materials and metal trims can be found in the rear cabin.

The leather front seats are especially nice and comfortable. According to Mazda engineers, they are redesigned to orient your pelvis and spine in ways to simulate a standing position. This provides more balance without adding additional bolsters. The front seats are also both heated and cooled. The rear seats are also very comfortable. They offer plenty of legroom and headroom even for taller passengers.

Another key ingredient for making a premium interior is a quiet cabin. In the past, Mazda struggles in this area, but it is no longer the case. Through careful returning of the chassis harmony and adding sound deadening materials, Mazda is able to keep the noise at bay in the 2018 Mazda 6. I can now confidently say that the Mazda 6 has a premium interior that can compete with the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz at a much lower price tag. Great job Mazda!

A 8.0" infotainment touchscreen is standard for all trims. It can be easily controlled via the dial and buttons around the shifter in the center console. I have to say that the user interface is starting to show its age. While it is not exactly slow, the system response is not as quick as some of its rivals. Another miss is the backup camera. The resolution is surprising low, and the low light performance is lacking. Our Signature trim tester comes with a 360 degree camera view. It is a useful feature for a full size sedan.

Other the other hand, the LCD display in the instrumental cluster is informative and easy to navigate through the control buttons on the steering wheel. There are two bar graphs besides the center dial for fuel economy and fuel level. This configuration provides all the important driving information with a single glance.

Our 2018 Mazda 6 Signature is powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Inline 4 engine with Dynamic Pressure Turbo. It produces 227 hp @ 5,000 RPM with 87 octane, and 250 hp @ 5,000 with 93 octane fuel. The added horse power is a definite plus and work especially well with the quieter cabin. The engine also produces 310 lb.ft. of torque at only 2,000 RPM. This low end torque translates to fewer downshifts and more power off the starting line.

At this point we have come to expect any Mazda to provide great handling, and the 2018 Mazda 6 is not exception. Mazda has redesigned the suspension and include new shocks with internal rebound springs. These provide additional shock absorbing ability vertically while keeping lateral rigidity. What it means is that road bumps are absorbed more gently toward the travel ends of the suspension, while body roll is kept to a minimum in corners. The hard-mounted steering rack also helps to provide a quick and precise steering with immediate feedback. The Mazda 6 handles the corners with such sophistication and composure that it reminds me of a German sports sedan. The suspension feels slightly softer compare to a BMW, but it also copes with road disturbances better at low speed.

All the driving fun didn't come at the cost of fuel economy. Although only have 6 gears, the 2018 Mazda 6 with the 2.5L Turbo engine is rated at 10.0 km/L city, and 7.5 km/L highway. We find it consistent with our mostly city driving test ride.

Cargo Space & Storage
I was pleasantly surprised by how much the Mazda 6 can fit in its trunk. Without folding down the rear seats, there is 14.7 cu.ft. of cargo space. Folding the rear seats down provides additional storage space for longer items. Unfortunately, the rear seats can't be folded down from inside the car. The release handles can only be accessed from the trunk. There are two storage trays behind the wheel wells for keeping small items from sliding around in the trunk.

Small items storage options inside the cabin are plenty. The side pockets are nice and big. The front cup holders comes with a sliding cover, and the folding armrest in the back provides two additional cup holders and two USB charging ports.

Mazda has been trying to position itself as the luxury brand in the affordable market. With the 2018 Mazda 6, I feel like they have cement that status. It is a stunning looking car with a surprisingly luxurious interior. It handles and drives like a luxury sports sedan, minus a little bit of horse power. Most importantly, it still offers tremendous value especially for mid range trims. If I am in the market for a sedan, this would definitely be my pick.

Test Vehicle
2018 Mazda 6 Signature
$41,045 including Freight & PDE
Soul Red Crystal Metallic


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