2018 Mazda6: New and More Upscale

Barely two years after undergoing a few modifications, the Mazda6 will get another makeover for the 2018 model year and, this time, the changes are a little more significant.

Accomplishing this meant first tweaking the silhouette. The new front fascia draws inspiration from the CX-9 and it’s a little lower to the ground overall. The grille is also bigger and features a different pattern. The car’s flanks are practically unchanged, but the wheels, rearview mirrors and tail end have been modified somewhat. The lights, for example, are a little more slender. The GX trim is eliminated, meaning the entry-level variant is now the Mazda6 GS, while the GS-L offers a bit more equipment, including power-adjustable leather seats and adaptive cruise control.

The Mazda6 GT is back, too, but at the top of the food chain, the manufacturer borrowed the name of the most posh CX-9—“Signature”—to make the best equipped version of the Mazda6. However, you’ll have to fork out a little more than $38,000. That’s pretty steep, but still competitive when you compare it with clearly more prestigious cars that offer less equipment for a similar price.

The crux of the stylists’ mission was to pare down the cabin, and almost everything has been tweaked. The dashboard seems thinner, mainly due to the stretched-out air vents that blend better into the dash. The instrumentation has also been stripped down and, in the case of the Signature, a digital centre screen helps you customize the display.

A cylinder deactivation system has been added to the 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, optimising fuel economy. With 187 horsepower, the engine is not uninteresting, but it has to rev high to deliver sufficient power. The big news is the arrival of the turbocharged, 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine also found in the CX-9. Producing 227 horsepower—or 250 if you fill up with super—this engine gives credibility back to the vehicle. It’s hard not to recommend it, since its 310 lb.-ft. of torque make the car a lot more responsive.

The steering remains ultra-precise—you can send the car exactly where you want it and it feels agile. The wide tires and suspension calibration enhance performance, and if you prefer a soft and ultra-comfortable car, you will not like this one. Still, the engineers improved soundproofing by reducing the amount of exterior and engine noise that gets into the cabin, in particular by enhancing the insulation level and by optimizing several mechanical components.

Basically, the 2018 Mazda6’s mission won’t be easy to accomplish, but it does have several solid attributes. You’ll have to take it for a test drive to be able to discover them.

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