There’s no hiding the fact that American buyers absolutely love crossovers and SUVs, but sedans still play a crucial role in the automotive industry. With Ford’s recent announcement that it will scaling back its car lineup to focus on higher-profit CUVs and SUVs, the sedan market is going to get even crazier as automakers fight for extra market share. The 2018 Mazda6 is an excellent example.
Heavily updated for the 2018 model year, the Mazda6 brings a host of improvements to an already-solid family sedan, including a peppier optional turbocharged engine, and a refreshed design inside and out. The biggest improvement, however, might be the added premium content, which we recently sampled with the 2018 Mazda6 in its all-new Signature trim level.
2018 Mazda6 Exterior
After five years on the market, the current Mazda6’s styling is still one of the best in this midsize sedan segment – even against newer rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – so visual changes are minimal on the 2018 Mazda6. Slight changes to the nose and tail, and the addition of standard LED headlights and taillights on all 2018 Mazda6 trim levels are all that set the new Mazda6 apart from the previous car, which launched for the 2014 model year.
The only styling cue that differentiates the Signature trim level is the gunmetal grille up front, and with the exception of the base Sport trim, all 2018 Mazda6 sedans are equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels. The new Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trims get a brilliant silver finish. All the satin and gunmetal accents looked especially nice on this tester, which came in the optional $300 Machine Gray paint hue.
2018 Mazda6 Interior
While the exterior got a minor refresh, the interior of the 2018 Mazda6 has been completely redesigned with the only carryover component being the three-spoke steering wheel. The instrument panel now has a two-tier effect that wraps around almost seamlessly into the door panels, and the seats, too, have been redesigned for improved comfort and to reduce occupant fatigue.
The Signature delivers an unrivaled interior in this class with the soft, perforated Nappa leather used on the seats complemented by a liberal use of ultrasuede material and dark Japanese Sen wood throughout the cabin. These elements add a unique effect to a family sedan in this segment, but Mazda didn’t stop there. The 2018 Mazda6 Signature also includes a frameless rearview mirror, overhead LED courtesy lights, seven-inch configurable TFT screen in the middle of the gauge cluster, a 360-degree camera, black headliner, and satin finish accents. The Grand Touring Reserve and Signature trim level also both sport the latest version of Mazda’s Active Driving Display. Whereas the previous version of this full-color head-up display used a pop-up screen, the 2018 models have the information projected onto the windshield, giving the cabin a cleaner look.
2018 Mazda6 Powertrain
The most important update Mazda made to the 2018 Mazda6 is the addition of the new Skyactiv 2.5T engine carried over from the CX-9. This turbocharged and direct-injected 2.5-liter four-cylinder give the Mazda6 a much-needed boost in terms of output with up to 250 horsepower (on premium gas) and 310 lb-ft of torque. That is 63 more hp and 124 more lb-ft than the non-turbo engine, although it is still less power than some rivals boast. Despite the added output, the turbocharged Mazda6 still has great efficiency with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway**, which is only a minor drop when compared to the non-turbo models.
As always, the Mazda6 proves that it takes more than big numbers on a spec sheet to make a fun sedan. The sedan’s suspension and chassis have been reengineered giving the 2018 Mazda6 better performance and a smoother, quieter ride. Top speed on the turbo engine is 149 mph, and while a six-speed manual still offered on the base Sport, all other trims come standard with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and a Sport mode. Perhaps the only real disappointing aspect about the new 6 is that you can’t get the turbo engine with the manual gearbox.
2018 Mazda6 Safety
The 2018 Mazda6 earns a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and all trim levels come standard with Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support – a low-speed, laser-based driver assistance technology. The Touring trim level and up get more safety features such as full-speed radar cruise control with stop and go capabilities, High Beam Control and Smart Brake Support, which is a higher-speed, radar-based system similar to Smart City Brake Support.
2018 Mazda6 Overall
With a starting price of just $21,950*, the 2018 Mazda6 is by far the most fun family car for the money. More so, if you’re looking for a snazzy-looking car with a beautifully designed exterior and well-appointed interior to match, then the all-new Signature trim level is the way to go. Even with all of its content and technology, this trim is still an incredible value priced starting at $34,750*, and the premium color and a couple of accessories of this tester resulted in an as-tested price of $36,140. As much as we loved the 2017.5 Mazda6 that we tested earlier this year, the 2018 Mazda6 is a huge leap forward.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Mazda dealership and test drive the 2018 Mazda6 today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.