2018 Mazda6 Signature Sedan Test Drive

2018 Mazda6 Signature Sedan
An Attractive, Mid-size Sporty Sedan

The 2018 Mazda6 Signature sedan represents the top of the line trim Mazda6. Entry level trim for the model line is the Mazda6 Sport, followed by the Touring, Grand Touring, and the new Grand Touring Reserve. The feature content leaves little to be desired, and comfortable seating is provided for five passengers. Neither too small, or too big– it is more practical than a sports car but not overly bulky, especially when compared to large SUVs. Other factors to consider is that pricing is within the financial reach of the majority of value-minded consumer’s means and the fuel economy ratings fall within an environmentally sound range.

SEVERAL TO CHOOSE FROM

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The 2018 Mazda6 Signature sedan has something else going for it – it’s styling is emotionally stirring, exceeding the mostly boring, bland flavor of the majority of its competitors.

The full suite of SKYACTIV technologies first appeared in the 2014 Mazda6i (being the second production vehicle to feature the advanced technologies). It was the third generation of the Mazda6i sedan and showcased innovative technology from Mazda’s engineers. Features such as i-ELOOP, which was the world’s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to power all the vehicle’s electrical systems, along with the SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine and the front collision-detecting Smart City Brake Support system make their first appearance in North America.

NEW TECHNOLOGY ADDED

The Mazda6 has been re-engineered and refined for 2018, delivering a host of newly available technologies and premium features, including an available turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine and authentic materials such as Deep Chestnut Nappa leather, UltraSuede® NU and Japanese Sen wood in the top-tier Signature trim level. The all-new interior also includes fully redesigned seats with high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam that helps to improve comfort and reduce fatigue.

WALKAROUND

Beneath its outer skin, the Mazda6, utilizing thicker steel in the floor for sound abatement, and the suspension has been completely re-engineered producing a more refined and greater driving experience. The front grille projects a strong impression of horizontal flow, which combined with the dynamic shape and three-dimensionality of the signature wing creates a bold yet elegant front face, with the LED lighting signature of the rear combination lamps gives the rear view a taut image, while the compact shark fin antenna accents the vehicle’s flowing form and stylish aura. The 19-inch aluminum wheel with high-gloss paint adopts a dark color that emphasizes the brightness and greater depth of its metallic look.

New for 2018, new technology highlights include: new ventilated front seats, standard dual automatic climate control, standard MAZDA CONNECT™ infotainment system with an 8-inch full-color touchscreen display, a new reconfigurable 7.0-inch TFT gauge display, new 360º View Monitor with front and rear parking sensors, a windshield-projected, full-color Active Driving Display; and available i-ACTIVSENSE Safety Features: Smart City Brake Support, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist, Adaptive Front-lighting System.
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For the interior, 2017 changes include a new steering wheel design, a new seat back pocket design and enhanced sound insulation. All details related to texture and qualities have been perfected, elevating the level of quality.
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Other upgrades include the adoption of Mazda’s next-generation Mazda Connect car connectivity system and an Electrical Parking Brake. The interior fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design based on the Heads-up Cockpit and an instrument panel that extends horizontally to create a passenger environment with a sense of breadth and openness. A freestanding seven-inch center display is mounted on the top of the low dashboard.

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The Active Driving Display provides vehicle speed and other important driving information, such as that from the advanced safety systems, in real time. The Mazda Connect car connectivity system, when paired with a smartphone makes it easier to take advantage of functions including internet connectivity and access to social networking services. The Grand Touring models add a new traffic sign recognition, Lane Keep Assist System and a gauge display quality improvement with a new 4.6-inch full-color TFT display.

ENHANCED DRIVING DYNAMICS

Mazda’s performance dynamics are improved by the further evolved NVH and seat performance, while also adopting Drive Selection for the SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission. G-Vectoring Control and P-ZEV emissions (50 state) are found on all model Mazda6s. Package and option changes include: A Premium Package is available for Grand Touring with the following content changes: New Rear seat heaters, steering wheel heater, Nappa leather-trimmed sport seats with contrast piping A/T shifter area LED accent lighting, Headliner – Black, Steering wheel with unique “chidori” stitch, Bright-finish power seat switches and a Bright-finish glove box handle.

POWERTRAIN

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Base power for the 2017 Mazda6i still comes from a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine. Also carried over are the six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmissions. The big news is the addition of a more powerful turbocharged engine Combined with Mazda’s i-stop idling stop system and i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, the powertrains deliver a balance of linear, powerful acceleration, and excellent fuel economy and environmental performance. The new turbo engine makes 227 horses at 5,000 rpm along with 310 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. Depending upon the trim level, transmission choices of: the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic. Fuel economy for the 2018 Mazda6 Signature model is EPA rated at 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway.
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The 2018 Mazda6 Signature offers an impressive slate of advanced safety technologies that further strengthen safety performance, while delivering greater driving pleasure and peace of mind. Seating is in the form of supportive, sport-bolstered front bucket seats with the spacious rear bench available in three fabrics, each with two color options. A 60/40-split fold-down feature is standard for rear seats. Six- or eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seats are standard on all but the Sport model, which is equipped with a six-way manual adjustable driver’s seat.
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Connectivity is not forgotten in the 2018 Mazda6 either. A 5.8-inch in-dash touch screen commands the center console stack featuring intuitive phone, audio and navigation functions (when so equipped). Streamlined steering wheel controls enable an intuitive operation of the infotainment system.Other available features include Bluetooth® phone and audio connectivity as well as iPod® audio playback in which iPod information can be accessed via the touch screen. USB and auxiliary jack connection ports are standard and located within the center console storage bin. An AM/FM/CD/MP3/-compatible head unit paired with a six-speaker sound system is standard for Sport and Touring models while Grand Touring models feature an 11-speaker Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound System with AudioPilot® as standard equipment. With a smartphone connected, Short Message Service messages may be received and shown on the touch screen monitor. An in-dash TomTom technology-based navigation system is available for Touring, and is standard on Grand Touring models. The navigation module communicates with the head unit via a USB interface utilizing an SD card for storing map data. The SD card feature enables consumers to input customized route maps and regularly update mapping content via any personal computer.
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Standard safety features for all 2018 Mazda6 models include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), whiplash-reducing front headrests, power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, daytime running lights, Dynamic Stability Control, a Traction Control System, hill launch assist, a fold-away brake pedal assembly, a trunk entrapment release system, a tire pressure monitoring system, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. i Touring models feature a Blind Spot Monitoring system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard equipment with the Smart City Brake Support system available as an option. i Grand Touring models feature BSM and SCBS systems as standard equipment as well as RCTA and an Adaptive Front-lighting System. Forward Obstruction Warning, Lane Departure Warning System and High Beam Control are available as part of an optional package.

My test 2018 Mazda6 sedan came in Signature trim, with the 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic gearbox and finished outside in Soul Red Crystal metallic and inside in Dark Brown Nappa leather with Charcoal trim accents. The base sticker was set at $34,750 while options and delivery charges bumped the final price tag to $36,435.

SUMMARY: The 2018 Mazda6 Signature sedan is worthy of its flagship vehicle in every respect. The 2.5-liter SKYACTIVE-G turbicharged engine delivers more than satisfying levels of acceleration., while the 6-speed automatic transmission changes gears up and down with silky smoothness, whether in fully automatic mode or when utilizing the instantly responsive paddle shifters.

Handling attributes are athletic, with the ride quality solid with minimal body roll. The seating is both comfortable and supportive in the spacious cabin. Piloting the Mazda6 Signature sedan delivers a driving experience normally only found in an expensive luxury/sport sedan.
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Adding to the attractiveness of purchase, all Mazda vehicles come with the Mazda Certified Roadside Assistance Program. In addition, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty includes a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty, which covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty. In the final analysis, this Mazda6 flagship is the ideal sedan on many levels

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Mazda6 Signature Sedan

Base Price: $34,750.
Price as Tested: $36,435.

Engine Type and Size: SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter , DOHC, 16 valve,turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing and Direct Injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 227 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 310 @ 2,000 rpm

Transmission: SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic with Electronic Lockup Torque Converter.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.

Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut type, coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
Rear – independent Multi-link type, coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted diagonal hydraulic four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, DSC, Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist and TPMS.

Tires: Falken ZiexP225/45 R19 99W mounted on ten-spoke Anthracite painted alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 111.4 inches
Length Overall: 191.5 inches w/o license plate holder.
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 57.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,427 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 16.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 23 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.285
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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