It’s a tough sales market for sedans. Even the perennial favorites, like the Honda Accord, are sitting on lots longer than previously anticipated. With the average price paid for a new vehicle rising, the mass market sedan space has room for near-luxury level models. That’s where the 2018 Mazda Mazda6’s new Signature trim fits in.
For this review, I drove the 2018 Mazda Mazda6 Signature for a week. Covered in Mazda’s new Red Soul Crystal paint job, the sedan had a total MSRP of $36,435. That number includes the $34,760 base price along with a cargo mat ($75), $595 exterior paint color upgrade charge, scuff plates ($125), and a $890 destination and delivery fee.
Mazda has hit the nail on the head with the Red Soul Crystal paint color. It surrounds Mazda’s new signature grille, which centers the car’s athletic stance. The Mazda6 isn’t beefy looking but it exudes strength and sportiness in its sedan package.
Under its hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite suffering from a twinge of turbo lag, the Mazda6 easily achieves its prescribed 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, smoothly propelling the sedan forward readying to tackle the twisties ahead. It is aggressive in its acceleration like the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine-equipped 2018 Accord but matches that with tight, sporty steering like you’ll find on the Mazda3. Fuel economy is average for its class.
For 2018, Mazda introduced the Signature package, and with it came redesigned front seats that are especially comfortable. Its passenger space is suitable for a vehicle of its size while still giving the idea of sportiness in combination with a new level of luxury for the automaker. Refinements abound with real Japanese Sen wood accents and Nappa leather throughout the cabin while satin plated accents draw the eye horizontal along the dashboard. The climate controls are smart, straightforward, and sophisticated.
The Mazda6’s infotainment system, housed within an 8-inch touch screen display in the Signature grade, which is starting to show its age. While the system itself isn’t dramatically flawed, the relay between the command knob and the system suffers from just enough of a delay that you are forced to take it slow while navigating the screens. The knob also takes up a great deal of space on the center console. With its closest rivals all having superior systems, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a glaring misstep.
However, there’s a silver lining. Mazda has announced that starting in November, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will arrive in the 2018 Mazda6 as original equipment on the Touring trim level and above. If you buy a 2018 Mazda6 before then, you can schedule an appointment with your local Mazda dealership to have the upgrade service performed at no extra cost. The hardware and software updates take around two hours to perform.
The Mazda6 has a reasonable amount of cargo space for a vehicle of its size. If you’re planning on fitting golf clubs, a portable crib, or other large objects in it, take those objects to the dealership with you and try to fit them as part of your test drive experience.
The 2018 Mazda Mazda6 has been rated as an IIHS Top Safety Pick, when equipped with optional Adaptive Front-Lighting System.
Standard safety features include an electronic parking brake, rearview camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, LED headlights and tail lights, and Smart City Brake Support, which can automatically apply the brakes in emergency situations below 19 mph. Mazda6 Sport (base) models equipped with the available six-speed automatic transmission are eligible to have the i-ACTIVSENSE package, which adds Smart Brake Support, Lane-Departure Warning, adaptive Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Lane-Keep Assist, High Beam Control, automatic on/off headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The Mazda6 Grand Touring also comes equipped with Mazda Navigation, an auto-dimming interior mirror, auto-dimming driver-side mirror, heated side mirrors and paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.
The Mazda6 Grand Touring Reserve adds a windshield-projected Active Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Front-lighting System. The Mazda6 Signature adds a new 360-degree View Monitor and front and rear parking sensors.
With a base price of $23,570, the Mazda6 is priced nearly the same as the Accord and Camry out of the gate. If you’re test driving the Accord or the Camry, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t also test drive the Mazda6.
The Accord and Camry take the lead when it comes to infotainment systems, but Mazda delivers the most engaging drive. It’s joined the sedan conversation in earnest and now it’s time for buyers to give it a chance to prove itself.