Zoomy New Midsize Sedan to Achieve 38 MPG
SKYACTIV technologies have landed in the all-new 2014 Mazda Mazda6, which is at dealerships now with a price tag that opens at $20,880. That puts it down near the bottom of the midsize-sedan pricing spectrum—only the 2013 VW Passat has a lower MSRP in the segment, at $20,845—yet thanks to that SKYACTIV stuff, designed to squeeze every drop of efficiency out of naturally aspirated internal combustion engines, the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 also will be up near the very top of the fuel-efficiency rankings for the class.
When its 184-hp 3.5-liter I4 engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission in the entry-level car, the Mazda6 will serve up fuel-economy marks of 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/29 mpg combined. Laying out the additional $1,615 necessary to add an automatic transmission brings an additional 1 mpg in all phases of EPA testing, along with additional standard content like Bluetooth for calling and music streaming, a 5.8-inch color touchscreen, voice control for audio functions, a rearview camera, an interface for Pandora Internet radio and more.
That’s a nicely equipped package, and, at $22,495, is a reasonable $735 more than the only other mid-size sedan in the country that’s able to break 36 mpg on the highway in its least-expensive automatically transmissioned model. (Which would be the 2013 Nissan Altima, priced at $21,760 and owning an EPA line of 27/38/31.)
Then, to help ensure the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 is ready to join the mainstream, it will offer an extensive array of advanced safety measures—adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-departure alert, blindspot warning, etc., etc.—as well as two unique advantages that promise even more fuel-efficiency gains.
As mentioned, the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 recently went on sale, but for now it’s only available configured with a gas-powered engine. That will change in the second half of the year, though, when the brand launches both a diesel version and one that combines its gas engine with Mazda’s i-ELOOP regenerative braking system. This breakthrough technology can recapture energy normally lost when braking, store it, and then feed it back into the powertrain in certain driving scenarios to help take some of the load off the car’s engine. It’s sort of like the eAssist setup in the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco, but the difference-maker with i-ELOOP is that its capacitor-based, instead of relying on heavier, less efficient batteries, as the Chevy does.
Per Mazda, i-ELOOP “is expected to offer increased fuel efficiency” in the car, although at this stage, further details about mpg marks (and MSRPs) are not yet available.
The 2014 Mazda Mazda6 also is slated to become the midsize segment’s second diesel entry later this year, when the company fits it with a 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D clean-diesel engine. As with i-ELOOP, more information about the diesel Mazda6 will be provided closer to its on-sale date. But it is worth noting that that other mainstream-ish midsizer, the VW Passat, clocks in at up to 31 mpg city/43 mpg highway/35 mpg combined.
In related news, the automaker has revealed the initial driver roster for the three racing teams that will campaign the diesel-driven 2014 Mazda Mazda6 in both the upcoming 2013 Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona, as well as on this year’s Grand Am Road Racing circuit:
- Jonathan Bomarito, Marino Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Tom Long and Sylvain Tremblay will be in the SpeedSource #70 racer.
- Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez, Spencer Pigot, YojiroTerada and Tristan Vautier will share seat time in the VISIT FLORIDA Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon car—#70
- Andrew Carbonell, Tom Long, Rhett O’Doski, and Derek Whitis will get behind the wheel of the #25 racecar, backed by Freedom Autosport.
Stay tuned for our first drive review of the 2014 Mazda6, coming soon!