2014 Mazda 6 Test Drive

I recently took a new 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring out for a test drive. I’ve been looking forward to this car, since it was unveiled at the Moscow auto show last year. My Volkswagen CC lease is coming due in a few months, so I thought I’d get an early start at checking out the options.

  • For right around $30k, the car is well-equipped
    • Navigation
    • Moonroof
    • Bi-Xenon headlights + LED running lights
    • Heated leather seating
    • 19″ wheels
    • Blind spot monitor, rear view camera
  • On the inside, the thick, small-diameter steering wheel with paddle shifters indicates its sport character
  • The interior is gigantic. Although only 2.5″ longer than the CC, the wheelbase is nearly 5″ longer. The result is much more rear legroom. Also, because the roof isn’t as sloping front to back, or side to side, there’s more rear seat room, enough for 3.
  • Both the gas and brake pedals have pretty linear response
    • That means the brake is far less grabby and boosted compared to my CC
    • The gas is a bit twitchier, likely because the CC takes quite a bit of throttle before ramping up the RPMs
  • The white leather seating surfaces were gorgeous to look at, brightening up the interior significantly. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they’re practical, with so many opportunities to short any speck of dirt.
  • Bluetooth music streaming works with my Lumia 920 and a friend’s iPhone. If you have a Pandora app, you can even hook that up!
  • On the road, the car is balanced, and although there’s road noise from the lowish profile 19″ wheels, it sounded no worse than the CC’s 17″ wheels. The larger wheels didn’t rattle my teeth any more over uneven pavement, either.
  • The suspension feels significantly more taut than the CC’s. I’ve found that the CC, for all its “sporting” design has an awfully wafting suspension tuning. Going over speed bumps at any speed results in multiple oscillations before returning to neutral. The Mazda 6’s suspension tuning is much closer to what I’d like in my next car.
  • Straight line performance gives up a little compared to the CC. The Mazda 6 is down a little power and torque along with a turbocharger. The CC is quicker off the line. I could feel some difference, when merging onto the highway. The CC is effortless, with oodles of torque at low RPMs, while the Mazda definitely had to rev. I’m guessing the CC does 0-60 in ~7 seconds while the Mazda 6 does it in closer to 8 seconds.
  • Gas mileage is likely significant better than the CC. Mazda rates it at 26/38, while the CC is rated at 22/31. Around town, around 50/50 local roads and highway split, I get in the range of 22-23MPG with the CC. During the test drive (albeit shorter in duration than is needed to truly make a determination), the Mazda 6 achieved just over 32MPG is the combined local and highway loop.
  • The suite of safety technologies are welcomed. This isn’t a small car, so having a backup camera to fit into tight parallel parking spaces is helpful. The blind spot monitoring system flashes as a car comes up beside you on either side. It then beeps if you signal in that direction, say to change lanes.
  • The Mazda 6 grabbed my attention due to its exterior styling, in the first place. There are a couple too many swoops than I would ideally like; however, it’s easily offset with the steady stance, long bonnet lending it a RWD appearance, aggressive front end and longer wheelbase. I’m a fan.

2014 Mazda 6
Without question, at roughly the same price as the baseline VW CC is today, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring is far better equipped, rides better, and I prefer the appearance (especially after they toned down the CC in the recent model year). The Mazda 6 stays on the list of contenders!

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