Used 2014 Mazda 6 Review
Edmunds expert review
Thanks to its handsome new design, roomy cabin, agile handling and impressive fuel economy, the 2014 Mazda 6 is a solid choice for a midsize sedan.
What's new for 2014
Trim levels & features
The 2014 Mazda 6 is a five-passenger midsize sedan offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.
Standard features on the base manual-transmission Sport include 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a 60/40-split rear seat, a 3.5-inch multi-information display and a four-speaker sound system with a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. If equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the Sport also includes Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5.8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and audio upgrades (voice commands, HD radio, Pandora, text-message display function and automatic 911 notification).
Stepping up to the Touring trim adds 19-inch alloy wheels, premium vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sliding console armrest and a six-way power driver seat. An optional Touring Technology package adds keyless ignition/entry, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, heated side mirrors, navigation, an upgraded 11-speaker Bose audio system and the Smart City collision mitigation system.
The Grand Touring includes all of the above as well as unique wheels, a rear spoiler, adaptive/bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, a power sunroof, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), a four-way power passenger seat, driver memory functions, heated front seats and satellite radio.
Optional for the Grand Touring is adaptive cruise control bundled with a forward collision warning system. An Advance package (late availability) includes those optional features as well as lane-departure warning, automatic high beams and an energy capture system called i-Eloop ("intelligent energy loop") that can store energy during deceleration to a capacitor, which can then power air-conditioning, lighting and accessories for about a minute while the stop-start system shuts down the engine at a stoplight.
Performance & mpg
The 2014 Mazda 6 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 hp and 185 pound-feet of torque. It can be matched to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission (with shift paddles on the steering wheel). The Grand Touring comes standard with the automatic.
In Edmunds testing, an automatic-equipped Mazda 6 sprinted to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, making it one of the quickest four-cylinders in its class. Fuel economy estimates stand at 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/38 mpg highway) for the automatic, and 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/27 mpg highway) with the manual-transmission. With the Grand Touring's optional i-Eloop feature, fuel economy rises to a very impressive 32 mpg combined (28 mpg city/40 mpg highway).
Standard safety features for the Mazda 6 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The Touring and Grand Touring trims additionally include blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring.
The Grand Touring alone has Mazda's Smart City Brake Support, which is a collision-mitigation system that uses an infrared laser sensor at the top of the windshield to detect an imminent collision. It can automatically brake the car to a stop at low speeds if the driver doesn't react. A separate package (late availability) for the Grand Touring bundles a forward collision-warning system (that uses radar to detect your closing distance on vehicles ahead and then provides visual and audible alerts) with a lane-departure warning system.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 6i Grand Touring came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is a bit longer than average for the midsize sedan class.
In government crash tests, the 2014 Mazda 6 earned an overall rating of five stars, with four stars in frontal crash test, five stars in side crash tests, and four stars in rollover tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Mazda 6 earned a rating of "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. It earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
One standout characteristic of the 2014 Mazda 6 is its powertrain. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine is smooth and surprisingly hushed, and provides quick acceleration. And although many automatic transmissions in cars that boast high mpg numbers quickly upshift to the highest gear possible and are reluctant to downshift, the Mazda 6's automatic is responsive to gas pedal inputs and never feels flat-footed when you're initiating highway passing maneuvers. Furthermore, driving enthusiasts will appreciate the availability of a six-speed manual, which is fast becoming an endangered species in the midsize class.
This same light-on-its-feet character carries through when the topic turns to handling. With its communicative, precise steering and sporty chassis tuning, the 2014 Mazda 6 feels sharp-witted and willing around corners, with stand-out dynamics for the class. The flip side, however, is that the 6 rides a bit more stiffly than competitors, especially with the 19-inch wheels. Like many Mazdas, the 6 is a car for practical-minded buyers with enthusiast leanings.
With plentiful rear legroom, the 6's rear passengers will feel as if they've been given access to a first-class cabin rather than coach. There's also generous headroom, even for those taller than 6 feet, though the sedan's sloping rear roof line makes the rear windows smaller, resulting in a more claustrophobic feel than you'd get in an Accord or a Camry. There's decent luggage space, as the efficiently shaped trunk offers 14.8 cubic feet of capacity.
Inside, the Mazda 6 design aesthetic is clean and functional. Polished aluminum trim accents the cabin, while the Grand Touring's leather upholstery features contrasting stitching. Materials quality and fit and finish are among the best in the class. Most controls are simple and user-friendly, but the touchscreen interface found in most models is a step behind the systems in most competitors. The screen and the touch buttons on the interface are small, and we've found that it doesn't always get along with Apple products. On the upside, a multipurpose knob located south of the shifter grants a welcome level of control redundancy.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.