$10,987 - $13,835

2014 Mazda Mazda6 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Mazda Mazda6 was new.


Performance: 8.7

Auto critics agree that the 2014 Mazda6’s lively handling, agility and precise steering make it stand out in a class filled with bland family sedans.

  • "Although no more powerful than any of its competitors, the Mazda6 feels decidedly light on its feet, has a perfectly tuned ride and handles like a dream. There's absolutely no slop in the steering, or the transmission, and both provide satisfyingly direct responses." -- Fox News
  • "Even with SKYACTIV fuel savings, the new Mazda 6 delivers surprisingly spirited performance. The balance is also good, making it even more agile and entertaining to drive." -- Motor Week
  • "From the tiny Mazda 2 hatchback to the hulking CX-9 three-row crossover, Mazda infuses its vehicles with the responsiveness and fun that remind car obsessives how they became that way. The Mazda 6 is the kind of mid-size family sedan that Porsche would build, were its business sub-$30,000 family sedans." -- BBC
  • "Fortunately, beyond the cabin lies the most dynamic, assertive driver's car in the midsize realm." -- The New York Times
  • "The car is light, maneuverable and just a little bit squirrely." -- Bloomberg

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mazda6 has a 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Mazda no longer offers a V6 engine on the Mazda6. A six-speed manual transmission comes with Sport and Touring models, while a six-speed automatic with manual mode is available on all trims. EPA fuel economy estimates for models with the manual transmission are 25/37 mpg city/highway, while automatic models earn a slightly better 26/38 mpg rating. The 2014 Mazda6’s fuel economy is very good for non-hybrid cars in this class, with the Nissan Altima and Honda Accord getting slightly better city fuel economy at 27/38 and 27/36 mpg, respectively.  

The Mazda6’s four-cylinder engine is refined and powerful enough in most situations, according to the majority of test drivers, but some think it could feel more potent. A few critics note, however, that the excellent fuel economy offsets any lack of power. Reviewers are pleased with the automatic transmission, and are especially impressed with the manual transmission, saying its accurate shifts and light clutch make it outstanding.

  • "It's a smooth, slow puller, but one that's every bit as powerful as it needs to be. Sensitive ears will notice the telltale clatter of direct fuel injectors at idle, but overall this engine offers every bit of refinement you'll find in the class leaders." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine performs admirably, with linear power delivery and is impressively smooth. Throttle response is lively to make rev-matching for downshifts entertaining for a midsize sedan." -- AutoWeek
  • "In other words, acceleration is lively but never feels particularly strong. That said, the relatively large-bore four-cylinder engine feels smooth and utterly happy at higher revs, so getting the most out of it is more entertaining than excruciating. Mazda's automatic includes a manual shift mode operable via column shifter or steering wheel-mounted paddles, and the system works well, with quicker than average shift speed for the class." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2.5-liter engine, while adequate by class standards, elicits less excitement. The engine works to make speed, emits a gassy bleat and barely revs to 6,200 r.p.m. before running out of steam. But that is apparently the price to pay for major fuel savings." -- The New York Times
  • "The manual shifter itself is exceptional. Its precision is rare among midsize sedans, and the light clutch pedal is well-suited to the car." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

The Mazda6 is known for being one of the more athletic, fun cars to drive in the class, and reviewers agree that the 2014 Mazda6 has good feedback and road feel. They say the Mazda6 is lively on a curvy road and has strong brakes. One test driver points out that although its low weight helps it feel nimble, the Mazda6 also feels a little small and light on the highway, which he thinks could be a negative for some drivers.

  • "Zoom Zoom, AMIRITE?! You're expecting a fun handling experience. For a midsize sedan it actually delivers." -- Jalopnik
  • "The manual-equipped model is only 3,183 pounds, a featherweight. This is a huge asset on winding roads, as the 6 snaps through turns. Yet that lack of heft may fill some drivers with unease on the freeway. Those used to the weight of an SUV, for instance, may initially find that the 6 doesn't feel as substantial at high speeds." -- Bloomberg
  • "The Mazda6 not only delivers looks and power, but it also handles well. This is a sporty sedan with good turn-in at corners and above average feedback via the steering wheel. There's a nice balance here that many midsize family cars are still searching for." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "The Mazda6's suspension tuning keeps with Mazda's sporty focus. The result is a taut ride that reveals many details about the road - and whether it's well-maintained or not. The car also exhibits admirable body control, with limited body roll during hard cornering. Beyond that, the Mazda6 feels like a smaller car than it truly is - in a good way - and this goes a long way toward establishing its nimbleness." -- Cars.com
  • "Where the 6 really shines is when you toss it around a little. It stays well planted in corners, with the 17-inch Yokohama Advan A83 tires providing good grip and little body roll. Steering is quick to respond to inputs with a fair amount of weight tuned into the electric power steering system. Brake performance is also a strong suit with almost instant bite from the top of the pedal stroke." -- AutoWeek

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