The All-New 2014 Mazda6 and CX5
Totally refreshed from the ground up with the automaker’s SKYACTIV technology, the 2014 Mazda6 and 2014 CX-5 provide updated options for fleets looking for a mid-size sedan or compact SUV.
AF Managing Editor Lauren Fletcher was among the journalists who put the new Mazda6 through the hill country of Austin, Texas.
The all-new Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 both feature numerous updates and new features, including:
- Three trim levels — Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.
- A 5.8-inch in-dash touchscreen.
- SKYACTIV technology.
- Smart City Brake Support.
With the hill country of Austin, Texas, as its backdrop, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) introduced the all-new 2014 Mazda6 and 2014 Mazda CX-5 to journalists in late January.
According to the automaker, development started with a clean slate, resulting in both models being all-new from the ground up. The models include a full complement of SKYACTIV technologies, helping make them lighter, more fuel efficient, and more economical to operate.
Mazda6 Redesigned for 2014
With a half-million miles behind the wheel in global test drives (100,000 miles in the U.S. alone), the Mazda6 represents the latest and greatest that MNAO has to offer, according to the company. In redesigning the vehicle, the goal, according to Hiroshi Kajiyama, Mazda6 program manager, was to create “advanced safety and environmental performance that makes drivers feel like they live in harmony with the planet and society.”
The Mazda6 is part of one of the most popular car sizes sold in the fleet — the mid-size sedan. The vehicle was redesigned from the ground up, bumper-to-bumper, for 2014, introducing a slew of new safety and technology features.
The 2014 Mazda6 will feature two engine options: the standard SKYACTIV-G 2.5L gasoline engine (available now) and the optional SKYACTIV-D 2.2L clean diesel engine (available in the second-half of 2013). The 2.5L four-cylinder gasoline engine achieves 184 hp at 185 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,250 rpm.
Three trim levels will be available — Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring.
The SKYACTIV-G 2.5L is standard equipment for all three trims and can be paired with a choice of transmissions: the SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive 6-speed automatic.
According to Ruben Archilla, group manager, advanced engineering R&D for MNAO, “The new automatic transmission is essentially a hybrid between a dual clutch and traditional automatic transmission. It uses both a torque converter and a multiplate clutch, depending on the situation. The torque converter was downsized, and is now only used at very low speeds. Using the multiplate clutch for gear changes at higher speeds (rather than slipping the torque converter) helps the engine speed and vehicle speed move ahead at the same time the driver steps on the pedal. It also increases efficiency.”
A row of 2014 Mazda6 models were lined up for journalists to test drive at the vehicle’s launch in Austin, Texas.
The entry-level Sport Trim, equipped with the SKYACTIV-MT transmission standard, obtained an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/29 mpg combined. When paired with the available SKYACTIV-Drive automatic, city mpg increases to 26 and highway mpg increases to a best-in-class 38. The Touring and Grand Touring trim levels feature the SKYACTIV-Drive transmission standard.
The SKYACTIV-D 2.2L clean diesel engine is 10-percent lighter and 20 percent more fuel efficient than the current MZR 2.2L diesel engine sold in other global markets, according to MNAO. Additional engine improvements include a reduction in internal engine friction, a very low (14:1) compression ratio and a new two-stage turbocharger.
For the 2014 model-year, all-new infotainment and connectivity options are offered, including a 5.8-inch in-dash touchscreen, which commands the center console stack.
The 2014 Mazda6 and 2014 CX-5 will both feature a 5.8-inch in-dash touchscreen display.
New technology introduced on the Mazda6 includes i-ELOOP, an alternator-based energy regeneration system, which can power the vehicle’s electrical system. According to the automaker, i-ELOOP avoids the need for a dedicated electrical motor and battery, making the system more efficient, compact, and lighter than traditional brake regeneration systems.
The overall look of the vehicle has been completely reimagined, following Mazda’s Takeri concept vehicle, unveiled in 2011 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The 2014 Mazda6 features the SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis. The body is comprised of 58-percent high-tensile steel, which contributes to a 97-lb. weight loss when compared to the previous generation Mazda6 with an automatic transmission. The chassis utilizes a front-strut and rear multi-link suspension layout.
Standard safety features include six air bags (front, side, and full side-curtain), anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and brake assist, dynamic stability control with a traction control system, and hill launch assist.
The i Touring model features a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert standard, with the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system available as an option. The SCBS system is a new safety feature for North America. The SCBS system automatically stops or reduces the speed of the car when there is a risk of collision with the vehicle in front while traveling at speeds between 2 mph and 18 mph to avoid or reduce the severity of a crash. An infrared laser sensor mounted at the top of the front windshield is used to detect an obtrusive object and will reduce the brake rotor travel to quicken braking, and automatically stop the car should the system calculate that there is a risk of a collision occurring.