Reasonably priced mid- to large-sized sedans were, up until recently, some of the most bland products on the market.
Their purpose wasn't to bedazzle its owners or give them the drive of a lifetime. It was a product for mass consumption and built to appeal to as many tastes as possible while shuttling owners from point "A" to point "B."
To say they were dialed back would be too kind. They sucked.
That trend seems to have been broken, thankfully. If I were to place money on the table, I'd wager that the Hyundai Sonata was the first breakaway product that "broke the seal."
Now with the all-new Ford Monde...[cough] Fusion [cough] on the market it seems that style is being injected into this once awful scene.
But this week something descended from -- I think -- above. That, my friends, is the all-new Mazda6.
And to be straightforward, a Japanese vehicle hasn't looked THIS good or cohesive since the Acura TL for the 2004 - 2008 model years. Not the current-gen product that has a beak and appears to have been the spawn of the hunchback of Notre Dame.
Anyhow, I've been fawning over the all-new 2014 Mazda6 since the Takeri Concept. While it's not a spot-on representation, it certainly is an impressive product from a brand that desperately needs success.
That being said, I have to ask:
Is there any other REASONABLY priced sedan on the market that looks THIS good?
Mazda's press release follows:
The All-New 2014 Mazda6 Sedan New Flagship Brings An Added Dimension to the Celebration of Driving
Mazda will premiere the completely redesigned Mazda6 (Atenza) at 2012 Moscow Motor Show. Following on from the Mazda CX-5, the all-new Mazda6 is the second of a new generation of Mazda vehicles which adopt the full range of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and the "KODO – Soul of Motion" design language. Mazda has consistently strived to provide stylish, insightful and spirited cars and the new generation vehicles also offer outstanding environmental performance.
Mazda's environmental technology development is directed by its Building Block Strategy which first calls for thorough improvements in the base automotive technologies. The next step builds on these improvements with the sequential introduction of electric devices designed to improve fuel economy. The first such device was the i-stop idling stop system introduced in 2009 with the Mazda3 (Axela). The second device, which makes its debut with the new Mazda6 is i-ELOOP, Mazda's unique brake energy regeneration system which begins charging a capacitor the moment you take your foot off the accelerator. Electricity stored in the capacitor can then be used to power electric components throughout the car. In freeing the engine from much of the duty of providing electricity to these components, more fuel energy goes directly to powering the car resulting in further improvements in fuel economy. In addition, a variety of advanced active safety technologies have been adopted. The new Mazda6 delivers not only precise response and a high-quality, exhilarating driving experience but also outstanding environmental and safety performance.
Drawing on the full potential of both SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO design, the Mazda6 aims to take the "joy of driving" to a new level. As the flagship model of a new generation of vehicles, it will build on the momentum created by the success of the CX-5, and heralds a new era for Mazda. It will be introduced to global markets starting late 2012.
"Driving pleasure" begins before you even turn the key
Creation of a flagship model that takes driving pleasure to another level.
"In developing the 3rd generation Mazda6, we pursued Mazda's intrinsic value, 'driving pleasure'. We wanted to create a car that reacts and behaves exactly as you expect it to. Part of this involved carefully crafting those parts of the car which you often touch to feel as though they are an extension of your own body," says Hiroshi Kajiyama, the new Mazda6 program manager. "The distinctive design hints at the power and agility with which the car moves. A variety of original innovations support a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. Mazda's superb engineering and craftsmanship have realized a car that handles so well it seems to respond directly to the driver's intentions rather than the physical manipulations of steering, braking and accelerating. In short, the new Mazda6 offers the "joy of driving" that people have come to expect from Mazda, but the experience starts even before you get behind the wheel and lingers long after the drive is over. I can't wait to see the look on the faces of people getting out of the car after their first time behind the wheel of the new Mazda6."
Key characteristics of the all-new Mazda6 sedan (Russian specification)
An Exceptional presence creates an expectation of outstanding driving
performance every time you glance at the car
The new Mazda6 is the mass production model born of the Mazda TAKERI concept car showcased at Tokyo Motor Show in December 2011. "The new Mazda6 has a robust framework and a low, wide stance that expresses strength and stability, creating the impression of amazing vitality without detracting from the universal aesthetic appeal and beautiful form it displays as a CD car," says the chief designer Akira Tamatani. "We have created a design in which the wild and dynamic expressions of motion artistically realize a powerful presence. Simply looking at the car heightens one's expectations about the driving experience even before actually riding in it."
At a single glance, the exterior design conveys animalistic tenacity, dignity and a sporty flare through its smooth and powerful physique. The coordinated interior, in keynote black, is both chic and contemporary without compromising on a timeless feeling of luxury and quality.
In the front view, we incorporated the 'signature wing,' a unifying element of the new Mazda family face design, into the deeply sculpted face. The hood creases extend from the tips of the signature wing and flow into the body character lines. Together, with the solid design of the nose, they complement the overall dynamic form of the body that expresses a strong desire for motion.
Three character lines dominate the side view – an elegant line that extends forward from the rear tire, a rear fender line suggesting driving force from the vehicle's hind quarter, and a front fender line denoting strong shoulders supporting nimble forefeet. The combination of these lines capture the form of a predator crouched and poised ready to leap forward in an explosion of movement.
The rear view displays stability through the well balanced proportions of the wedged body, prominent rear fender and compact cabin.
For the head lights, signature LED luminescence and halo ring light guides are adopted for the first time in a Mazda mass production vehicle.
The first use of "Soul Red", a new color born of a unique technological process developed by Mazda, that balances depth and shading which accentuate the car's dynamic form, and vividness which expresses sportiness.
The driver-oriented cockpit offers generous space. Three meters laid out symmetrically in the meter hood heighten the expectation for exciting driving.
Passenger side space provides a sense of both openness and safety with the decorative horizontal line extending through the center panel to the air-conditioning louvers as well as the encircling form of the dash.
Soft materials are used for areas frequently touched such as the door trim and the upper part of the instrument panel.
The solid, decorative instrument panel features 2 colors, 'Bordeaux metal' and 'Dark metal'.
White scale markings appear to stand out from the meter face which feature a combination of spindle groove and honeycomb patterning to achieve a feeling of depth and quality craftsmanship. An encircling metal ring completes a tasteful design, conveying a zeal for driving.
Quality that raises the anticipation of "driving pleasure"
New generation Mazda products are developed under the design craftsmanship concept which incorporates the designer's aesthetic sense into a base of detailed and precise engineering. Full-scale implementation of this concept with the new Mazda6 enabled a high-quality, premium finish with a harmony of form and quality while not compromising on functionality. Attention was paid not only to areas passengers see and touch but also to the feel and sound of operating the vehicle in order to create a sense of unity throughout the car. An overall feeling of quality appeals to all the senses and creates an expectation that the new Mazda6 will offer heightened levels of driving pleasure no matter where you take it.
Details of all parts, including design motif, molding, and surface grain and gloss treatments are carefully executed according to a consistent philosophy.
In the cabin, the instrument panel is laid out horizontally, and a smooth continuity between the upper area of the instrument panel and the door trim creates an impression of simplicity and neatness.
Care has been taken to ensure metal-like decorations, such as satin chrome plating.
Parts which the driver often handles, such as the steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake
lever are carefully crafted to achieve a smooth and consistent feel.
The layout of the instrument display and operating devices surrounding the driver's seat has
been optimized in consideration of both the characteristics of human vision and arm and hand movements.
Packaging that fills everyday with joy and pleasure
A spacious and comfortable environment is provided within the dynamic and elegant body form realized by KODO design. It offers an environment where the driver can relax and concentrate on the pleasure of driving. A feeling of anticipation is stirred every time you look at the car, run your hand over the fender, grasp the wheel or adjust the mirror.
Two fundamental aims directed the development of the packaging. The first was to realize spacious, comfortable cabin that perfectly matches KODO design. The second was to refine the Human Machine Interface (HMI) to create a cockpit environment where the driver can feel completely at ease to enjoy the drive. The new Mazda6 packaging achieves all three aims and provides driver and passengers with a great environment in which to savor the "joy of driving."
Spacious, comfortable cabin that perfectly matches KODO design
The 2,830mm long wheel base allows a spacious backseat area, ample interior space and a broad canvas for the unrestrained expression of KODO.
Large 19 inch diameter wheels create a feeling of unshakable stability.
Compared to the previous model, the front wheel has been moved forward by 100mm in relation to the A-pillar resulting in reduced overhang. The rear deck is also shorter than the previous model. The car's stance, with the bulk of the mass toward the rear, gives a sense of
explosive power ready to be unleashed at any moment.
Shoulder room of 1,450mm in the front seat (20mm wider than the previous model) and a large
radius corner on the center console ensure comfortable seating.
The rear seats feature ample legroom with knee clearance 43 mm greater than the previous
model and amongst the best in the segment. Leg space is 984 mm, which is 37 mm improved 4
?Moscow International Automobile Salon 2012
on the previous model. The length of the rear seat cushion is increased 20 mm and the seat
back length increased 33 mm. The rear center arm rest has been enlarged by 60 mm.
The trunk was designed from an ergonomic perspective. Upper opening width is 32mm wider than the previous model, for easy loading. A swan hinge enables easy and smooth opening and
closing of the trunk. Cockpit environment
An adjustable front seat combined with adjustable tilt and telescopic steering wheel enable precise adjustment of the driving position.
A multi commander allows intuitive control of an array of functions such as audio, the navigation system and the sensitivity of the automatic windshield wipers via the center display.
Trip management information is displayed on a 3.5-inch multi-information display in the meter cluster. Navigation information is shown on a 5-inch display located in the center panel. By separating information into categories and showing them on two different displays, readability and operability were further enhanced.
Impressive dynamic performance to achieve precise handling
In driving dynamics, the aim was to provide an exhilarating driving experience that can only be felt when the driver and car become one. Mazda's fundamental belief is that a smooth linear response to driver input is the basis of driving pleasure, and full enjoyment cannot be attained through speed and power alone. This was the motivation for the introduction of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY throughout the car including the engine, transmission, body and chassis.
Aiming to realize both agility and linearity by uniting the driver and car, Mazda concentrated on providing outstanding levels of high performance via a control system that responds to the driver's intentions. In terms of acceleration characteristics, this means natural, linear acceleration in response to pedal operation without a hint of jerkiness or delay. For cornering characteristics, this means faithfully responding to steering input, providing immediate feedback from the road and mildly increasing roll so that no steering adjustment is required to maintain the desired cornering line. Finally, for braking characteristics, this means braking performance that gives the driver the feeling of being in complete control, including when releasing the brakes. Closely concentrating on human sensitivity in this way, Mazda strove to balance fundamentally contradictory characteristics of motion: refined, supple motion and light, agile motion.
Appropriate for the Mazda flagship model, extremely impressive driving performance including superior high-speed straight-line stability that gives the feeling of complete control has been realized, thus providing an enjoyable, comfortable drive regardless of distance.
(All specifications for the Russian market)
Chassis & Body
The all-new Mazda6 sedan has a finely tuned SKYACTIV-Chassis front strut and rear multi-link suspension systems, which deliver agile driving performance in the low- to mid-speed ranges and stability in high speed driving.
SKYACTIV-Chassis column-type electric power assist steering system offers precise control by responding to small steering inputs as needed without forcing changes in the positions of the hands holding the wheel and contributing to a linear steering feel. The new control assist enhances straight-ahead stability and prevents steering pull on rough road surfaces.
The optimized brake booster curves deliver effective, precise and assured braking performance
all the way up to high G areas attributable to easily-controllable initial pedaling and enhanced
stability enabled by higher brake cooling efficiency.
Robust SKYACTIV-Body structure makes wider use of ultra-high tensile steel and results in a
weight reduction while at the same time improving torsional rigidity by about 30%
Engineering efforts in NVH performance focused on achieving class-leading quietness in the cabin and creating a pleasant yet exhilarating engine sound under acceleration. The improved NVH performance mainly comes from effectively blocking noise paths from the engine and the
road to the cabin and designing parts to effectively absorb sound energy.
The optimized under-floor design improves aerodynamic performance by rectifying airflow under the vehicle and minimizing the trailing vortex by directing the airflow upwards via the tail up design of the main silencer. CD target is class-leading 0.26 (depending on grade). This contributes to high-speed stability as well as an improvement in fuel efficiency.
SKYACTIV-G (gasoline engine) equipped models offer abundant torque characteristics at low engine speeds enabling acceleration that precisely matches the driver's intentions in various driving situations, contributing to a precise and linear response; high-quality ride and superb fuel economy performance.
The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine offers maximum torque of 210 Nm / 4,000 rpm and maximum output of 110 kW / 6,000 rpm. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine, deployed for the first time in the new Mazda6, offers a maximum torque of 256 Nm / 3,250 rpm and maximum output of 141 kW / 5,700 rpm. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5 also features a balance shaft that contributes to the mitigation of engine vibration and low noise output.
SKYACTIV-G 2.0 comes with 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission or 6-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual gear box. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5 is combined with the SKYACTIV-Drive transmission. Precise and nimble driving performance is supported by both SKYACTIV-Drive, designed to control driving force and gear speed linearly in response to acceleration pedal input, and SKYACTIV-MT, which offers a light and crisp shift feel.
Environmental and Safety Performance
Environmental and safety performance for driving pleasure and peace of mind
Environmental and safety performance was further enhanced in the all-new Mazda6 so customers can enjoy driving with peace of mind. In terms of environmental performance, the addition of i-stop and i-ELOOP improves the already outstanding fuel economy achieved with SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. The foundation of the new Mazda6's safety performance lies in its outstanding handling that responds immediately to the driver's input, excellent visibility and the crash-worthiness of the highly rigid SKYACTIV-Body. On top of this, an array of advanced safety technologies has been employed to support the driver in the safe operation of the vehicle. For example, Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) and Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) drive awareness and improve field of vision at night. Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) will take steps to avoid or reduce the severity of an accident even if the driver takes no action. Finally, superior passive safety minimizes damage when collisions do occur.
The new Mazda6 is the first model to adopt the "i-ELOOP" brake energy regeneration system, which contributes to an improvement in fuel efficiency in real world driving situations. This is the first passenger car brake energy regeneration system in the world to utilize a capacitor. SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine models are available with i-ELOOP and i-stop.
The "i-stop," Mazda's original idling stop system is introduced on the new Mazda6. This system boasts a class-leading engine re-start time of 0.35 seconds.
Award-winning single-nanotechnology in the catalyst improves the exhaust gas after-treatment process and reduces the amount of precious metal required.
Active Safety Technologies:
[Maximize the range of conditions in which the driver can drive safely and comfortably]
Moving the bottom of the A-pillar rearwards by 100mm, compared with the outgoing model, and mounting the rear view mirror on the door rather than the base of the A-pillar helps enhance the forward and peripheral visibility.
High-Beam Control system (HBC) uses a sensor to detect oncoming vehicles and automatically changes between high and low beam to help avoid blinding other drivers during night driving.
Adaptive Front-lighting system (AFS) predicts curvature based on the degree of steering input and vehicle speed and turns the headlights in the direction that the vehicle is actually heading. This improves visibility when driving at night.
Hill Launch Assist (HLA) helps prevent the Mazda6 from rolling backwards while the driver's foot moves from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal when taking off on a hill.
[Provide hazard alerts to help the driver avoid dangers and recover the safe operation of the vehicle]
Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) cause the hazard lights to rapidly flicker on and off in the event of panic braking at 50 km/h or faster in order to warn vehicles behind.
Rear Vehicle Monitoring (RVM) comes into effect at 30 km/h or faster and detects cars approaching from behind or driving in the blind spot area on either side and warns the driver when he or she turns on the indicator to change lanes.
The Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) uses a camera to judge the position of lines on the road and warns the driver of unintentional lane departures, thus minimizing the risk of collision due to driver inattention or fatigue.
[Help avoid or reduce the severity of a collision when the driver alone cannot safely operate the vehicle]
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) uses a near-infrared beam sensor to help prevent collisions and, in cases where prevention is not possible, reduce the impact of frontal collisions at low speed (up to 30 km/h) by automatically applying the vehicle's brakes.
Passive Safety Technologies:
[Help protect passengers and pedestrians in the event of a collision]
The lightweight yet highly-rigid SKYACTIV-Body provides excellent crashworthiness and is designed to attain top safety ratings in tests around the world.
A multi-load path structure and a front end with an X-shaped cross-section increases impact energy absorption, further improving safety performance in frontal, side and rear-end collisions.
The anti-whiplash design of the front seats helps to reduce neck injury in the event of a rear-end collision.
There are two impact beams in the front doors. The upper beam has a round cross-section, and the lower beam has a double-ridged cross-section. The lower rear beam also has a double-ridged cross-section, helping to improve strength.
2014 Mazda6 Photo Gallery