First Drive: 2014 Mazda6 reviews mazda first drives
2014 Mazda6. Click image to enlarge
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Mazda Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2014 Mazda6

Austin, TX – After recently completing an intensive comparison test between some leading family sedans on the market, I couldn’t help but feel perfectly prepared to judge the new 2014 Mazda6 now arriving in Canadian dealerships. Well, the Mazda6 has been judged, and it has been deemed worthy. It offers a mix of value, practicality and character that reflect well the Mazda philosophy – the slogan which shall not be named.

Actually, for several years now, Mazda has been trotting out a secondary brand philosophy catchphrase for us journalists, who so cringe every time we see or hear the letter zed approaching. Jinba Ittai, a Japanese phrase describing the oneness between horse and rider, it is a quality Mazda’s engineering teams seek to design into their cars, a quality that engages the driver in the act of driving, rather than simply delivering you from point A to point B without incident. No easy feat when you must also stay on budget and keep cars competitively priced, deliver excellent fuel economy, and live up to and anticipate customers’ practical needs and industry trends in this extremely competitive segment.

First Drive: 2014 Mazda6 reviews mazda first drives First Drive: 2014 Mazda6 reviews mazda first drives First Drive: 2014 Mazda6 reviews mazda first drives First Drive: 2014 Mazda6 reviews mazda first drives
2014 Mazda6. Click image to enlarge

Unlike many other new product launches, the Mazda6 takes all-new to its very limits. Where other brands will carry over engines, transmissions, platform designs or chassis components, everything short of bolts and other interchangeable parts is new on the Mazda6. When breaking from Ford, Mazda was challenged to find a way to compete with larger companies and match their efficiency and engineering, and saw an opportunity to achieve something of a revolution through evolution. In speaking with Ruben Archilla, Group Manager, Advanced Engineering, Research and Development for Mazda North America Operations (wow, that is a really long title… how does he ever get any work done?), he offered some insight on how they landed on this path to efficiency, “Everything still depends on an efficient internal combustion engine as its base.” Improve the base, improve performance across the board, while leaving the door open to other advanced powertrain technology.

Taking a conventional internal combustion engine and front-wheel-drive layout to its apotheosis by designing every major system to work as efficiently as possible while engaging the driver (Jinba Ittai, remember?) became the goal. Aside from the goofy SkyActiv label, the engineering is simple but brilliant, the separate body, suspension, powertrain, transmission, design and other teams working flexibly toward a common goal. The result is a platform designed for optimum strength, minimizing weight through design efficiency and high-strength materials, while perfectly accommodating the new powertrain options and working in concert with chassis design to provide the best comfort-performance ride compromise. Archilla detailed how they redesigned the body to fit ideal suspension mounting points, and eliminated inefficient frame designs (straight is better than crooked) by building to spec around their core engines, the four-cylinder Skyactiv-G gasoline and Skyactiv-D diesel.

In other words, this car really is all new (except for the bolts…).




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.