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

However, as is normally the case, stick with the manual transmission, and you open up another bucket of torque despite all the clever engineering involved in the design of the automatic, which uses both a locking torque converter automatic-style for low speed starts up to 5 km/h, and a single, multi-plate clutch for gear changes. The manual transmission has also been redesigned for more efficient packaging, shorter throws, and better feel. Check, check, check. The clutch is light, but linear, with good feel for the point of engaging, and the throws are light enough to be tolerable for stop-and-go commutes, with a bit of notchiness just to remind you there is a mechanical action underneath – this is the company that builds the MX-5/Miata, home to one of the best shift linkages extant, and it shows.

DIY shifters rejoice, because the manual transmission is available on all trims, which will ‘save’ you $1,200 on base GX models, though it is considered a “no-cost” option on GX and GT trims. I sure wouldn’t mind saving $1,200 on those upper trims, but Mazda knows that the customer that wants a manual transmission without giving up leather, power seats, or navigation, is willing to eat that.

And now, on to the ever popular trims and prices breakdown… That base GX model with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $24,495 MSRP, and you can add $1,695 for Freight and another $100 for the air conditioning excise tax since all models come with A/C as standard equipment. That price is 1-2K more than competitors’ base trims, some of which come with automatics that will please the masses, so Mazda has thrown in some perks like 17-inch alloy wheels and rain sensing wipers as standard equipment that others offer only on higher trims (or not at all). Just a brief list of notable standard equipment goes like this: disc brakes with ABS, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, push-button start, cruise control, automatic lights, Bluetooth with audio profile, USB, colour display with trip computer, and heated seats.

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

The only option on the GX trim is the $1,200 automatic transmission upgrade, taking the price to $25,695.

The $28,395 GS trim adds moonroof, fog lights, auto climate control, driver seat power lift, leather steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake, proximity-sensing keyless entry, HMI commander (which is Mazda-goofy-speak for an infotainment control knob on the console), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and back-up camera. To get the leather seats to match the steering wheel and shift knob, you have to spring for the $1,800 Luxury package, which also includes eight-way power driver seat (including power lumbar support), ‘leather-like’ door trim, and a navigation system to go along with that ‘commander’ knob.

Loaded models come bearing the GT badge and a window sticker of $32,195. At that price, you get all of the above features, plus your rims are upgraded to 19-inch alloys with 225/45R19 rubber, auto-dimming exterior & interior mirrors, Bose Audio with 11 speakers, auto leveling front lighting and HID xenon headlights with LED signature.

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