And while it is not our usual standard route, we noted fuel consumption of 9.3 L/100 km and 8.6 on various legs, and this was when driving it with no regard for efficiency on twisty, low-speed roads with plenty of stops that included idling for photo shoots (we did turn the cars off when we stopped at The Salt Lick, for the best barbecue I’ve ever had in my life). Not exactly the demands of rush-hour commuting, but also not just a leisurely highway cruise. If anything, it seemed somewhat of a similar mix as our comparison tests, only the roads around Austin are actually fun to drive, unlike our flat, straight, traffic-clogged GTA roads. Official fuel consumption estimates as per Transport Canada guidelines are 8.1/5.3 L/100 km city/highway with the manual, and 7.6/5.1 for the automatic. US EPA procedures would put it at 9.4/6.4 for the manual and 9.0/6.2 for the auto.

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 new Mazda6 couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With sales in the segment skyrocketing, Mazda is perfectly poised to capture sales from brands carrying mediocre products in the class, and the Mazda6 has the style (seems I’ve run out of room to talk about styling, but let’s just say I’m a fan), practicality, and efficiency to draw a lot of people into showrooms. Its only shortcoming is the limitation of only one four-cylinder engine choice at launch; although it is brilliant, Mazda is competing against brands that have three or four engine choices, with turbos, vee-sixes and hybrids to supplement conventional, volume models. And when reinforcements arrive, it will be the first mainstream brand to challenge VW’s lock on the passenger diesel market, so there is an element of experimentation to it.

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

That being said, the Mazda6 is an excellent car and worth putting on your shopping list if in the market for a family sedan. This car is an impressive flagship for a small brand, and you can feel that Mazda has poured its soul into it, now freed from the demands of partnering to a larger brand, and it is at least on par with the best the segment has to offer in every respect.

Pricing: 2014 Mazda6

GX 6MT: $24,495
GX 6AT: $25,695

GS 6MT: $28,395
GS 6MT Luxury: $30,195
GS 6AT: $28,395
GS 6AT Luxury: $30,195

GT 6MT: $32,195
GT 6AT: $32,195
GT 6AT Technology: $34,195

Freight & PDE for all models: $1,695




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.