David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/7/18 2:16 p.m.

Yes, you can still get a Mazda6 with a manual transmission. The six-speed stick doesn’t come paired with the new 2.5-liter turbo engine, though. Insert Sad Panda here.

As Mazda’s media materials boast, however, at least it’s not a CVT: “In too many instances, turbocharged engines are mated to continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVT), operating in a narrow band of efficiency, sacrificing a connectedness between driver and car—a valued characteristic of all Mazda vehicles called Jinba Ittai. Mazda’s six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, paired as standard to the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine, keeps its torque converter locked through most of its operation, giving a more connected sense of controllability than many other automatic transmissions.”

That SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine is worth some chatter. It produces 250 horsepower along with 310 lb.-ft. of torque and is available on the Grand Touring model and above. The base engine, the one available with the manual box, is the SKYACTIV-G: 187 horsepower and 186 torque units.

The other big news for 2018: a freshening for Mazda’s four-door family sedan. The new nose matches the rest of the lineup, while LED headlamps come standard. The seats are new. So are the wheels.

Our test car was the Signature, the top-o-the-line model. That trim level is new for 2018 and adds some niceties like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Nappa leather seats, and Japanese Sen wood and ultrasuade trim inserts. Where the Mazda6 lineup starts at $21,9501–that will buy you a Mazda6 Sport with the stick shift–this one checks in at $34,750.

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stylngle2003 Reader
6/7/18 3:01 p.m.

i think a tuned one of those would be a hoot.  do you know if it comes with a limited slip? didn't see it called out.

aircooled MegaDork
6/7/18 4:46 p.m.

A Mazda 5 with a stick?

How many of those are they going to make?  Four?

I just don't see a lot of modern buyers looking for something like this.  They will probably be ripe for a big discount when they don't sell.

CyberEric HalfDork
6/7/18 5:08 p.m.

I want to drive one of these, I really liked the 2015 I drove with the NA 2.5. 

From what I hear, they need real tires though. Hopefully Mazda will offer a summer performance option soon. 

MazdaFace Dork
6/7/18 5:29 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

I feel like that's always been an issue with the 6. My speed6 has 215's on it with 275 horsepower.

CyberEric HalfDork
6/7/18 5:47 p.m.

In reply to MazdaFace :

Agreed. I never understood why they didn't go wider on the speed 6. 

It sounds like with this new 2.5T they were shooting for noise reduction over grip. 

The rebound springs they added sound cool.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/8/18 8:19 a.m.

In reply to MazdaFace :

I mounted 225/45/17's on my regular 3's stock 17x7's (had 205/50/17's stock) and it completely changed the way the car handled. It was good before, but it is an absolute hoot in the curves now! 

ShawneeCreek Reader
6/8/18 10:29 a.m.

I think the narrow tires were a compromise for fuel economy. And it definitely works. I had a 2014 Mazda 6 with the stick and reliably got 35-37 mpg in mixed driving.

Driven5 SuperDork
6/8/18 10:39 a.m.

...keeps its torque converter locked through most of its operation, giving a more connected sense of controllability...

Mazda continues to demonstrate that they are one of the few manufacturers who truly 'get it'.

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