2018 Mazda 6 Signature new car reviews

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.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Glad to see Mazda give the 6 a bit more power. It was a fine car before, but now it’s no longer trailing that class by so much. Remember, we now live in a world where Accords, Camrys, Sonatas and the rest of the gang make about 250 horsepower and up. The Camry now offers more than 300.

Do you need that much power to carry the family to Chuck E. Cheese’s for a zany night out? Debatable. But it’s nice to have the option.

Power is now on par with the rest of the class. The updated interior is welcome. How funny that, when compared to the Camry, the Mazda has the more conservative look?

I know that some will lament the fact that you can’t get a manual transmission with the more powerful engine, but in the real world I can’t see the take rate being that high–and as far as the manufactures are concerned, sadly, second-hand sales don’t really count.

Debi Brand
Associate Publisher

At first all the bells and whistles were distracting and intimidating. But by day two I knew where everything was and started to really enjoy the ride.

I was totally mesmerized by the active driving display and the traffic sign recognition system. This was my first experience with Mazda’s obvious focus on delivering driver and passengers safely to their destination. The discreet alerts were squarely aimed at keeping the driver focused and in their lane – beeping for lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear vehicle monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward obstruction warning.

Acceleration was strong and smooth. Paddle shifters were fun to experiment with and drive. All controls were easily within fingertip reach. The Mazda6 offers sleek styling and luxury at a MSRP of $34,750.

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View comments on the GRM forums
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 GRM+ Memberand 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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