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Entry price: $21,495

Price as tested: $36,040 

Likes: New models, turbo engine, fuel mileage, great looks

Dislikes: Engine still a bit noisy, console control knob has learning curve

This week, we’re driving the all-new, turbocharged 2018 Mazda6 Signature, the top-line offering from the folks at Mazda and noted for its powerful mechanical properties and outstanding mid-size fuel mileage. 

Emphasizing the great fuel mileage, Mazda6 Signature generates a 31 MPG highway EPA number and 23 city, both good for a larger mid-size car powered by a turbocharged engine. As for price, non-turbo entry level Sport starts at just $21,945 while second level Mazda6 Touring starts at $25,700. The Grand Touring begins at $29,200 which leads to our tester Signature that begins at $34,750.  

Notable is when potential buyers moves up to the Mazda6 Grand Touring and Signature models, they receive the new for 2018 turbocharged 250-horse, 310 torque 2.5-liter four that is packing some real punch. This car accelerates like a V8 powered car from the 1960s, while still delivering outstanding mileage. This engine asks for premium 90-plus octane fuel, although you can use the 87 octane but horsepower drops to 227 (it’s all computer controlled).  

For those looking for less power and more MPG, the entry level Sport and second-in-line Touring come with a 2.5-liter fuel injected four-cylinder that delivers 187 horses and 186 lb. ft. of torque. Both the aforementioned turbo and non-turbo engines rely on fine shifting Sport Mode six-speed automatic while gear shifters have but one choice for 2018, notably the entry Sport that still comes with a six-speed manual.

Fuel mileage estimates are 24 city and 34 highway for the manual transmission non-turbo four-cylinders while the automatics deliver better at 26 and 35, respectfully. Always noted for delivering good MPG, the 26-35 number is a significant improvement compared just five model years ago, when “6” models best MPG numbers were 21 city and 30 highway. 

The new “6” exterior design is impressive (love the gunmetal finish grille) and the amenities list on the Signature is too many to list in this column. Only a $200 exterior paint upgrade and $200 more for scuff plates and a cargo mat pushed the final retail to $36,040 with $890 delivery included.  

Standard across the five model line is Mazda6’s constantly improving Skyactiv Vehicle Dynamics G-Vectoring control, a feature that helps deliver a smoother, less tiring drive. This G-vectoring system automatically adjusts power delivery and cornering enhancement and although the effect is subtle, drivers who have a better feel of the road will sense it especially when cornering.

New for 2018 on all models is standard forward collision city emergency braking and forward collision all-speed warning. Thus, when traveling at slower city speeds, the Mazda6 will engage the brakes to help avoid a front collision. Once you get up to highway speeds, the driver will receive a warning.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.


Auto Bits

Waze navigation app
worth checking out

Waze is a popular
app that is supplanting the big names in navigation with its unique
features. Here’s why now is the time to check it out.

Waze is a Google/Android /Alphabet smartphone application that has been around a while, but recently Apple added it to its CarPlay menu, expanding its fully-integrated in-vehicle use from about 40 percent of the new car world to 90 percent. 

Now that it is compatible with both Android Auto and also Apple CarPlay, anyone in any vehicle with either system can now use this app as part of the in-dash

Waze is primarily a navigation app, but it has unique features. For example, it can tell you if you are approaching a police vehicle. Waze can also warn you of road hazards such as debris on the road ahead and offer many other points of interest information.

AAA recently completed a study comparing Apple CarPlay and Android auto against automakers’ native systems and found Android Auto and Apple CarPlay LESS distracting, not more.



Did you know

General Motors’ Cadillac outscored Tesla in Consumer Reports’ first ranking of partially automated driving systems.