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Old 02-05-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
Car&Driver
Car and Driver
 
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Info 2014 Mazda 6 U.S.-Spec First Drive: Sculpted Design and Efficient Engineering Make a



A few months ago, we brought you an initial report on—and driving impressions of—the new Mazda 6, a mid-size sedan with a major corporate mission: resuscitating Mazda’s credibility and market share in America’s toughest passenger-car segment. That report was based on Euro-spec pre-production cars, and without getting into detail, it was very positive.

Now we’ve logged seat time in showroom-ready U.S. editions, and we can amplify the favorable impressions of our previous experience. The new 6 is a dynamic sweetheart that can dance step for step with a Honda Accord, and it’s a bold design statement that eschews the timidity that still afflicts some of the segment’s major players. (You know which these are. Or you should.)

Home run? That would be a stretch. The new 6 lacks the variety of powertrain choices offered by others in this segment. But to extend the metaphor, if the ball is still in the park, it’s off the fence and the batter is heading into third base standing up.

Now and Then

As Mazda’s second total-vehicle application of its Skyactiv technology discipline, the new 6 owes essentially nothing to its predecessor and a lot to the CX-5 crossover. There’s substantial architectural commonality with the CX-5, including increased use of high-strength steel (which now represents 58 percent of vehicle weight, according to Mazda), increased structural rigidity, and reduced mass, Skyactiv’s key ethic.

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