Mazda’s midsize sedan, the Mazda6, hasn’t matched the success of its primary competitors, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, and although those two rivals haven’t been the prettiest of car, they’ve have had the same kind of appeal as a chain restaurant. People know what they’re getting will be good even if not the most exciting fare.
The Mazda6, however, has been to most a more exotic fare, like a chain with fewer restaurants and flavors perhaps a little less mainstream. Choosing a Mazda6 over Camry and Accord, or for American tastes, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Impala, has been a bit more adventurous.
With the 2013 Mazda6, introduced at the Moscow auto show, Mazda isn’t backing off from daring. Taking a page from the Hyundai Sonata’s playbook, the Mazda6 is styled to attract attention. Hyundai dumped dowdy with the 2011 Sonata, and while the outgoing Mazda6 is far from plain, the 2013—how shall we state this calmly?—rocks.
The 2013 Mazda Mazda6 is the second Mazda to adopt the new corporate design vocabulary. Called Kodo, for “joy of driving”, the new design incorporates a pentagonal grille along with front fenders reminiscent of the outgoing Mazda6 (as well as the Mazda RX-8), though sleeker. The rear fenders add a mild Coke-bottle shape to the body while the roofline is, per current fashion, even more coupe-like that its predecessor’s. The rear deck is shorter and moves the visual mass rearward on the car, while the front axle line was moved almost four inches forward, reducing front overhang.
The long 111.4-inch wheelbase allows a roomy interior. Rear knee room increases by 1.7 inches over its predecessor, with an inch and a half more legroom overall. The rear seat cushion is almost an inch longer, for better support for the legs of rear seat passengers. While we’re at bigger measurements, shoulder room increases by almost an inch as well.
Mazda also promises more soft touch surfaces inside. The driver gets a new 3.5-inch information centered in the cylinder on the i.p. that flanks the centrally-mounted speedometer with the tachometer on the left. Navigation is displayed on a five-inch screen on the center stack, uncluttering the information sources by locating them on two different screens.
The 2013 Mazda Mazda6 introduces a Skyactiv2.5-liter inline four. For the European market, Mazda announced only the 2.5 Skyactiv and a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four gas engine (as used in the Mazda3 Skyactiv), along with a conventional 2.0-liter. The outgoing Mazda6 has the option in the U.S. of a rousing 272-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6. Mazda made no statement about the six at the Moscow show. Mazda also didn’t say anything about a diesel for the Mazda6 either. Mazda has said that a Skyactiv diesel is on the way for the U.S. in 2013, but hasn’t said in which vehicle. So does this exclude the Mazda6?
Whatever, the Skyactiv high-compression direct-injection 2.5-liter will incorporate a number of fuel-saving features as part of Mazda’s Skyactiv umbrella. Perhaps most intriguing is the first application of Mazda’s i-eLoop system. In addition to making the people sound silly saying its name, the i-eLoop system is the world’s first energy recovery system using a capacitor, a solid-state system of storing electrical energy.
The capacitor works by storing electricity made by the car’s alternator whenever the accelerator is off. From there it’s transferred to the car’s regular service battery via a DC/DC converter (35v to 12v). When the driver hits the accelerator, however, the stored energy in the capacitor as well as that in the service battery is used to power accessories in the car. By relieving the alternator of generating power while the car is accelerating, the Mazda6 can accelerate more quickly and efficiently.