2014 Car of the Year Finalist No. 1 – Mazda6

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

It’s award season again. We have already crowned the Truck of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year. Now it’s time for the most important award of them all.

Last year, AutoGuide crowned the Scion FR-S and this year we have five finalists vying for the title. Each day this week, we will be presenting another finalist for the AG COTY with the winner being announced next week. Stay tuned all week and let us know which car is your pick as the winner!

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The second generation Mazda6 was a failure both in execution and from a sales standpoint. So, for 2014, Mazda went back to the proverbial drawing board and reinvented the 6 from the ground up using the brand’s recently introduced SkyActiv technology. A focus was set on making the Mazda6 more stylish, efficient and upscale while bringing back the original generation’s fun-to-drive attitude. And to the engineers at Mazda, we say congratulations. You succeeded.

The new sedan is instantly recognizable as a modern Mazda thanks to the KODO design language. Now on the CX-5, Mazda3 and refreshed CX-9, the new corporate look is gorgeous and nearly makes us forget the goofy smiling face on the last generation of Mazdas – almost. The 2014 6 ditches the old car’s V6 engine and 85 lbs. in the base model despite the fact the new car is slightly bigger. Power comes from a 2.5-iter four-cylinder engine that generates 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque.

See Also: 2014 Mazda6 Review – Video

Available with a six-speed manual or automatic, the name of the game for the new 6 is efficiency and with an official rating of 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, the base manual equipped car crushes the old model’s ratings of 21 city and 30 highway. But what’s more, since the four cylinder engine makes more power in a lighter car, the new Mazda6 isn’t just more efficient, but also faster.

And it doesn’t end with a peppy engine. The chassis of the Mazda6 is tuned to reward a spirited drive. During a recent comparison test amongst eight mid-size family sedans, we found the new 6 to be the most responsive car in the field. But unlike some other sporty sedan pretenders, the it doesn’t suffer from an overly stiff ride that jars passengers over every road imperfection. In fact, we are impressed by how well the car absorbs road bumps.

Add a comfortable, elegant interior – especially with the optional cream colored seating surfaces – and it is obvious Mazda has built a Mazda6 good enough to not only win two separate AutoGuide comparison tests, but also claim a spot as an 2014 Car of the Year Award finalist.

GALLERY: 2014 Mazda6

Discuss this story at our Mazda6 forum.

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Mitch Mitch on Dec 03, 2013

    What about the 2.2L diesel in the Mazda 6? That could be the real winner. Whenever it gets to the US.....

  • Zach Conley Zach Conley on Dec 04, 2013

    I've owned a 2006 Mazdaspeed 6 for the past 2+ years and love it to death. I've test driven the new 2014 Mazda 6 and must say it may not have as much horse as the Speed 6 or AWD which is a feature Mazda has steered away from over the years but it is a very smooth ride. The suspension is superb,plenty of room,good mileage,interior is sporty/elegant as well as the exterior. If Mazda ever brings back the Speed 6 with AWD in the future but with a manual feature to disable the ABS I would go to my bank, get a loan, and trade in my 06 for a new Speed 6 AWD. Don't get me wrong Mazda you guys did a superb job with that ABS a little to good. Ice and ABS just don't mix.