I went for my test drive in the 2014 yesterday. The dealership only had the showroom model for me to drive (no complaints since it's the fully-loaded GT model).
I also test drove a fully-loaded 2012 GT V6 the same day, and I currently own a V6 GT 2004 - so I saw all ends of the spectrum.
Initial Test Drive:
We all know how the car looks (amazing), but how does it feel? Sitting in the driver's seat, the first thing I notice is that they don't quite hug you as much as the 1st gen, but at the same time are more comfortable. I felt that both the 2nd and 3rd gens offered the same comfort but the quality of the leather in the 3rd gen is slightly superior to that of the 2nd gen.
Although the 2nd gen offers slightly more headroom, the 3rd gen feels much roomier around you as you drive.
The push start button in the 2nd gen seemed to be in a bit of an awkward spot, right under the head unit/navi area - while the 3rd gen relocated the push start to to a more appropriate spot just behind the wheel.
The 3rd gens interior meshes very well and flows a bit better than both the 1st and 2nd generation. The 3rd gen still has that random little compartment to the bottom left of the wheel, right above the pull-tab for the hood latch. I still have no idea what it's used for
All 3 cars have fully adjustable seats and it's very easy to find your perfect spot.
From your seat in the 2014, you are greeted with a much more state-of-the art dash. The color scheme is no longer the red on black, but a very light grey with some blues mixed in here and there. Most information aside from the Tach and Odometer is displayed in digital form. Warning codes and errors also appear in easy-to-understand messages that pop up now and then as friendly reminders. For example, the car I drove was low on windshield washer fluid, and I only knew because of the message that popped up during the test drive.
The navigation system is equipped with a touch screen, but you are also able to use a simple nob/dial located just below the gear switch. The dial is a simple round button that clicks into place much like most mouse wheels. This helps choose specific options in the menu, without accidentally going too far and having to go back. The whole dial presses down to act like a "Select" button, making easy use of the Navi. Certainly a big upgrade from the 2012.
Now, it's tough to compare the power when I'm reviewing two V6 models VS the new 2.5L 2014, but I will evaluate how it feels in respect to those. For a 2.5L the 2014 feels a bit underpowered. Now my test drive I was also accompanied by my girlfriend and brother-in-law, making that 4 people total in the car with the saleswoman, but nonetheless I could tell that the car has been made more for the fuel economy than it is for throwing you into your seat.
This being said, when switched to manual mode, I could certainly feel a difference in power, and that the power band is a tad lower than the V6. This is probably thanks to that added torque and slightly different gearing. I had no problem with the slightly wet ground to scrub out a tiny bit when I went 85% throttle from a stop. I was actually shocked that I had scrubbed out a bit and was not expecting it.
Manual mode from both the 2012 and 2014 felt about the same. The shifts are incredibly clean, but somewhat laggy. I assume I can attest some of this delay to the newness of the transmissions and them not being broken in yet. Having driven a Manual car my entire life, it seemed awkward to me that I was able to keep my foot on the gas while shifting. When accelerating quickly, you must remind yourself to take into account the slight delay on the shift, and that you'll be increasing RPMs for that half a second longer. So when I gave it the gas a bit, I would shift for say 4500RPMs, but due to the lag I would be around 4600-4700 by the time the car actually shifted. Again, I can see this getting less and less as the car is broken in and it becomes more fluid.
As expected with all 3 models, the cars handle very well. I got going at a good clip on Rt.9 and must have been scaring the other drivers a tad with my bobbing and weaving, but I didn't want to be testing the stability/cornering on side roads.
All 3 cars are very responsive and feel great while cornering at speed. It could have just been me, but the elongated front of the 2014 made it feel as though it's weight wasn't as centered as the 2012, but rather more like my 2004. This is not a complaint as the cars all handle great, just an observation.
Stability over rough roads has certainly been improved since the 2012. The 2014 felt much more tight, much more "put together" than the 2012 when on bumpy/uneven road surfaces. I cannot attest to how they feel versus my 2004 since I am in desperate need of suspension work.
Overall road noise has been decreased noticeably. The 2004 model being the loudest no question, the 2012 improved upon that and reduced noise a good amount, but the 2014 trumped all of them. I cannot say which tires were on the 2012, but they certainly weren't winter tires, so the comparison should have been relatively equal. The 2014 dampened much more of the noise, offering for a much more enjoyable ride.
Overall, the 2014 impresses me on all fronts. It is certainly an upgrade from both pervious models, in both looks and feel. Although it lacks the power that many of us crave in new cars, it makes up for it in drivability and comfort. It is a sporty car with many improvements both inside and out, and is certainly worth the price tag.
I plan on purchasing one of these cars in the near future, and I will be sharing all my experiences with you all here.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this was helpful
The 2014, driven as a daily driver:
So I've driven the car now for a little while, and wanted to share a few things I've picked up on:
I can't speak much on behalf of the power since I've been driving like a grandma, but here are a couple things that I've noticed (both good and bad):
- Paddle shifters are a tad too short (low?). If you want to hold the wheel 10 and 2, they're situated where your ring and pinky fingers are, rather than middle and ring (which would be more comfortable).
And if you want to hold the wheel properly (at 9 and 3), the wheel isn't nearly as comfortable and there's no place to rest your thumbs aside from on the dash controls (not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't ALWAYS want my thumbs in that position). Also at 9 and 3, my small French Canadian hands can't be both comfortable, AND reach the paddle shifters - they're a bit too close to the wheel, but then again I'm probably just too short lol)
- The vents, and vent positions are superb. The old car I had a tough time warming my hands up without blasting hot air into my face. (First world problems). But my eyes dry out very easily and that's a problem if you have to pick between frozen hands and blindness lol.
The vents locations/angles on this car are great for any warming needs, and DAMN does it feel good to have my seat warmers back and working. I missed those, but for the life of me I can't see why anyone would need 3 settings! On the first setting, my a$$ is NICE and toasty, who needs it to be warmer? :lol:
- The transmission, now that I've put some miles on her, is smooth, crisp, and amazing Shifts are extremely clean (both up and down) and have become slightly quicker when using manual mode. I just read a motor trend article in a magazine, and they couldn't praise the transmission on the 2014 enough. They said it FAR exceeds the hesitant and unreliable Altima, the Accord, and certainly the Fusion, and I couldn't agree more.
- It's the little things, really. The gas cap is on a rubber line (like most cars have now), but the best part is that there's a little metal clip that you can hang the cap on while filling up. This way, the cap doesn't have to dangle on the side of the car. I don't know if that hinge was there on purpose for this reason or not, but damnit it's great that it's there!
3,000 Miles of Daily Driving (like an old lady):
- As many of you might know, I can be considered what some people call an "extreme commuter." I drive 64 miles EACH way to and from work 5 days a week. In lay-man's terms, I drive a hell-of-a-lot.
I'm up around 3200 miles since buying the car 1 month ago, and figured I'd weigh in on a few more things for those possibly aspiring to purchase this vehicle. I hope this information can be helpful to those who read it. I know I talk a lot, but if it can even help one person make a decision to buy the car, it's worth it
- The car certainly handles like the original 6's, perhaps even better. It bites at the turns and keeps begging for more speed. Unless on very sharp turns, the paddle shifters offer a great means to change gears while keeping a firm grip on the wheel. I was not a fan of these at first, but I am getting used to them and prefer them over the shift knob.
- The transmission has worked itself in a bit and shifts are super clean and very quick. I can't say enough about how cleanly the car changes gears, even 1st into 2nd are noticeably better than the 6's competitors (Altima, Accord, etc).
- Heated side mirrors kick ass when you live in New England, especially when my city (Worcester) has had the most snow of any city this year, and it's 5th snowiest winter in recorded (Worcester) history
- Auto-dimming side mirror and rear view mirrors work quickly and efficiently. I am still getting used to the green hue/tint that they cause all headlights to get, but aside from that they work very well and it's much nicer than having to get the reflection of my headliner in my rear view. (See: Old crappy mirror dimming techniques).
- Back-up camera is a godsend while parking in Boston. At first I couldn't stand the fish-eye lens look, but I knew in time I would learn to love it, and boy do I ever. I feel like I can park anywhere with that thing, as long as there's enough space lol. Doesn't phase me, although I do still prefer to double check with my side mirrors JUST to be sure.
- Blind Spot monitoring is also very handy, and comes into use more often than I would have imagined. I typically fiddle with my side mirrors until there is virtually no blind spot, but with that added confidence that the car doesn't put that little light on, I can change lanes without hesitation or worry (for the most part, MA drivers still suck).
- Triple-blink option for your directionals is a wonderful new way to be lazy. I wasn't aware of it's functionality until it was pointed it out to me. Now I don't have to worry about turning the turn signals off once I'm done changing lanes - another calorie saved by American ingenuity! - But seriously, they're very nice when you don't want to be worrying about your turn signals while changing lanes.
- Perhaps I'm still not used to owning an automatic (since I never have), but the lag time when punching it kills me. I want the power, and I want it NAO! It was actually a bit scary one time when I went to change lanes and needed to get up on it to avoid the jack-wagon flying up in the lane with blatant disregard, but for a split-second the car didn't move at all, and my heart stopped, but then she kicked in and got going. Don't know about you, but I'm not typically a fan of heart-stopping near-misses.
- Again with the auto-transmission. I find myself driving very carefully while trying to get the most out of my mpgs. But I also find myself often saying: "Damnit! SHIFT Already!" - The ATX, when trying to get up to speed AND going up a hill (no matter the size) takes its sweet-ass time shifting to the next gear. Even on tiny little hills, I swear the car will wait until I throw it into Manual mode before it shifts. Kind of like: "Oh, driver had to put into manual mode, must be time to shift."
- Apple needs to get their act together and fix the freaking Bluetooth Shuffle playback problem already! (Not a 2014 problem), just want my shuffle working!
- The "Centerpoint" option works great, but only for the driver. That's it's job, really, but that means I have to turn it off with passengers in the car if they are to really enjoy the music. The "AudioPilot" option doesn't seem to make a difference whether it's On or Off - maybe I'm not doing something right, but it doesn't change anything for me.
- The Navigation color settings for nighttime are terrible. I'll rephrase, if it's not pitch black out, or damn near close, the default color settings are NOT visible at all. All secondary options for colors are ugly. Let me pick my own colors, dammit! EDIT: I've found a way to "hack" the colors and make your own custom ones! Go here for instructions: http://forum.mazda6club.com/electri...240-diy-customizing-your-2014-navigation.html
- The center shift knob, when put into manual mode, is backwards (to me). I know that Because:Racecar the setup is how it is, but it doesn't make sense in my brain. In Manual Mode, if you want to Shift UP (IE: From 1st gear into 2nd), you press the knob DOWN. Likewise, if you want to shift DOWN (IE: From 3rd into 2nd), you press the knob UP. My brain just doesn't understand this, maybe I need to find someone with a Forza steering setup...... EDIT: After about 2 weeks of getting used to it, I like this setup a LOT. Don't let the above deter you, it's set up correctly, my brain just needed to get adjusted.
- Wait.....10,000 miles, already!? Where did the time go? Wow it's really been that many miles already.
- This will most likely be my last entry into this since at this point I've reviewed and written my opinions on just about everything that there is on this car, both appealing and not.
- 10,000 miles, and it only feels like 100. This car is brand new every time I step into it. It's brand new every time i walk away from it. The car looks, feels, and (to a point) even still smells new. Every time I walk away or see the car from a distance, it amazes me. The body lines and overall appeal of the car is unparalleled.
- The transmission, if possible, got even smoother than my last post. I don't feel shifts at all. I've gotten used to the shifting scheme and I'm more acquainted with the paddle shifters. The car shows a bit more grunt than it used to, either that or I'm forgetting what my V6 felt like - either way I enjoy driving it and the smaller engine still allows for a great drive. After 10k miles I've not once reset my Avg. MPG calculator - it's sitting comfortably at 35.5mpgs with roughly 80% highway and 20% city.
- The bluetooth seems to have (somewhat) fixed itself. I updated the TomTom software and now it actually prompts me to read SMS messages when I receive them, but it refuses to load them on the screen - odd. The shuffle playback is doing much better, but I still have to use the audio command to "Shuffle All" each time I start the car.
- Leaving this short and sweet. The car is amazing and I'd never regret purchasing it even for a second.
The car is still as solid as a rock. The most fun I have is dropping into 4th gear while cruising on the highway to quickly get around people, this thing has a surprising amount of torque when doing 60, I love it. Still nothing like the V6, but very good considering I'm getting double the gas milage.
I've noticed a slightly rough idle recently, so I'm going to check it out soon. Nothing bad, but I notice absolutely everything with my cars and like knowing what's going on.
I unfortunately hit some terrible potholes during the winter, one really bad on in particular one night when it was raining and I couldn't see anything
Roads are ridiculous to drive on after that winter we had. I think I may have damaged/loosened a control arm or something because I notice a very slight increase in rough ride coming from the front passenger side wheel. I'll check it out when I have time.
I've got a few chips in the hood, on the bumper, and even a couple on the roof
- This paint is rather thin and it would have been wise to get the paint protectant. *Sigh* but nothing a little touchup paint can't fix
But enough complaining about the minor bad things. This car is phenomenal, and I turn heads everywhere I go. I constantly have people asking me about the car, how do I like it, etc. When it's clean, it's blinding and I love it. The leather is still pristine, the interior still (relatively) flawless, accidents happen but nothing bad so far *knocks on wood* and overall I still wouldn't trade this car for anything.
With the summer tires back on and the cold starts gone, I'm up around 35.5mpgs again with 80% city driving - can't beat that. I'm still strictly using Shell gasoline, and as of February I started my 6 month cleanses. Every 6 months, I run a full tank of Shell V-Power to clean everything out. Next time I'll do it is end of July/August.
Wow, 60k miles on this car already, how the time has flown. I figure I'll keep writing in here regardless if anyone reads because I want to keep a record of my ownership of this car, if it helps even a single person.
I think I'll sum up my pros and cons briefly for this milestone.
- Until recently, I was still using the OEM Dunlop tires for summer. I upgraded to some Falkens, and even though they're a thinner 35mm sidewall on a larger 20" rim, they're MUCH quieter than the OEMs. I'm happy to say I'll never willingly buy Dunlops again unless they change their whole model.
- OEM rotors, though I rarely brake hard, were beginning to warp around 30k miles. They didn't get any worse, but didn't get any better either.
- I've got a rattle above the visor that annoys the crap out of me.
- On cold mornings, the rear window sounds like it's going to break into a thousand pieces because of how much it rattles. (Until it warms up).
- I've had a couple Mazda O-rings start to leak oil from the drain plug, no big deal, but annoying if you don't catch it.
- The paint and clear coat are perhaps the thinnest I've ever seen on a car. I strongly suggest getting OEM touch-up paint from Mazda.
- The way that rain runs down the rear fenders makes a dirty car look like it has terrible tiger stripes.
- I miss my MTX more every day.
- The sunglasses holder seems to need to be slightly deeper - some pairs don't fit at all.
- Since the update, the navigation has become usable once more, but it's still a very outdated system.
- Something about this car drives my tinnitus crazy at times. Must be a pressure thing.
- Voice-commands are useless.
- The turning radius is mediocre at best.
- Partially my fault, but my passenger-side bearing is showing a little wear. Pouring rain, late night, unfamiliar area, I hit a bad pothole and since then I've had a slight hum.
- The handling with this car is exception for a sedan. Far exceeds any Honda or Toyota counterpart.
- Acceleration like this car has for a 2.5L 4-cylinder is quite remarkable if you think about it.
- Did I mention that I'm averaging 34.5mpgs with city driving and a roof rack?
- I replaced the pads and rotors at 55k miles, but could easily have gone another 20k miles. Was shocked to see how well they hung on despite the rotors being slightly warped.
- The Bi-xenons look excellent at night, do a wonderful job lighting up the road, and the high-beams are insane. I feel bad if there's anyone within a quarter mile in front of me on a highway so I don't turn them on.
- The directional headlights didn't seem like a necessary addition, but boy do I love having them on desolate NH roads at night.
- The leather seats are super comfy and have just the right amount of support.
- The leather steering wheel is holding up well and despite someone accidentally putting a couple scratches on the bottom of mine, it's doing perfect.
- The trunk is MASSIVE. I love being able to fit so much stuff in my car, it's wonderful.
- I get looks of admiration and wonder all the time, this car stands out so much.
- The heat gets REALLY hot, and the AC gets REALLY cold.
- I haven't put my heated seats past setting 1 because I can't imaging what making it hotter would do to my clothes haha.
- Super easy oil changes. Quick access and easy to reach.
- Tap-to-pass might be my favorite thing ever.
- Combine tap-to-pass with paddle-shifters? I'm quite happy when I decide to drive a little more seriously.
- Having a gas cap that I can hang on the gas door hinge is a simple but great addition.
- Almost 3 years and 4 New England winters and my OEM windshield wipers are still streak-free! *knocks on wood*
Well, that's all I can ramble off for now that I can think of. I love this car and I hope to have it for another 10 years if she can make it that long
Well, here I am again at another mile-marker for owning this car start-to-finish. 75k miles up and down the east coast, down to South Carolina's beautiful beaches, up into the wilderness of up-state Maine, NH and Vermont, as far west as Niagara Falls, and 1.5 hours to and from work 5 days a week..... I love this car more with every second I spend in it.
The biggest "repairs" thus far have been a chattering heat shield and a very slightly wobbly radiator; beyond this, the car has been stellar.
Heads still turn everywhere I go, people always looking curiously at what (not a Honda or Toyota) just drove past them. I even caught a Maseratti owner staring this car down while we were in traffic, only to notice me watching him and quickly avert his glance. I drive as spiritedly as I need to, in and out of heavy Boston traffic each day, and I'm still getting an average of 34mpgs and almost 600 miles per tank
This car is unreal, and I don't dare think of the day I need to put it away for good - Let's hope I'm writing these into the hundreds of thousands
4 Years; 100,000 Miles:
Honestly, I purchased this car originally because I needed something to replace the gas-guzzling, oil-eating monster that my 2004 V6 Mazda6 had become. I know cars aren't investments, and I certainly know getting a new car is essentially throwing away thousands - but I didn't care because the 3rd generation Mazda 6 is just too good to pass up.
Looking back, the only thing I'd do differently is get the MTX, not the ATX GT.
I got the car while I was still commuting 132 miles per day (~40,000/year), expecting to drive it into the ground. I knew this would be my first and last brand new car, so why not use it for what it was made?
A job relocation, a new job, marriage, vacations, founding a car club and hosting events all across New England, and 4 years later: here I am.
I still turn around and look at this car every single time I get out of it. I still push it hard into corners when I need a smile on my face, and I still get excited to take it on long trips and show it off.
The Avg. MPG hasn't been reset for over 70k miles and it's stayed above 34mph the entire time. Real-world MPGs with a very heavy traffic commute are easily over 32. I can get 37+mpg any time I need to, but it's hard to not want to just cruise around in this thing.
Below are the records I've been keeping of the car. I'm sure I've missed a few things, but hopefully this helps at least one person: which is why I do it
These images are fairly large, so feel free to right-click and "open in new tab" for the full size.