The 2018 Mazda 6 has undergone a radical makeover five years into the midsize family car’s lifecycle that brings a raft of changes, including a turbocharged engine for more expensive models.
The range retains its mix of normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol and twin-turbo 2.2-litre diesel engines, with the petrol mill growing slightly in performance but patching on extra fuel-saving technology, and the diesel making a big leap in both performance and fuel economy.
But the headline act is a turbocharged version of the 2.5-litre engine that’s lifted from the larger, 2017 Wheels Car of the Year-winning Mazda CX-9 people mover. It’s the first turbo engine in the 6 in more than a decade, and transforms what was a flexible and somewhat conservative family car into something that’s now also quite fun to drive.
Read next: 2018 Mazda 6 Turbo review
The four-variant, three-engine Mazda 6 range now looks very different. The front has changed from the wing mirrors forward, closely following the design of the Mazda Vision Coupe concept unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo motor show. Down the rear, the sedan is also very different, somehow giving the illusion the car sits lower and wider than before.
Inside, there’s a huge change. The seats are new and cut to a better fit, the pop-up head-up display has gone and in its place is a projector version, and the dashboard is completely overhauled, featuring a much cleaner look and outer air vents that extend into the doors, giving the impression that the interior is much wider than it really is.
The range still kicks off with the base 6 powered by the carryover normally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, but with a 2kW and 2Nm lift to its outputs to 140kW/252Nm.
The front of this model is now fitted with active shutters in the bumper that close off and push airflow around the car when cooling isn’t needed, and cylinder deactivation, saving on fuel use.
With that, the base Mazda 6 will now use 7.0L/100km – up 0.4L/100km compared with the previous model – on the combined cycle as Mazda makes the switch to using fuel numbers that more accurately reflect what happens on the road, and not in the lab.
All versions come with the carryover six-speed automatic.
Mazda has also made significant changes to the amount of noise that filters inside the Mazda 6’s cabin – a black mark against the previous generation of the midsize family car – and also to the way it drives - you can read about that here.
The entry-level Sport, fitted with the atmo 2.5-litre engine, remains at $32,490 – the same price as the outgoing model. Standard kit runs to:
- 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres
- Larger chrome exhaust tips
- LED headlamps and tail-lights
- Body-coloured power-adjust mirrors with
heating and folding functions
- Power windows
Read next: 2018 Mazda CX-5 pricing and features
- Two-speed rain-sensing wipers
- 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with USB connection, satellite navigation, digital radio, internet radio integration and six-speaker audio
- Dual-zone air-conditioning including two rear-seat vents
- Electric parking brake with an auto-hold function
- Cloth seats with height adjustment (driver and passenger), lumbar support adjustment (driver) and seatback pockets
- Leather gear shifter and steering wheel
- Paddle shifters
- Rear seats with a 60/40 split fold backrest and twin USB charging ports in the armrest
- Keyless push-button engine start
Standard safety other than the six airbags includes:
- Blind spot monitoring
- Driver fatigue warning
- Automatic high beam control
- Hill launch assist
- An intelligent speed assist system that warns when you’re exceeding the speed limit
- Lane departure warning including a lane-keeping assist system
- Adaptive cruise control that works all the way up to a complete stop
- Reversing camera with rear parking sensors and cross traffic alert
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Low-speed forward and reverse automatic emergency braking
- Traffic sign recognition
The Sport also comes as a $1300 more expensive wagon that, unusually, has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the sedan version. It adds a rear wiper, load bay cover, cargo net, a rear lip spoiler and roof rails over the sedan.
The $36,690 Touring comes with either the Sport’s 2.5-litre engine or a 140kW/450Nm twin-turbo 2.2-litre diesel engine that adds $3000 to the price, but cuts official combined fuel use to just 5.6L/100km. Standard gear over and above the Sport includes:
- LED daytime running lamps
- Black leather trim and front seats with a two-position memory function (driver), six-way power adjustment (passenger) and 10-way power adjustment (driver)
- An 11-speaker 231-watt Bose sound system with 11 speakers
- Front parking sensors
- Keyless entry
- Heated side mirrors
Read next: Mazda 6 MPS: Sweet Dream
The $43,990 GT is the first variant to introduce the new turbocharged petrol four-cylinder as an optional powerplant to the diesel. It represents a $1300 rise over the former entry price to the model grade, but you do get a significantly richer 170kW and 420Nm of performance. Over the Touring, it brings:
- 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/45 tyres
- Black or white leather trim
- Rear heated seats
- Adaptive headlights
The range-topping variant is the Atenza, available with either the turbo petrol or diesel engine and priced from $47,690. It gets a markedly different-styled overhead console, but also adds over the GT:
- White or walnut brown nappa leather trim with synthetic suede dash and door trim
- Wood door and dashboard trim inserts
- Adaptive LED headlights
- Cooled front seats, a Mazda first
- Surround-view camera
- 7.0-inch touchscreen
- LED ambience lighting
- Frameless rear-view mirror
All variants come with the $1300-extra wagon option.
2018 Mazda 6 pricing
- 6 Sport sedan 2.5L petrol - $32,490
- 6 Sport wagon 2.5L petrol - $33,790
- 6 Touring sedan 2.5L petrol - $36,690
- 6 Touring sedan 2.2L diesel - $39,690
- 6 Touring wagon 2.5L petrol - $37,990
- 6 Touring wagon 2.2L diesel - $40,990
- 6 sedan GT 2.5L turbo petrol - $43,990
- 6 sedan GT 2.2L diesel - $45,090
- 6 wagon GT 2.5L turbo petrol - $45,290
- 6 wagon GT 2.2L diesel - $46,390
- 6 Atenza sedan 2.5L turbo petrol - $47,690
- 6 Atenza sedan 2.2L diesel - $48,790
- 6 Atenza wagon 2.5L turbo petrol - $48,990
- 6 Atenza wagon 2.2L diesel - $50,090