The Mazda6 sedan has provided an affordable option for families and commuters alike since 2002. This mid-sized line has become ubiquitous among rental car fleets due to their comfort, fuel economy and affordability. Mazda has not taken the vehicle’s popularity for granted based on its presentation at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. A third-generation Mazda6 with myriad engine, transmission and trim options was shown for the first time to the general public. The automaker noted that a combination of the SKYACTIV power train, regenerative braking and start/stop technology could lead to fuel economy up to 60 miles per gallon.
An important characteristic of the newest Mazda6 is an abundance of choices for potential buyers. Mazda will offer this model as a wagon or sedan similar to previous generations. Buyers can choose between two gasoline and three diesel engines with a broad spectrum of outputs. The Mazda6 can also be customized with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions to accommodate almost any driver. Mazda has expanded the options menu beyond exterior color and interior trim to reach consumers more interested in performance than style.
Mazda focused heavily on innovative technologies like i-ELOOP and i-stop when presenting the Mazda6. This model features intelligent Energy Loop (i-ELOOP), which uses an electric double-layer capacitor that quickly charges while gathering energy from the brakes. Engineers designing i-ELOOP realized that brake regeneration must be sped up to anticipate average deceleration periods of less than ten seconds. The Mazda6 also incorporates i-stop technology that shuts down the engine at full stops. This system uses power gathered by i-ELOOP to restart the engine, thus leaving the battery pack for range extension. A symbiosis between i-ELOOP and i-stop provides a blueprint for other automakers to achieve higher fuel economy.
The Mazda6 would crush the competition among mid-size sedans with an estimated 60 MPG. Mazda also estimates that the model could achieve carbon emissions as low as 104 g/km. This version of the Mazda6 uses ultra-high tensile steel rather than traditional steel to reduce curb weight without sacrificing safety. Dealers throughout Europe can promote the model’s gas engines as compliant with Euro 5 emissions standards while diesel engines achieve Euro 6 levels. Mazda seems to have achieved a desirable intersection of fuel economy, emissions and vehicle performance without drastically increasing prices.
Retooled models like the Mazda6 sound great for consumers viewing fuel economy as the most important metric for new vehicles. Mazda has not been mistaken in recent years for an automaker on the cutting edge of green vehicle technology. The next-generation Mazda6 doesn’t look much different from past versions but significantly reduces fuel costs for drivers. The bottom line is that the Mazda6 still creates demand for fossil fuels even if that demand is a trickle rather than a flood. The 2012 Paris Motor Show featured a cavalcade of amazing prototypes as well as production models moving away from dependency on gas or diesel. The Mazda6 is impressive based on increasingly outdated lenses for assessing vehicle performance but must take leaps rather than steps to keep up with more creative competitors.