Mazda6 combines flair and fuel-efficiency


This is the third edition of the car, and promises to be the best. The original Mazda6 was on the small side compared to others in the segment. The next one was big but still didn't get noticed that much.

For generation three, the vehicle's clean-sheet design looks crisp and modern and the size is just right. But the field of cars jockeying for your mid-size sedan money is almost staggering.

There are lots of choices including the Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion, the Chevy Malibu, the Toyota Camry, the Kia Optima and the Hyundai Sonata.

What Mazda offers is a bit more of a sport sedan in nature. Sure, the 2014 Mazda6 works fine as a day-to-day commuter, but with a bit of handling flair that most four-doors in the segment lack.

The sporty theme carries on inside, with a thick steering wheel in front of a stylish instrument cluster and safety options abound, including blind spot assist. Plus the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named it a top safety pick.

Like many of its competitors in the segment, you can't get a V-6 engine in the new 2014 Mazda6. Fuel economy is important to everyone these days including the government but leave it to Mazda to come up with an interesting engine option.

This summer, Mazda will be the first Asian brand to offer a diesel engine in the U.S. in the modern era. It'll also be the only diesel in the mid-size sedan category, period. No figures have been released yet, but it should offer V-6 torque with hybrid-like fuel economy.

The gasoline engine available right now is no slouch. however. Mazda's Skyactiv technology system coaxes every bit of efficiency out of each drop of gas, to the tune of 26 MPG city and 37 MPG highway in official EPA testing with the automatic transmission.

Buyers of mid-size sedans are looking for fuel economy these days, along with safety, comfort and maybe a bit of style.

The new Mazda6 comes up in the plus column in all those categories. It just needs to get noticed in that crowded arena of mid-sizers.

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