LA Auto Show: 2018 Mazda6 image

The Japanese automaker – known for its interesting and sharp designs – is going down a treacherous path, which has to do with people and possibly designers not being able to recognize the new, upgraded model from the outgoing version.

Mazda indeed says the 2018 Mazda6 is re-engineered – and that has to do with the internal components, usually – but we would have loved a bit more individualization from the large sedan, which now adopts the front fascia cues seen on the refreshed Mazda CX-5 crossover. On the other hand, for the American market at least, the stylish sedan is gaining a much-needed new engine option – the new SKYACTIV-G 2.5 T engine. The turbo mill arrives with 250 horsepower (186 kW) and a full 310 lb-ft. (420 Nm) of torque, complete with the Dynamic Pressure Turbo, which makes use of a trick (smaller inlet for low rpm and bigger opening for higher revs) to deliver quicker boost. The naturally aspirated version remains at 184 hp but has internal modifications for better efficiency along with cylinder deactivation, which includes “imperceptible switchover.”

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On the other hand, the Mazda6’s interior is all but new, the one thing remaining the same being the steering wheel. The dashboard meanwhile has been thoroughly redesigned, with an emphasis on the wide aspect of the design – and also on the premium feel. For example, the top Signature trim arrives with Sen wood, Nappa leather, and UltraSuede NU for the doors, seats, and dash. The front seats have also been redesigned and now feature a ventilation function. On the technology side, Mazda introduces a 360-degree view function, an 8-inch Mazda Connect infotainment display, full-speed radar cruise control with stop-and-go, a head-up display, and a configurable 7-inch TFT instrument cluster display on higher specification models.

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The exterior modifications include a transition to the new grille design, standard LED lights, a new Soul Red Crystal finish as well as fresh 17-inch and 19-inch wheel options. The engineers also worked on the rest of the mechanicals, not just the engines – Mazda6 gains some suspension modifications, a rigid-mounted steering rack, while the standard six-speed manual is only offered on the naturally aspirated model, the turbo is exclusive to a six-speed automatic transmission.