What the redesigned 2014 Mazda 6 sedan could look like. The new 6 will debut at this fall’s Paris auto show, and it will be redesigned from the ground up with all of Mazda’s lightweight, efficiency-boosting Skyactiv technologies baked in. The 2014 iteration of the 6 will return to a global-market strategy”meaning it will produce the same-size car for all markets, as it did with the first-generation car. Expect the new 6 to fall somewhere between the current-generation’s U.S.-spec and slightly shorter and narrower European versions.
The current Mazda 6 is reasonably fun to drive and pretty interesting to look at, but with ever-tightening fuel-economy standards looming it will need to get more efficient. Enter Mazda’s Skyactiv chassis and engine tech, which can be viewed in full effect on the new CX-5 crossover.
Like the CX-5, the next-gen Mazda 6 will get a lightweight-yet-strong structure. The cherry on top of the redesigned 6 will be its even-sexier sheetmetal, which will draw inspiration from last year’s Takeri concept. Referred to as Kodo, the new design language already has debuted on the CX-5. Considering how closely that model resembled the Minagi concept that presaged it, we expect the new 6 will ape the Takeri. As you can see in the rendering above, we figure production changes largely will be limited to door handles, a more-realistically shaped light-catching surface just above the rocker panel, and a smaller grille than the Takeri’s.
With its no-nonsense design and rear, plastic-wrapped kart tires, the High Five trike is the lightest and driftiest of the bunch, intended more for speed than style. The polyethylene sleeves, at $40 a pair, are cheaper and easier to replace than a set of tires, and they allowed oversteer on our commercial-grade Berber, yielding the best lap time. The trike also will drift on pavement, of course, and we recommend the optional front disc brake for anyone intent on serious downhill speed, lest you wipe out and get a boo-boo. This one had a cool paint job with number 5s ghosted into the green background, and, yes, that’s bed-liner material on the fiberglass seat.
The cushy yellow seat, stone-grinding plastic rear wheels, and red frame recall the original Big Wheel, while the 26-inch front tire embiggens the classic proportions. This one also carries over the archetypal wheel flop associated with a crazy head-tube angle, so keep the bars straight when you stop or you’ll suffer a thigh stab from a betassled, flamed grip. Whoever had the idea for the seat-mounted cup holder was really thinking; it’s a welcome adult-oriented addition. Those fat plastic wheels facilitate nostalgic rear-end slides, and the bar-mounted bell promises to minimize human-trike collisions. That plan worked, when we remembered to ring it.
Mazda has already revealed that the 2014 6 will get a Skyactiv engine, along with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic Skyactiv transmissions. A Skyactiv-D diesel engine is a possibility for the next Mazda 6, but Mazda hasn’t confirmed such an option will be available. The oil-burner is expected to make its way to our shores sometime this year in a CX-5. The outgoing 6’s 272-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 won’t survive the redesign, although we do expect a hybrid version to combat the gas-electric offerings of the 6’s competitors.
Look for the 2014 Mazda 6 sometime next year following its auto-show debut in Paris. It’s too early to speculate on pricing, but given the cutthroat nature of the mid-size sedan segment, don’t expect the next-gen 6’s sticker to move too far from the current car’s $21,520 base price.