The 2014 Mazda6 is evolutionary from the 2013 model, featuring the latest in the company’s KODO design language which is far more elegant and sophisticated then what we have seen in past years.

Up front is a sculpted bar that wraps around below the grille and up into the jeweled headlamps. Crisp lines flow front to back into a well done rear quarter. It seems no matter which angle you approach the Mazda6 it just always looks well done.

The Soul Red metallic paint complimented the satin finish 19” wheels which do well to hide brake dust. The overall presentation has an interplay of sportiness and elegance which makes this car look at home at both at the autocross course as well as the country club.

We had a range topping Grand Touring model which means the cabin had striking two tone almond and charcoal leather with red accent stitching. This is a remarkably bold combination given many cars in this arena tend to be far more conservative.

The attention to details and the focus on the driver is evident in the layout of the cockpit and controls. Mazda has left the complicated touch screen menus to its competition, offering up an easy to use infotainment center with an intuitive console knob for additional control.

The HVAC center stack is easy to use, keeping the traditional three-knob layout that most people can easily pick up, but having full climate control functionality. A back-up camera is included too, adding extra confidence when backing up.

The seating position is low, giving the Mazda6 a very sports car like aura. Steering and seating adjustments made it easy to find your sweet spot, and the memory settings are a nice addition for families with a variety of driver sizes.

Overall, this is one of the nicest cabins of any car in the mid-size sedan segment in terms of design that is both rewarding to look at as well as spend time in. Feature content is not only competitive, but perhaps on the winning side of it.

The 184 horsepower SkyActive 2.5 liter four-cylinder offers up adequate power. While a bit buzzy, the high compression direct injected engine does give plenty of revving spirit through its six-speed automatic transmission. I do admit I miss the smooth V6 that once was offered in the Mazda6

For 2014 Mazda6 is rated at 26 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and a healthy 30 mpg combined. In our real world testing we saw an average of 29 mpg combined, even with our driving weighted toward the mountains roads. Not bad at all.

Handling is of course right out of the Zoom Zoom playbook. The electronically assisted power steering has better feel an weight than I expected on the windy roads. Its suspension offers up a finely toned stacato feedback at all times.

Roll stiffness in corners is firm enough that you never feel surprised entering a curve at a good clip. The ride is firm and sharp, only crashing through to your reality when the pavement gets rough. On the freeways and around town, the Mazda6 is plenty cush however.

Bottom line is that the Mazda6 offers up the sportiest handling feel and character available from any of the cars in its class, perhaps only closely followed by the Ford Fusion.

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