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2017 vs. 2018 Mazda6: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill August 2018
  • The 2018 Mazda6 receives a significant refresh for 2018.

  • The 2018 models introduce an available turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

  • A 360-degree camera and ventilated seats are among the new features available for 2018.

Since its introduction for the 2014 model year, the third-generation Mazda6 has felt a cut above the competition. The doors feel solid and robust, the cabin is quiet and the interior materials exceed the level of quality you'd expect from a midsize sedan. Since its debut five model years ago, the Mazda6 has been updated twice, with each refresh moving the vehicle further upmarket. The most recent refresh has taken place for the 2018 model year and has taken the Mazda6 to new heights. Below, we'll discuss the major changes that have come about for 2018.

The 2018 Mazda6 is available in five trim levels; Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature. Grand Touring Reserve and Signature are new additions for 2018.

Exterior

Since its debut, the Mazda6 has always worn a stylish, flowing exterior design. For 2018, this is updated with a new front fascia encompassing a larger, lower front grille similar to the design on the new CX-5. Front and rear parking sensors along with a 360-degree camera system are available for the first time. Additionally, all models now come with standard LED headlights that have integrated fog lights, and redesigned tail lights.

New 19-inch and 17-in wheel designs are also offered, and the Mazda6 is offered in Mazda's striking Soul Red Crystal exterior color for the first time.

Interior

The 2018 Mazda6 has been updated considerably on the inside as well. Now offered alongside the light gray "Parchment" Nappa leather interior is a brown "Chestnut" option. The Mazda6's dashboard has also been redesigned. The 2018 Mazda6 offers a reconfigured center stack and reshaped HVAC vents. Everything has been made slimmer and squintier, and the vents and controls are now separated by a long, suede-wrapped panel. The HVAC vents have been moved to directly below the infotainment screen, while the redesigned HVAC controls are positioned lower on the center stack. The center console and steering wheel remain the same, save for new stitching on leather-wrapped wheels.

The door panels have been redesigned as well, incorporating a continuation of the horizontal suede piece featured on the dashboard. The door handles are also new, eschewing the curved design used on 2017 models for a unique straight design that blends in with the vehicle's new aluminum-look interior trim.

Mechanicals

The big news with the 2018 Mazda6 is a newly available 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque with premium fuel, available on Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models. The new turbo earns 23 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg overall, on par with the competition. Previously, the Mazda6's only available engine was a 187 hp naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, which is still standard on lower-end models. The base engine gets the Mazda6 from 0-to-60 mph in a leisurely 7.9 seconds, while the new turbo reduces this time to 6.4 seconds.

Additionally, the Mazda6 has been refined relative to previous models. Mazda says that panel gaps have been improved, thicker floor panels are used, softer tires reduce road noise, and the suspension has been re-tuned in the interest of further improving road noise and ride quality. On the inside, thicker front window glass is used on Touring models and up, additional vibration reducing materials have been introduced and carpeting has been extended to additional areas in the interest of sound deadening.

Features

Feature content between the 2017 and 2018 Mazda6 has largely remained the same, save for a few things. A reconfigurable 7-in screen now resides in the center of the gauge cluster. Other additions to the Mazda6 for 2018 include a 360-degree surround view monitor, a frameless rearview mirror and a redesigned heads up display. Perhaps the most exciting addition, though, is available ventilated front seats, a life-changing feature.

Infotainment

The Mazda6 gets a tweaked infotainment system with a higher-quality screen for 2018, but the one major addition is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to become available in September 2018 as a dealer-installed update, a long-awaited addition that will add a lot of functionality to Mazda's already competent dial-operated infotainment system.

Safety

Like the 2017 model, the 2018 Mazda6 scores great across the board in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Crash Testing, earning it a Top Safety Pick designation for 2018.

Both the 2017 and 2018 Mazda6 offer a comprehensive suite of driver assistance safety features. Carrying over from 2017 are available adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and rear parking sensors. Additionally, the 2018 Mazda6 adds front parking sensors and a stop-and-go function for its radar cruise control for low-speed driving. Finally, for 2018, automated emergency braking and blind spot monitoring have been made standard.

Conclusions

While the 2017 Mazda6 was great, the 2018 Mazda6 is even better. A few features have been added for 2018, but the main differences are in the intangibles, and things like a refreshed exterior, a redesigned dashboard and gauge cluster, overall refinement and that new, more potent turbocharged engine help the 2018 Mazda6 to reach a new level of luxury. Fully loaded, the refreshed 2018 Mazda6 rings in at right around $36,000, presenting an excellent overall value. For all of these reasons, the Mazda6 is one of our favorite midsize sedans available today.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 vs. 2018 Mazda6: What's the Difference? - Autotrader