Move over, Nissan Altima: The Mazda6 is coming, and it, too, will bring 38 MPG credentials to the party.
According to a Mazda press release, the 2014 Mazda6 will return 38 MPG on the highway when equipped with the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission. That matches the Nissan Altima’s EPA highway rating of 38 MPG with the Altima’s sole transmission, a Nissan Xtronic CVT, driving a 2.5-liter four-banger.
The Mazda6 is the second vehicle in Mazda’s lineup, after the Mazda3, to fully incorporate Mazda’s SKYACTIV approach to whole-car fuel economy tweaks including new engines, transmissions, and structural improvements that the company hopes will maintain its signature “Zoom-Zoom” driving behavior while delivering exceptional fuel economy. We’ll reserve judgment on how the Mazda6 drives until we actually, you know, get todrive it,but it does at least appear Mazda has achieved the latter of those two goals.
Thankful driving enthusiasts everywhere will order the Mazda6 with the SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission and, contrary to the way things used to be, will actually get worse highway fuel economy than the slushbox. But only just– the row-your-own model achieves 37 MPG on the highway, according to Mazda.
The Mazda6 SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 184 horsepower at a somewhat peaky 5,400 RPM and twists out a healthy 185 lb-ft of torque smack in the middle of the rev range, at 3,250 RPM. Backed by the manual transmission, mindful drivers should expect to get near the EPA estimate of 25 city/37 highway/29 combined MPG with the stick shift, or 26/38/30 with he automatic. Hoons, of course, should expect less fuel efficiency.
With the number of car companies being slammed for overstating fuel economy numbers lately (here’s looking at you, Ford and Hyundai/Kia,) we’ll be taking a wait-and-see approach to the efficiency claims, though real-world tests of the Mazda3 with the SKYACTIV treatment can hew fairly close to the sticker mileage as long as testers go easy on the loud pedal.