[quote_box_right]Up: Looks amazing, fun to feel that “pop” when you floor it.

Down: No “Speed” version available…yet.

Neutral: One of the best looking and most efficient sedans on the road today.[/quote_box_right]After seeing that awesome commercial where Dick Fosbury reinvents the high jump with the ol’ “Fosbury Flop”, it’s hard not to get excited about the 2014 Mazda6. I’ll admit I got a little adrenaline rush after seeing the ad and if the Mazda6 is anywhere near as fun as jumping backwards over a pole, then it will be a winner in my book.

I did a tiny bit of research on my smartphone before leaving for the test drive and noticed that all 5 trims of the Mazda6 come with the exact same engine and SKYACTIV layouts. This news initially got me disgruntled because I wouldn’t be driving a powerhouse sedan with way too much horsepower for it’s own good. But after I got to thinking, that might not be such a bad thing. Having the same engine and suspension across all platforms means customers not breaking the bank to get the performance they want/deserve and all they have to worry about is what extra features they want.

When I pulled into the Billion Mazda parking lot, I found my Marvel Comic Book/Mazda Car expert buddy, Rich Turcar. We both climbed in the car and I immediately had to ask him, “So what is SKYACTIV?”. No, it’s not the company where all the robots came to life and destroyed humanity. It’s the new technology that Mazda has put into their cars and engines to squeeze out more power and fuel efficiency. 38 mpg fuel efficiency to be exact.

*If you really want the long and boring definition, head here: Wikipedia on SKYACTIV

Now I was fortunate to drive the fully loaded version which had all sorts of bells and whistles. The Grand Touring edition had power everything, rear backup camera, blind-spot assist, radar cruise control, two-zone climate control, Bose speaker system, and heck, even the seats were designed to enhance acoustics within the cabin! The navigation system used Tom-Tom software and had real time traffic updates which was very easy to use. It was easy to tell while driving that the whole car was designed to be driver-centric and easy to use.

One thing that I really enjoyed about driving this car was that it had a stiffer suspension so the driver can really feel the road when turning. And, Rich informed me, the Mazda6 has a longer wheelbase so you can feel the car dealing with the bumps in the road and not your back. The throttle was also very responsive in the city and on the highway. You couldn’t even feel the gear changes in the automatic gearbox and when you put your foot down there’s sort of a “pop” under the gas pedal and the car gives you instant power!

For the price, this car is one of the best values in its class. Not only does Mazda’s completely redesigned 6 look fantastic, but you can get the same driving experience with the $20,000 model as you can with the $30,000 model. It really comes down to what features you want and the 2014 Mazda6 has an option for any sized pocket. This car is quick, refined, efficient, and is sure to turn heads wherever you go.