Extended Ride Review: 2018 Mazda6 Week 2
We’re taking a look at areas where the Mazda6 can improve or simply up its game.
We’ve been spending a few weeks with the 2018 Mazda6 to get a fuller feel for the vehicle. [Click here to read the first installment] This week, we’re taking a look at areas where the Mazda6 can improve or simply up its game.
Automotive journalists generally have one week to review a vehicle. While it is enough time to evaluate a new release, it can sometimes be tough to separate “bad design” with something you would get used to if you owned it.
For example, I may not initially like the layout of the steering wheel controls. The question I always ask myself is, “Would I learn the ins of outs of this if I owned it?” If the answer is yes, then I back down and evaluate within that context.
The problem is, I’m having a hard time figuring out the answer to that question when it comes to the Mazda6’s infotainment system. This is the same layout and system used in other Mazda vehicles, so I’m quite familiar with it.
It uses a central dial below the gear shift to control screen options. I’ve never liked this layout on any vehicle. It splits your attention, now forcing you to know where the controls are below the shifter and additional controls on the dash. Yes, you can definitely learn it and have it become second nature if you’re an owner, but after multiple weeks of driving the Mazda6 I’m convinced this is not the best option.
Additionally, it really makes you work to get what you want. I spend a lot of time on the road and like having all my entertainment options easily accessible so I can switch between podcasts, Spotify and satellite radio safely.
Mazda buries your tagged radio stations on a separate screen, giving you one extra step to save them. A small detail, but quite frustrating. Also, they haven’t incorporated Android Auto/Apple Carplay—and while they plan to add both, this should be available on any vehicle with this price tag and stature—making it nearly impossible to safely integrate options on your smartphone.
The B-pillar in the Mazda6 is right in your face.
I thought it might only be a problem for me and other drivers who are tall and have the seat positioned as far back as possible. But, my wife who positions the driver’s seat much closer than I do, also made the same comment. The B-pillar was right in her face whenever she needed to look the driver’s side of the vehicle.
This is a fairly minor issue, as many vehicles have this problem and a simple head duck forwards or back will give you the view you need. But, it’s still more pronounced that in other models I’ve driven recently.
2018 Mazda6—Backup Camera
It feels weird that this is an actual point, but the backup camera on the Mazda6 is a little…outdated. Well, it looks outdated. The picture quality is poor, to the point that it is noticeable. Maybe other automakers have upped their camera game so much that they’ve outpaced Mazda, but regardless this shouldn’t be a discernible issue at this stage and trim.
Next week we’ll take a look at the highlights of the 2018 Mazda6.
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