Today, we got the official look and specs of the new 2018 Mazda6, which will come with a torquey turbocharged engine. Awesome! What was not so awesome was the fact that the turbocharged version will not come with a manual option. Goddammit, you guys!
I sat down with Masashi Otsuka today, who is Mazda’s Vice President of R&D and Design. According to him, the Mazda6 won’t come with a manual option because there just isn’t enough U.S.-customer demand to justify it. Mazda does believe that a turbocharged engine mated to a manual transmission is exciting, “but for the business, it is difficult.”
There is a manual diesel Mazda6 in Europe, because of course there is. There’s just more customer willingness there to drive manuals. “Everything is customer demand,” Otsuka said. (If it matters at all, you can get a Honda Accord with the turbocharged engine and a manual.)
However! It didn’t sound like the idea of a manual Mazda6 was completely out, though. “Today, it’s not available,” Otsuka told me. “But we are studying for the future. If the customers make a buzz: ‘Make a manual,’ then our management can make a decision.”
You hear that, purists? If you make enough noise, you might be able to change Mazda’s mind. And if I know purists, I also know that you are incredibly good at making noise. Especially when you are outraged.
Here’s some other stuff you can try to change Mazda’s mind about, too. Right now, an all-wheel-drive Mazda6 is not currently in the works. But, for regions that experience inclement weather, Mazda does want to offer up some options.
“The company is very much behind AWD,” a listening Mazda spokesperson chimed in. “It’s on our radar. We are listening.”
I asked about potential upcoming Mazdaspeed options. Otsuka hummed and was quiet for a second. He finally said that the current situation is “difficult.”
Really, I think it comes down to profit. If enough people convince Mazda that certain things (like an AWD Mazdaspeed6 with a manual) make financial sense, then Mazda will probably do it. We just have to make a ruckus. A loud enough ruckus.
And then perhaps not all hope will be lost.