MAZDA6
Midsized...Far from the Middle.
by AMOS KWON



The war of midsize family sedans is brutal, with combatants from the likes of Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan and GM upping their game year after year. Mazda’s departure from the Ford brand enabled it to embark on a new chapter in its quest for the section title. Though nothing was technically wrong with the 2012 Mazda6, it wasn’t the standout for which we’d hoped. The Mazda6, however, has made mincemeat of the competition through its combination of head-turning looks, a capacious cabin and the best driving dynamics in the challenging segment. 


Introduced in 2013 as a 2014 model, the new Mazda6 moves toward a much more elegant but powerful aesthetic with the Kodo (Soul of Motion) design, first seen in the Shinari Concept at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. Its execution in the Mazda6 is nothing short of excellent. From tip to tail, the 6 is both fluid and muscular. Mazda’s chief designer, Akira Tamatani, expressed it best when he described the Mazda6 as a crouched animal ready to spring into action. 




CONTINUES BELOW 




That design is backed by the kind of driving excitement worthy of a sports car. The 6 displays linear steering, progressive brake pedal feel and peppy acceleration via its 184 horsepower direct-inject 16-valve 2.5-liter SkyActiv gasoline engine. Mazda’s so committed to the driving experience that they offer their excellent Miata-inspired 6-speed manual transmission in two out of three trim levels. 


The cabin is all about driving rather than distractions, and in an age of overwrought interiors the minimalist bent is more than welcome. There's a clean fluidity in both handsome seats that provide good bostering during spirited driving and a cockpit layout that lends to driver focus through triple gauges and great seating position. Room is aplenty for driver and passengers, and though this sporty sedan looks lean, its trunk space is positively voluminous. The 2014 Mazda6 seems to do quite a few things incredibly well, all the while betraying the family car look and providing an uncompromised driving experience.


$20,990+, mazda.com



BEST HOT HATCHBACKS
BEST PERFORMANCE SUVS
BEST TRACK CARS
THE GP100 MOTORING INDUCTEES

STATEMENT

Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope. 


The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.



METHODOLOGY


The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.


THE CATEGORIES


Motoring   Watches   Style   Technology   Sports   Outdoors   Home   Spirits

WRITERS


Jeremy Berger

Ben Bowers
Alex Bracetti
Nick Caruso
Ed Estlow
Jon Gaffney
Jonathan Gallegos
K.B. Gould
Bradley Hasemeyer
Jason Heaton
Mike Henson
Amos Kwon
Matt Neundorf
Scott Packard
Austin Parker
Henry Phillips
Peter Saltsman
Chris Wright
Eric Yang


CREDITS

Produced by Ben Bowers, Chris Wright, Eric Yang
Designed by Eric Yang
Edited by Chris Wright
Photography by Henry Phillips, Eric Yang
Special Thanks to Braun, Scroll Kit and Say Media 

RESOURCES

Inquiries, Corrections  support@gearpatrol.com
2014 Submissions  100@gearpatrol.com