Susan Frissell, Womenwithwheels.com
The 2016 Mazda6 I Grand Touring midsize sedan is a quiet player in this segment. Whether it is due to lack of advertising or just plain runner-up status, the Mazda6 isnâ€™t as well known. Consumers will be impressed, however, if they just step into the Mazda showroom and request a test drive.
Partial to the Mazda brand, this writer believes the Mazda6 has a lot to offer. For 2016, the sedan has a few updates, including LED lights to replace xenon lighting, revised GT trim and front/rear styling, a larger 7-inch touchscreen on the Sport models, sport mode option for all automatics, and all versions get Electronic Parking Brake, upgraded dash trim, center console and armrest.
The driverâ€™s seat has several settings which took us a little time to get used to. Stiffer than other sedan seating, the Mazda6 seating is sporty and attractive. At first startup-on a very cold morning-the 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine sounded noisy, but after kicking into gear and cruising along Chicago streets, it quieted.
Performance out of this 2.4-liter engine is adequate for this 3,200 pound sedan, but not outstanding. A six engine or turbo might make the Mazda6 a little more attractive. Competing with the likes of Kia Optima, Toyota Camry, Buick Regal-just to name a few-isnâ€™t easy, as all of the above offer a lot for the money.
The Mazda6â€™s ride is stiffer than much of its competition; offers a more â€˜athleticâ€™ stance, but when navigating bumps, potholes, is quite a bit more noticeable. This is a sedan for those who prefer a performance vehicle. Which is what the Mazda brand sells.
For those with a more refined taste, there are plenty of choices, including Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Subaru, some of which also offer other engine choices (6-cylinder, turbocharged)
The Mazda6 is available in several trim levels, including i Sport (manual and automatic), i Touring (manual, automatic) and Grand Touring (automatic only). One engine is available, Mazdaâ€™s 2.5-liter, 6-cylinder (six-speed manual or 6-speed automatic). Positives regarding the 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring include a smooth and responsive powertrain, quick acceleration, attractive, well-laid-out interior and upgraded materials.
The Mazda6 comes equipped with all the desirable standard features, even on the base manual-transmission, including 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a 60/40-split rear seat, a multi-information display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with an iPod /USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. If equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the Sport also includes a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and audio upgrades (voice commands, HD radio, Internet radio apps, text message display function and automatic emergency notification).
Of course, more equipment is added as one moves into the Touring and Grand Touring editions. On the Grand Touring model, additional equipment includes adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning system with automatic braking, automatic transmission, sunroof, upgraded 11-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio. Consumers must opt for this package if they want to add the Touring Technology package (which adds front end styling: LED head and taillights.
Our test Grand Touring sedan came equipped with the optional GT Technology package (adaptive cruise, frontal collision system, automatic braking, lane departure warning sytem, automatic high-beam control, energy capture system (i-Eloop). Also optional are rear parking sensors.
The Mazda6 offers a firmer ride than many of its competitors, but this is a sporty sedan. Front-wheel-drive, the Mazda6 also has the usual in safety: ABS, traction/stability control, plenty of airbags, all accounting for its 5-star safety rating.
Standard safety features on the Mazda 6 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Standard on all trims other than the manual-transmission Sport are a rearview camera and automatic emergency notification (in the event of a crash), while rear parking sensors are optional across the board. The Touring and Grand Touring trims additionally include blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring.
The GT Technology package for the Grand Touring also bundles a forward collision warning system (which uses radar to detect your closing distance on vehicles ahead and then provides visual and audible alerts) with a lane departure warning system.
Combined EPA rating is 32 mpg., which is commendable in a midsize sedan. As with all Mazda products, the driving feel possesses a “light-on-its-feet” character, in handling and feel. This may not be the kind of road/driving experience every consumer likes, and in fact, we were thinking maybe some of the competition might be preferable (namely, the Buick Regal). Steering, however, remains precise, serving up the sporty Mazda feel.
MSRP: $30, 195
Engine: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 184 hp., 185 lb.-ft torque, DOHC
Transmission: 6-speed sport Automatic
Length: 192 in.
Width: 72 in.
Height: 57 in.
Tires: P225/45R19 all-season
Wheels: 19-in alloy
EPA fuel economy: 28/40 mpg., avg. 32 mpg.
Curb weight: 3,250 lbs.
Warranty: 3 yr/36,000-miles; 5 yr/60,000-miles