2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring

Susan Frissell

Refined for 2017, the Mazda6 midsize sedan gets a few interior tweaks, a significant upgrade in its safety technology and improvements in driving dynamics and comfort. This year’s trim levels include the Sport ($21,945 M, $22995, A), Touring ($24,195 M, $25,245 A), and Grand Touring ($30,695), and for those who want to hike it up a notch, Mazda offers a new top-level Grand Touring Premium Package that comes with some of the features of the redesigned 2016 CX-9 SUV’s Signature trim level.

Redesigned in 2014, the Mazda6 has increased in popularity. In 2016, the 6 received a few minor tweaks, and for 2017, the side mirrors have been slightly restyled. Sporty and stylish, the Mazda6 offers a lot for the money. Our test car came in the newly offered Machine Gray Metallic, first seen on the CX-9.

The Mazda6 among many goodies, offers sleek exterior styling, higher safety ratings, handling like a performance sedan and added safety technology. Our Mazda6 had a tendency to pull somewhat to the left; we couldn’t determine whether this was due to a low tire or perhaps the lane departure equipment.

This year’s overall design isn’t changed for 2017, but materials have been upgraded noticeably and some features added. The steering wheel design is new (also seen on the CX-9), and the Grand Touring Premium Package adds Nappa leather seats in black or off-white with piping to contrast. Sharp. In addition, new satin-finish metal trim has been added (much like the Nissan Maxima trim). One can expect a heated steering wheel and rear seats in the premium edition.

Some of the new packages for 2017 on the Mazda6 include the following:
*Steering wheel design with unique “Chidori” stitch
*Black headliner
*Bright finish on the glovebox handle
*Bright finish power seat switches
*Door sash Matte-type finish
*Unified driving position memory seat

The GT trim level gets standard Mazda Radar Cruise Control with close proximity warning, auto dimming rearview mirrors with Homelink, Bose eleven speaker sound system with Centerpoint and Audio Pilot 2, and full color heads-up Active Driving Display
Refinement and upgrades to all Mazda6 models have been added, including a weather strip with molded shape. Drivers will notice the added headliner noise absorption material, as the cabin is much quieter. Mazda has also changed the thickness of the front door glass, as well as adding noise-absorption material under the body.

Improvements in door seals has also made the 2017 Mazda6 competitive. It also lends a more solid feel to the sedan. Competition in this category includes such cars as Ford Fusion, Hundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord and VW Passat.

Front driver B-pillars have been restyled with the garnish gap decreased. This makes for better visibility. Other updates to safety include the Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring Distance Recognition, new Lane-keep Assist, and heads-up monitor, as well as Traffic-sign recognition.

Mazda’s clever Active Driving Display (or Heads Up in the past) uses a clear reflective screen that pops up from the top of the dash. It has been upgraded to full-color with higher brightness for 2017. The optional seat memory now also stores this display’s angle, brightness and content settings.

The 184-hp, naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine is the same as last year, and is teamed with the six-speed automatic or manual transmission. New G-Vectoring Control software enhances chassis performance through use of small amounts of engine torque in response to steering wheel input. This shifts the load to the front or rear, increasing grip and stability, improving ride control and limiting understeer.

According to Mazda, this system also helps the driver to better maintain the intended line in any situation. Driving in rain, snow or slippery conditions is also improved through sharper handling and stability.

As with all Mazda products, the 2017 Mazda6 has an extensive list of active safety technologies. The i-ActivSense system gets new functions for 2017, and as in years past, the Mazda6 is again an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus; ratings of ‘good’ in crash tests, and a ‘superior’ score for optional crash prevention technology.

A new Forward Sensing Camera has been combined with the milliwave radar-based system, adding pedestrian detection to the front collision avoidance system with automatic emergency braking. Also new is a Traffic Sign Recognition system that can identify the speed limit, no-entry and stop signs, and alert the driver. Pretty amazing.

There’s a lot to like in the new 2017 Mazda6For 2017, but as with all vehicles we test drive, we find a few minor annoyances. We’d like to see the Mazda6 with a more powerful engine. Are they thinking turbo in the future? The multimedia system seems a tad dated and bulky, and when driving the touch-screen is disabled.

MSRP: $30,695; total vehicle price $34,530; destination $835
Engine: 2.5-liter, SKYACTIV-G, 4-cylinder, 184 hp., 185 lb.ft. torque
Transmission: six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive, FWD
Wheelbase: 111.4 in.
Width: 72.4 in.
Length: 191.5 in.
Height: 57.1 in.
Weight: 3,305 lbs.
Fuel tank capacity: 16.4 gal.
Tires: P225/45R19 All-season
Wheels: 19-inch alloy
Warranty: Bumper-to-bumper 36 mths/36,000-miles; powertrain 60 mths/60,000-miles; Roadside Assistance, 36 mths/36,000-miles

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