Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

Test Drive: 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

I kick off the 2016 car review season with the Mazda 6, the flagship sedan of the Mazda lineup.  My review car is the Grand Touring package, which is the top-of-the-line.

Let’s start under the hood where you’ll find the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that is hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.  Together, they produce 184-horses in a front-wheel drive configuration.  For the few of you who want a manual transmission in a midsize car, the Mazda 6 offers it, although I doubt many of the dealers will stock them, except for loss leaders in their advertising.

The Mazda 6 is redesigned for this year, with a new front-end look that isn’t overly noticeable, but I found the Mazda 6 to be attractive in years past.  The big story for 2016 is the changes to the interior.  It is much cleaner than the 2015 model, with an electric parking brake that replaces the ugly pull handle.  It has a 7” color screen mounted high in the dash, versus down lower. This makes it easier to view while still watching the road.  Everything runs from the Mazda Connect system, near the gearshift.  It is reminiscent of the BMW I-Drive system, except easier to operate.  There is a small learning curve to Mazda Connect, but it is not overbearing.

I admit that I am fairly color-blind, so I am not sure what color my tester is.  Officially, it is Titanium Flash Mica, which is either gray or brown, but it has white leather seats that are heated and very comfortable.  The seats are a very nice upgrade for 2016, with stitching galore and a lot of front seat room.  The back seat has good legroom, but headroom is limited due to the sloping roofline.  Trunk space is more than ample.

Standard equipment abounds in this car, including 19” wheels, navigation system, rear spoiler, dual power front seats in leather, Bluetooth, rearview camera, paddle shifters, power moon roof, LED lighting, Bose stereo, folding rear seat, and much more.

The only option on this car is the GT Technology package.  For $2100, you get adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam headlamps, lane departure warning, active grill shutters, and blind spot monitoring.

The 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring is an outwardly pretty car that many remarked on.  A lot of people were very surprised in fact, that it is a Mazda.  Due to Sky Activ technology, the Mazda 6 gets exceptional fuel economy for a car this size.  40 MPG highway is very good these days in a larger midsize car.

While there is a lot to love about the new Mazda 6, there were some things that kept me from giving it a top rating.  I love the fuel economy, but the car seemed to strain when you really get on it.  It just feels a little underpowered.  In fact, I am surprised Mazda isn’t offering a turbocharged engine, which would be perfect to get it up another 50-horses or so without sacrificing the fuel mileage.

This car has a little more road noise than I like in a car, and you feel more bumps in the road than I expected, probably due to the weight reduction for 2016.  There are some incredible cars in the same segment like Camry, Accord, Fusion, and Altima.  The new 6 is much improved, but I don’t think they are quite there yet.

  • What I liked most: The new interior and fuel economy.
  • What I would change:  Bolt me a turbo on this baby!
  • MSRP: Base price $30,195.  As equipped $33,395.
  • Fuel Economy: 28 City/40 highway/32 combined.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 2400 miles.
  • Weight:  3232 Pounds.
  • Length-Width-Height: 191.5” long/72.4” wide/57.1” High.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity:  16.4 gallons
  • Towing Capacity: N/A
  • 2015 Mazda 6 in a few words:  Much improved, still a ways to go.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
  • Car Pro Rating:  3 1/2 out of 5 Stars
  • Dealers:  We have great Mazda dealers in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Sacramento.
  • Manufacturer’s website:  Mazda
Photo Credit: Mazda