2016 MAZDA 6 IMPROVES ON AWARD WINNING WAYS
By Tom Crosby
When Mazda produced the third generation Mazda 6 two years ago it walked away with nearly every meaningful automotive award for design, style, performance and safety.
The 2016 Mazda 6, the company’s flagship midsize sedan, has added tweaks and touches that continue to make it an attractive contender – including price – within its market segment.
We test-drove the Mazda 6 i Grand Touring, the top-of-the-line trim above the Sport and Touring models, and after more than 1,400 miles behind the wheel it was easy to understand its bevy of awards.
Our only significant option was a $2,180 GT Technology Package that every buyer should want. It added adaptive cruise control, land departure warning, smart brake support and automatic on/off high beams – all safety features – and i-ELOOP regenerative braking system that cuts gasoline consumption letting us average 38 mpg with mostly highway driving.
The regenerative function reduces the engine’s need to burn extra fuel for electricity to power headlights, climate control, audio, etc. when the engine seamlessly shuts off at a stoplight. Mazda’s unique SKYACTIVE-G engine with low-end torque and a 1-14 compression ratio also reduces mpg.
Improvements include expanding the 5.8-inch dashboard screen to an ipad-like 7-inches and creating a slimmer center console. A plastic shield pops up beyond the steering wheel displaying driving speed, speed limit, cruise setting, lane alert and adaptive cruise distance from vehicles in front.
Distracting at first, it became helpful once accustomed to it. A shelf beneath the dashboard with EV outlet has room for a cell phone. Voice recognition for a plethora of navigation and interior feature commands is excellent and the new instrument panel’s gauges are legible and controls/dashboard touch-screen easily reachable if you spurn voice commands.
Comfortable bucket seats are cloaked in parchment leather and bright aluminum trim adds to interior style. A sport mode allows zestier “Zoom Zoom” driving. Already praised for its sleek “Kodo” Soul of Motion design, this year’s front bumper and grill have been subtly redesigned and LED lighting added for fog and headlights.
Upgraded Mazda Connect, operated via a knob, has screen icons with voluminous information that should be digested while stopped. The ride produces some minor bounce over road imperfections; handling is responsive and crisp. An electronic brake has been added. Occupant seating space is comfortable in all position. There is still above average road and tire noise. A spacious trunk contains a spare tire.
LIKES: Mileage, performance, handling, profile, interior style, space
DISLIKES: Tire, road noise
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best values in a highly competitive segment
- Base price w/destination fee $30,015 ($33,395 as tested)
- Curb weight 3,250 lbs.
- Wheelbase 111.4 inches
- Length 191.5 inches
- Width 72.4 inches
- Engine specs 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, SKYACTIV-G
- Horsepower 184 hp at 5,700 rpm
- Torque 185 ft-lbs at 3,250 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed automatic
- EPA Rating 28 mpg city and 40 mpg hwy
- Range 16.4-gallon tank, regular
- Performance 0-60 in just over 7 seconds