2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring Sedan
By Harold Osmer
Do they still say Zoom-zoom in Mazda land? They very well could with the 2016 Mazda6.
Mazda's SKYACTIV approach to design entails development of all three main automotive components —chassis, engine, transmission— with each other in mind. SKYACTIV, as opposed to an off-the-shelf plan wherein various parts are brought together to create a new product, results in a finished vehicle where everything works as a unit from the very beginning. This translates into a mid-size sedan worth driving.
The 2016 Mazda6 boasts a new grill, revised headlight arrangement, and reshaped turn signals over the previous year. The end product is a strikingly modern, sporty design. Our test car has the Grand Touring package, which brings along 19-inch wheels and low-profile P225/45R19 tires adding to the sportiness. Our Mazda6 iGT settles in at $33,450, right in line with other cars in this market segment.
This is a midsized sedan with legitimate room for four adults. Interior appointments are well kept. Switches are where they ought to be, tactile responses are what they should be, and the fit-and-finish is quite nice. It wasn't too long ago that interior features of this level were found only on large luxury sedans. 'Personal bugaboo kudos' to Mazda for including all-up/down One-Touch window controls. Three extra seconds to roll up a window will not ruin my life, but may well be the end of me.
Our Mazda6 was right at home driving around Westlake Village and through Hidden Valley. The undulating terrain passed effortlessly by as our transmission shifted to suit the road demands instead of some random EPA/MPG target. Selecting Sport mode brings slightly more aggressive shifts, but the standard setting is adequate for getting around town. Going manual with paddle shifters results in stimulating drives along our favorite twisty routes.
Mazda now offers iLoop technology to increase electrical efficiency. Basic electrical operations such as the radio and lights are handled by battery power as opposed to being directly supplied from the alternator. This helps reduce engine drag while increasing alternator lifespan. iLoop comes into play by utilizing regenerative energy to recharge the battery. This seamless system coexists with the standard alternator arrangement.
We are in the nascent stages of self-driving cars. To this end, our test car has Smart City Brake Support, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, backup camera, rain sensing windshield wipers, automatic high beam control, and so on. Much of this we were able to turn off through the navigation system but we were left wondering just when it was that people started depending on their cars to pay attention for them. Oh crap, is our old-guyness showing again?
Which then brings us to wonder further when auto manufacturers will finally develop a more intuitive navigation/systems software package.
Cutting to the chase, we like the Mazda6. We are impressed by way in which the SKYACTIV-G 2.5L engine responds to this car's needs. It has room for four people, the engine/trans/chassis works very well as a package, we can well imagine taking long road trips in comfort, and the sporty styling appeals to the eye.
By our account, Mazda6 deserves solid consideration when looking to buy a midsized sedan.