2010 Mazda6 Grand Touring Review


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THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2010 Mazda6 Grand Touring
Engine: 3.7-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 272 hp @ 6,250 rpm/269 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 109.8 in.
Length/Width/Height: 193.7 x 72.4 x 57.9 in.
Tires: P235/45R18
Cargo volume: 16.6 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity:
18.5 gal.
Sticker: $33,220 (includes $750 delivery, processing and handling fee; $100 LEV-2 ULEV emission package; $2,000 navigation system; $1,980 technology package

Bottom line: If you can get past the (not bad) generic styling, the Mazda 6 is an excellent mid-size car with power, nice features, and a comfortable ride. It should definitely be on your pre-purchase check list.

When the Mazda6 was delivered to my driveway, I initially wondered why I was getting a Camry. At first glance it was hard to tell exactly what car I was getting. Of course, a quick check proved that the car was indeed a Mazda6 and not one of those other mid-size cars.

That was the only “problem” we had with the car. The Mazda6 proved to be an excellent mid-size, with several advantages and features over its competition.

One of those features was a blind spot monitoring system that alerts the driver to cars that are in either the left or right blind spot. Initially, a symbol lights up in the exterior rearview mirror, but if you put the turn signal on, there’s also a “beep” to warn you. I never had the nerve to push it to the next level, but I would hope that there would be some added resistance put on the steering to deter lane shifting.

The Mazda6 is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that delivers a healthy 272 horsepower. I liked the power level of the Mazda6. Combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the car is comfortable to drive with enough power in reserve to help you escape from potentially difficult situations.

There is a manual mode to the transmission as well if you want to derive a bit more performance. All that’s needed is to shift the lever to the left into “M” mode and push it forward or backward to shift. However, if you aren’t careful, you can put it into “M” accidentally and your alert is the extra noise from an engine that is revving far more than it should.

Handling is softer than one would normally expect from a car labeled “Grand Touring,” but in defense it makes for a much more comfortable ride in almost all situations. There is some minor lean in hard cornering, but it’s not a serious problem.

One of my favorite “modern” features that wasn’t available 26 years ago when we began this odyssey is pushbutton start/stop. In fact, with keyless entry and a door that recognizes the key fob in your pocket, you never need to remove the keys from your pocket.

The front seats don’t offer a lot of side support, but they are comfortable. They’re also heated and, combined with an excellent HVAS system that warms the car quickly, there’s no need to be uncomfortable for long in the car.

Rear seats have excellent leg and knee room. The rear seats also fold flat to increase trunk capacity. The seat back releases are located in the trunk itself, which makes actuating them less of a problem that if they were located somewhere in the interior. The cargo area created with the seat backs down has a flat floor, which adds to the practicality. The rear seats have a unique LATCH system to connect child seats. They’re a bear to unlatch, though.

Three of the doors have assist handles. When I questioned a designer once about having three, rather than four, assist handles, he responded by saying the driver has the wheel to help gain entry to the car. I’m not a fan of adding extra stress to the steering column, but since modern steering columns really don’t move the gears in steering, that’s not a serious problem.

Up front there is a pair of cupholders, with bottle holders in the doors. There’s a two-level console with the AUX input in the deep lower section. All the door pulls have bottoms, so passengers have a place to stow their cell phones.

Instruments consist of two large nacelles for the tachometer and speedometer, with two smaller ones for the fuel level and water temperature gauges. There’s a large navigation/audio screen in the center that opens to reveal the CD changer.

Once you get past the styling, which is at the top end of the mid-size segment – it just resembles too much some of the competition – you’ll definitely fall in like with the Mazda6, and there’s a good chance you may fall in love with it.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

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