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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 MAZDA6 REVIEW


HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 MAZDA6 REVIEW (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Mazda6

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE MAZDA6 VEHICLE
The Mazda6 stands out for its sportiness where reasonably priced sedans are concerned, hoping to attract the eye of those who have lost interest in some of segments regulars (the Accord and Camry come to mind). Madza’s high-performance SKYACTIV technology will grip you along with what you get for the price at any trim level.

I drove a 2017 Mazda6 sedan with the SKACTIV-G 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed Sport automatic transmission. Available in three trims – the base Sport, Touring and my Grand Touring test drive – my vehicle came with the following standard features: leather-trimmed sport seats; 8-way power driver’s seat and 6-way power passenger seat; 7-inch touchscreen display; Bluetooth connectivity; 11-speaker Bose audio system; rearview camera; leather-wrapped steering wheel; push-button start; heated front seats; 5.8-inch display with active driving display; navigation; adaptive front lighting system; a moonroof; nineteen-inch wheels; and safety technology like Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Total price as described without options came to $30,695.

Not much to discuss in terms of changes for the 2017 model year – just some package reshuffling and adjustments (same strategy used last model year, too). Main competitors are the Kia Optima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Nissan Altima.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Function combined with style seems to be the Mazda6’s way of life featuring intuitive and easy-to-reach commands. It’s as spacious as competitors with attention to rear head- and legroom along with accommodating truck space. Mazda’s infotainment system is fairly easy to sort through, with the graphics comparable but perhaps not as alluring as what Hyundai offers. You can’t go wrong selecting any trim on the Mazda6, as they all offer a hefty dollop of features. My Grand Touring also came with a pricey $2,500 GT Premium Package that added the i-ELOOP regenerative engine braking system for improved fuel economy, active grille shutters, upgraded Nappa leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and interior trim details – all worth the package price, I felt.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2017 Mazda6 is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with ratings of “Good” in all crash testing areas (aside of an “Acceptable” with headlight testing and “Marginal” with LATCH child seat ease of use). My six-year old child could snap into her belt with little issues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle an overall 5-Star review. Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, hill-start assist, and an advanced airbag system. Once optional, the Grand Touring trim now includes a many safety tech features like a Lane Departure Warning System.

Cost Issues: The 2017 Mazda6 base Sport trim starts at $22,995; the mid-level Touring at $25,245; and my Grand Touring test drive with options and destination charges reaching $34,530.

Activity & Performance Ability: A new G-Vector controlling system delivers power more precisely – I sensed a shift in weight at the corners that added a more planted feeling. My test model’s GT Premium Package is designed to stretch your fuel economy (I also like the premium interior features built into the price and the safety tech, making Grand Touring the most attractive choice). Overall it was a pleasure to drive due to the vehicle’s quick acceleration and tidy handling behavior. Larger nineteen-inch wheels make for a stiffer suspension with the coupe-like design adding a slightly snug ride. The rear doorway is workable for child seats with plenty of space for front passenger legroom.

The Green Concern: The 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder with the i-ELOOP system delivers a fuel economy of 27-city and 35-highway for a combined 30 miles-per-gallon.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2017 Mazda6 has built a reputation of offering a sportier spin on run-of-the-mill sedan choices – you also just can’t beat all that you get in terms of features for the price, and I’d take this at the Grand Touring trim with the GT Premium Package.

©2017 Katrina Ramser

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