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2015 Mazda6 - Heels on Wheels Review


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2015 Mazda6 Sedan



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

INTRO TO THE 2015 MAZDA6 VEHICLE

Having taken on a complete redesign just last year, the Mazda6 continues to offer bored commuters a sexier mid-size sedan design backed by high-performance SKYACTIV technology. Outstanding fuel economy, decent interior space and a long list of features gives the Mazda6 a seductive edge.

I drove a 2015 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 (see below) – the base Sport, Touring and Grand Touring – my fully loaded Grand Touring trim came with the following standard features: dual-zone climate control; Bluetooth; backup camera; advanced keyless entry; push-button start; eight-way power driver’s seat and power passenger seat; heated front seats; leather upholstery; an upgraded Bose audio system; USB port and auxiliary input jack; HD radio; steering wheel mounted controls; 5.8-inch display; Pandora radio; SMS text function delivery and reply; navigation; Bi-Xenon headlights; adaptive front lighting system; Halogen fog lights; nineteen-inch wheels; and a sunroof. Total price as described came to $29,895. For 2015, the standard trim gets a few upgrades and there is a new upgraded audio option package for the Touring. Main competitors are the Kia Optima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and Nissan Altima.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Mazda6’s cabin uses rich leather upholstery complimented by a functional center stack featuring intuitive dials and buttons. Rear head- and legroom is a delight, and the truck space is deep and functional. Like Honda, Mazda now provides a backup camera with the base model. One downside is the telematics system and touchscreen is not as vivid or modern as Ford and Kia competitors. Overall, the new exterior shape is stimulating and sporty.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2015 Mazda6 has not yet been rated by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) but the 2014 model is a Top Safety Pick. 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. A blind spot monitoring system comes with the Touring and additional features for the Grand Touring trim include the available Lane Departure Warning and Forward Obstruction Warning.

Cost Issues: The base Sport trim starts at $21,190; the mid-level Touring at $23,845; and my Grand Touring test drive at $29,895. Option equipment and packages included a $125 door sill trim plates and a $2,000 GT Technology Package that added radar cruise control, high bean control, and the fuel-saving i-ELOOP regenerative braking system.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Mazda6’s acceleration is responsive with quick handling characteristics, responding with vigor when pushed to limits on high-speed thoroughfares. The larger nineteen-inch wheels do make for a stiffer suspension response and the coupe-like design creates 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 is the only engine available and offers fuel estimates of 26-city and 38-highway for a combined 30 miles-per-gallon. Yet the i-Eloop feature takes it to 32-combined.

FINAL PARTING WORDS The 2015 Mazda6 wraps performance, style and value into a mid-size sedan for shoppers who are searching for a daily ride with a much sportier attitude.

©2014 Katrina Ramser