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2016 Mazda6 Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


MODEL: 2016 Mazda6
ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 184 hp @ 5,700 rpm/185 lb.-ft. @ 3,250 rpm
WHEELBASE: 111.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.5 x 72.4 x 57.3 in.
TIRES: P225/45R19
CARGO: 14.8 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/32.3 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 16.4 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,179 lbs.
STICKER: $25,265 (includes $820 delivery, $500 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Mazda6 is a solid, good-looking mid-size sedan that is comfortable, has very good power, and handling that is almost as good as a Mazda sports car.        

Every now and then a great car comes along. I don’t mean one of those $300,000 jobbies, but one that normal people can buy and enjoy.          

The Mazda6 is such a car. The version that appeared in my driveway was clad in “Soul Red,” the color of the cars in the brochure. It also has been restyled with swoopy curves and lines. We encountered an older generation Mazda6 on the road one day that was also red, but it looked about as exciting as a Checker cab.          

Interior design is as nice as the exterior, and let’s face it, you see more of the inside of the car than you do of the outside.          

Looks are one thing, but how does the Mazda6 perform? We had an opportunity to take the car on a long trip and found it to be a very comfortable driver/rider. Our “adventure” was three hours long and I could have driven longer. There aren’t many cars that I’ll say that about.          

The front seats are very comfortable with good side support. When I did start tiring, they supported my lower back. In addition, they do the job when you throw the Mazda6 around some interesting corners. We not only drove over our normal routes, but we found some interesting new roads to explore.

Rear seat legroom is excellent. The rear seats are comfortable and have some side support. There’s a tall center hump that makes a center passenger get cozy with his or her knees. Rear seat back releases are located in the trunk, which held a lot without moving the rear seat backs. For example, it held my large golf bag, plus shoes, etc., with room for at least one more.          

Under the hood is a 2.5-liter four that produces 184 horsepower. It drives the front wheels through a 6-speeed manual transmission with short throws. I confess that I’m not the smoothest stick shift shifter, but I had few problems with the Mazda’s shifter. While we spent a lot of time on Interstates, we also did enough driving on local streets and previously unexplored streets to get a good feel for shifting. The gear ratios were well-chosen.          

Handling is very good. On Interstates the Mazda6 is smooth, and when the road bends a bit, it does a good job. One would expect the manufacturer of the Miata to design compliant suspensions, and the 6’s is great. The front suspension is a fairly conventional MacPherson strut, while the rear is multilink with a stabilizer bar.          

The driver grasps a fat steering wheel with cruise and audio control switches. The instruments are clear, as is the infotainment screen in the center of the dash. Audio and options are controlled with a knob in the middle of the center console. The audio on/off and volume switch is a smaller knob to right, which was somewhat con fusing at first, but we figured it out. Allowing my wife to control the volume was one of her big thrills of the trip.          

There is a pair of cup holders in the center console. The arm/rest console is deep with two USB and a 12-volt plugs.          

Along with the good-size glove box is a cubby at the base of the center stack. All doors have room for water bottles, and the door pulls have bottoms, which make them ideal for holding keys.          

I am a big fan of the Mazda6. It has styling, comfort and decent power and it fun to drive. When you aren’t looking for a fun drive, it is comfortable on the long haul as well.

© 2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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