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2017 Mazda6 Review By Steve Purdy

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2017 MAZDA6 Review
By Steve Purdy
Senior Editor
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

We’re past the time when mid-size sedans dominate the vehicle market. In fact, sedans of all sizes constitute a shrinking segment as crossovers continue to grow in share. Nonetheless, we have plenty of great sedans from which to choose and most, at least mainstream ones, have only modestly different characters.

Case in point, this week’s Mazda6 fits well with its class but distinguishes itself minimally for all but the minority of drivers who pay close attention to cars. Compared to its competitors we can say the Mazda6 competes well in terms of sportiness and efficiency particularly. Other sedans in this class may be more luxurious or forward looking in design, but the Mazda6 has earned a loyal following.

Styling and exterior design got updated a few years ago and now reflects trends in the industry, that is, bold, swoopy, sculpted and just a bit brash. Those who pay attention to cars will know right away its identity by the aggressive, trapezoidal, vertical front grille with big Mazda logo. The shape and profile is distinguished mostly by the bulging front wheel arches. We find it attractive but conventional.

The cabin is a pleasant and efficient place to spend time. Seating is generous and comfortable even for a big guy like me. Ingress and egress through the front doors, though, are a struggle for a guy my size as the B-pillar seems to be a tad farther forward than other sedans of its size. I doubt that would be a problem for an average size person. Road noise encroachment is not much different than the competition, which is to say, admirably quiet.

Displays and controls are well designed and mostly intuitive. The smallish screen extending upward from the center of the dash is populated by an intuitive collection of icons managing most of the car’s functions. A remote knob on the console allows the driver to manage most of the functions without having to carefully touch the screen. Most cars in this class do not have that advantage.

Only one engine powers the Mazda6 – a hyper-efficient “SKYACTIV-G” 2.5-liter four-cylinder making a tepid 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. To its everlasting credit, and in support of its sporty image, the Mazda6 is one of the few, if not the only, mid-size, mainstream sedan to offer a 6-speed manual transmission in addition to the 6-speed automatic. Kudos to Mazda for that, though our test car was the automatic. The EPA estimates we should get in the neighborhood of 24 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway and 28 mpg combined. (About one click less for the manual.) We managed 28.5 mpg in our mixed use over about 700 miles.

The basic Mazda6 Sport with manual transmission starts at just $21,945. The automatic transmission adds about a grand. Our top-of-the-line Grand Touring model including leather, 19-inch wheels, and other premium content starts at $30,695 and we have the $2,500 GT Touring Package that includes the “I-Eloop” regenerative braking, grille shutters, heated steering wheel and rear seats and some special trim. This one shows a bottom line on the sticker of $34,530 including destination and delivery.

Mazda’s new car warranty covers the whole car for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Mazda6 is well mannered, responsive, not particularly quick (we’d love to see a turbo in this one) and easy to live with. The larger wheels and tires add to an already decent felling of stability. The G-Vectoring feature, I’m sure, is an advantage but without driving last year’s car side-by-side I doubt anyone would notice the difference in this already good handling car.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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