By: Emme Hall/www.tflcar.com
The mid-size sedan market is a crowded segment indeed. Long dominated by the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the segment has had to make some room lately for the refreshed 2016 Mazda6, and the Grand Touring trim line is a worthy competitor.
2016 MAZDA6 GRAND TOURING
|2.5L DOHC inline-4||184 hp @ 5,700 rpm||185 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm||6-speed automatic||$30,195||$33,395||Buy it!|
Visually the Mazda6 is one of the boldest out there. The front fascia has lost the traditional Mazda smiley grill and it’s replaced by a more aggressive look. The fenders flare out to accommodate the 19-inch alloy wheels, and the LED headlights add a luxury style point to the front end.
Under the hood Mazda has given us a 2.5-liter SkyActiv 4-banger, good for 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, although a 6-speed manual is available on the Sport and Touring trims. Our GT trim gets a bump in fuel economy to 28 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined with the optional i-ELoop system. This technology captures energy usually lost during braking and uses it to power accessories, taking a bit of load off the engine.
Inside the design is pretty clean with excellent fit and finish. The new 7-inch touchscreen, operated by a dial on the center console, is an improvement over previous years. You get the array of expected features inside including Bluetooth, cruise control, dual climate control, and iPod connectivity. Also standard on our top of the line model are a back up camera, heated front seats, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, and a Bose 11-speaker sound system.
The interior design is very clean and it’s a comfortable place to spend your commute. Fit and finish are excellent, one of the best in the segment, and the rear seats offer plenty of room, even for those over 6-feet tall. The trunk offers 14.8 cubic feet of space, which is less than the Accord, Camry, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata.
Behind the wheel is where the Mazda 6 really shines. This is a sedan for the practical guy or gal with a glint of driving enthusiasm in their eye. I’ve always been a fan of Mazda’s hydraulic power steering system and although this is electric and a bit too light for my tastes, it is very precise and quick with a good amount of road feel. The chassis is tuned more towards the stiff side, which may turn some buyers off, but it allows for stand out cornering. The Mazda6 loves the high revs especially when in Sport mode. The transmission allows the driver to rev all the way to the red line to eke out all 184 horses before shifting. The paddle shifters get to the next gear quickly and while the car does feel underpowered, like many Mazdas, it’s nimble quality still elicits an emotional response that is lacking from other 4-door sedans.
Of course, there is a lot of competition in this segment. The best selling Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima all have an available V6, and the Hyundai Sonata is available with a 2.0L turbo. However, the naturally aspirated 4-cylinder trim lines of the competition are all pretty close in power, fuel economy, and price and they just don’t have the same excitement about them as the Mazda6.
On the TFL Car scale of:
or Forget it!
The 2016 Mazda6 gets an enthusiastic Buy It! The car is well-designed and a joy to drive, while still being a practical choice for those with enthusiast leanings.
See what you think about the 2015 Mazda6 as it takes a performance lap around the TFL track.