Let me start this Mazda6 review with an apology. The apology goes out to Brian, my recent driving partner on a press trip to San Antonio.
As we were antiquing our way through downtown (true story) on our way back to the hotel, Brian spotted a Mazda6 and made a comment indicating he thought it was a pretty sweet ride. I responded with something like, meh.
“You don’t like that car?” he asked incredulously.
“It just doesn’t do anything for me,” I replied.
I talked about my history with the Mazda 626 and my recent change from a sedan to an SUV (this one, to be exact) and how it just didn’t turn my head.
Then I had the opportunity to spend a week in the 2017 Mazda6. So let me start by saying one thing.
I take it all back, Brian.
From the moment the Machine Gray Metallic 2017 Mazda6 pulled into my driveway, I looked for every opportunity to get out on the road. And I don’t just mean putz around town figuring out how many groceries I could put in the rear. I was ready to seriously drive.
The weather, however, had different plans. Just as we were all complaining about no snow and putting our winter gear away in preparation for the nearing Spring, Mother Nature pulled a dirty trick on us and sent Stella to visit.
The forecast was so abysmal that my son’s school was cancelled before it even started snowing.
Knowing that my driving and photographic opportunities were limited for the week, I picked the most picturesque destination I could find and set off zooming.
About 45 minutes from my house exists one of several covered bridges in Maryland. The red Roddy Road Covered Bridge looks like the perfect backdrop to showcase the sedan.
The only problem was that the internet failed to tell me that the bridge was damaged by a box truck last June and is now closed indefinitely.
I had driven all that way, testing out every feature I could, but I was so disappointed not to get the shot I wanted. So I did what any good blogger would do to get the shot. I found another covered bridge.
Believe it or not, I accidentally found another covered bridge, Loys Station Covered Bridge, within a mile or two of the first one and it was not only open but quite active.
It was here that I pulled off, surveyed my surroundings, and deemed it the perfect country spot to talk all about the 2017 Mazda6.
Although it’s a strange site to see a woman circling a car with a video camera on the side of a country road, I was surprised at how many passers-by slowed or stopped while I was parked by the bridge. Turns out they were just stopping to make sure no other cars were traveling through the single lane bridge.
I didn’t let that distract me from dissecting the details of the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring. Let’s jump in, shall we?
The dash feels open, airy, and uncluttered with plenty of front visibility. This make the steering wheel and the display screen the most prominent features up front indicating that this car is about one thing: driving.
In fact, the Mazda6 employs something called G-Vectoring Control (GVC). The idea is to better connect the driver with the car and Mazda does it by connecting the steering and powertrain response. The result is more direct, natural steering.
It also does some science-y things involving physics (one of my worst subjects) to keep the car tight and stable around turns. That means you won’t be slipping and sliding in your seat when taking those tight corners.
In fact, the entire driver’s area feels paired down, just like it might with a sports cars. Controls are sleek and minimal. You won’t find lots of places to store goldfish crackers and toys and diapers bags. This is a car that means business.
And luckily that business includes Mazda’s signature multifunctional commander control, which I think is one of the best out there.
If you’re wondering is the tight, compact nature of the driver’s cockpit means that the sedan won’t feel spacious, you’re wrong.
With the addition of the power moonroof (something I require on all my personal vehicles) and the parchment leather interior, the interior felt very open.
With this particular model, the leather had a dark piping that matched the optional black headliner. Normally, O keep as much black out of the car as I can, but the dark accents definitely favored the sporty feeling of the car.
If the cabin doesn’t have enough room for you, the trunk will. While not too deep, it’s definitely long and wide allowing for a fair amount of storage in the back.
Are you sold yet? Have you fallen in love with the aesthetics? Do you see the muscular curves beckoning you to take it for a drive?
You’re probably waiting for one more thing. Namely, how it drives. What good is a sports sedan if it doesn’t perform?
You might be less than impressed with the 184 hp, 2.4L 4 cylinder engine on paper. But with the GVC and excellent torque, this car zips down the road with vigor. And if you’re looking for that extra oomph, the “speed” mode gives you the extra kick you might need to overtake another vehicle or simply for quicker acceleration.
Even with the crazy acceleration that I played around with, what impressed me the most was the fuel economy. The EPA average is right around 30mpg, which is about what I got. That’s close to what some hybrid sedans get. In fact, Mazda uses regenerative braking, like many hybrid systems, and uses the energy to power some of the electronic systems in the car, reducing the required fuel for those systems.
So, was there anything I didn’t like? Of course. I can always find something I didn’t love. In this case, there were two features that could trap you into a love-hate relationship.
The heads-up display, while a great idea, just didn’t work for me. Either I’m too short or too off-center but it found it to be more of a distraction which I was driving than a help.
The other thing was the ambient light (pictured as a little white pill-shaped spot in between the cabin lights). I loved the soft white glow it gave to the cabin interior at night. When I was driving, that is. As a vertically challenged person, I sit fairly close to the steering wheel and the light glows behind my line of sight. When the seat was further back, the light was a bit of a distraction in my eye.
So there you go. Two minor infractions for the Mazda6. Don’t say I don’t do fair and balanced car reporting.
If you’re in the market for a sedan, I’d definitely put the 2017 Mazda6 at the top of your list. I highly encourage to at least take it for a test drive.
This review is based on a one week loan of the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring. As shown here, the vehicle had an MSRP of $34, 530.