* * * * * * * * * * * *
(Contributing Editor: Peter Stamatis)
Three+ years ago "Drive...He Said" heaped restrained praise:
"There, we said it. In spite of the [meh] interior styling, [flimsy trim and spartan appointments], we cannot immediately think of another family sedan for $21,000 out the door that wants to shred the road so badly. Our Spoiled A$$#$ could live happily with the 2014 Mazda6 Sport." ChicagoNow "Drive...He Said" August, 2013.
If the maker of Zoom, Zoom, Zoom wants to spoil our A$$#$ a little, who are we to stop them? ChicagoNow "Drive...He Said" April, 2017.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
WHAT: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring mid-size family sport sedan. Code name: GL. Mid-cycle refresh of GJ1 3rd generation.
One & Only Power: transverse 2.5L Atkinson cycle VVT DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 184 hp/ 185 lb-ft + 6-spd. locking torque converter automatic planetary transmission.
WHAT (A) STYLING (DIFFERENCE): Mr. Olympia's muscle-fendered & rear quartered volume mid-size sedan = KODO+; Chrome-work on pentagonal grille and front fascia foglamp recesses gets bolder; Rear lower valance features simulated diffuser; Buff body distracts attention from squat greenhouse; Sharply raked backlight + short, "duck-tail"rear deck-lid = Fastback Look;
WHY: Sedans describe "Aesthetic Taste" better than their Crossover spawns, DRIVING [While Coddled] MATTERS.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late fall 2016
WHERE: Mazda new car dealers
WHERE MADE: Hofu, Yamaguchi, Japan
HOW STRONG: More prominent Sport Mode throttle / shift point switch now begs engagement: upon a "One, One-Thousand, Two count" goose that high-compression gas 2.5L DOHC spits out some I-4 fire with throaty noises all the way to its 6500 heaven; Despite lagging 2.0L turbo competition, the 6-speed slushbox locks-up like a banker before lunch, holding tall ratio gears 1-5 until 5000 rpm before the hand-off and will throttle blip rev-match in Sport Mode;
HOW LIMBER: Electric assist steering rack is nearly too quick, but delivers abundant road feel; Atypical stiffer bushings & springs quell roll & dive; Dampers are tuned for tauter reflexes at speed, allowing a Euro-compliant ride, with only occasional jarring;
"Track-Worthy": G-vectoring = "Understeer Exciser": cuts power, reducing load on weight-burdened front wheels entering hard turns, pouring it back on at turn exit; Forgiveness of hard braking well into a hairpin, and stab worthy reaction of 4-wheel brake discs despite initially "Timid as a teen on a first date" pedal travel.
HOW FAR: Expect 32 miles-per-gallon; i-ELOOP = capacitor to generator "mild hybrid" = extra 1 mpg
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: "Placebo-effect?" Extra dash + door panel trim = what was already a snug mid-size sedan "Snugger."Front sport seats could stand more cushion length; Row 2: fastback silhouette imparts the added caveat to 6'+ footers: "Mind thine heads;"
HOW USEFUL: √ Trunk fits 2 full size and two carry-ons; √ Retracting-shade style center-console dual cup-holder cover; √ 2 x USB ports √ 2 x 12V power ports; -1 Bose speaker housings take bite out of door pocket storage; -1 Tall load lift-over; -1 3 paper grocery bags short of what competition will hold
HOW SAFE: IIHS 2016 Top Pick Plus winner: √ 8 airbags ; Driver assist technology: i-ActiveSense = √ Rear camera w/ park grid-lines; √ Blind Spot & Lane change warning; √ Rear Cross traffic & Lane Departure warning; √ Automatic HID high-beam headlamps; √ Adaptive Cruise Control; √ Forward collision warning & Vehicle collision avoidance full braking; -1 Lane Keep assist = "Nudge Only" ≠ "Hand's Off the Wheel";
HOW FRIENDLY: √ Torso hugging heated front bucket seats & heated 2nd Row seats; √ Heated tilt & extending leather-wrapped steering wheel; √ Triple channel door seals and thicker glass have improved cabin muting; √ White-on-black analog TFT triple gauge cluster; √ Multi-function display now polychromic, but still sparse on info.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ HUD traffic sign indicator; √ Metal-trimmed rotary dial Command infotainment screen controller flanked by primary, preferred switches & audio volume dial;
Details Done Right: √ Perforated Nappa leather / contrasting piping & cross stitched seating surfaces w/ metallic controls √ Seat matching soft touch dash & door panels inserts w/ titanium colored accents; √ Mouse-fur lined glove box w/ metallic latch release; √ Among more intuitive automatic climate controls;
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Gauge cluster blue thermometer substitutes for graduated engine coolant read-out; -1 2nd Row heated seat controls inaccessible when center position occupied; -1 Front center armrest a bit too aft;
HOW "APP" -LICABLE:√ MazdaConnect 7"-inch LCD media display is same in-elegant corporate fixed dashtop mounted unit found in $19K Mazdas; Touch functionality de-activated when in motion;
$1000 Question: WHEN will Android Auto and Apple Car Play app licensing get worked out? BECAUSE: GPS Navigation POI searches are limited and voice recognition needs work; Pandora, Aha & Stitcher sync separately to corresponding smart phone apps; +1 Bose Centerpoint 360 watt audio w/ active noise cancellation = one of a handful of Dr. Amar's systems with soundstage depth and presence;
HOW MUCH: $34,530 , 2017 Mazda6 i Grand Touring, fully optioned
WHAT'S MISSING: Less on-center steering correction; More elegant infotainment display housing;
ANY COMPETITION: Honda Accord Sport SE: +1 rear seat pitch, Android Auto/ Apple CP
BOTTOM LINE: Turns as many heads as a Tesla Model S; A turbo-charger away from being a legitimate sporty executive sedan challenger.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Gallery - Executive Sport Sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Gallery - Mid Size Family Sedan, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Executive Sports Sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Mid-size family sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Mid-size sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Reviews - Sporty Mid-size family sedans, Lifestyle - Transportation - Automotive - Technology - Fuel Efficiency
Tags: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring review, 2017 Mazda6 review, Front-wheel drive, fuel efficient family car, gallery, Honda Accord Sport SE competitor, images, Mazda 6, Mazda 6 Grand Touring, Mazda6, Mazda6 review, mid-size family car, premium mid-size sedan, review, specifications, sporty mid-size sedan, Volkswagen Passat 1.8T SEL competitor