When car companies get it right, they get it very right. There are those that have one or two models that really stand out (and some, none at all…), and then there are those that have an entire lineup that’ll really make you stop and take note. Mazda is just such a manufacturer.
From the brand new ND MX-5 to the CX-3 (both of which Matt got to drive…me? Bitter? Nah…), Mazda’s on its way to maintaining the greatness it started a few years ago when the Mazda3 was re-launched along with the brand new Mazda6. With KODO design and SKYACTIV technology, they’re poised to take complete control of each segment their vehicles are offered in. And I love it.
Something a little different
I’m not sure, entirely, what it is that Mazda’s done to their design elements to make them so damn appealing, but it’s working wonders. Nissan is close behind in the “get an edge” department, but Mazda is definitely the front-runner here.
There’s something instantly alluring about the look of the Mazda6, especially in the brand new Titanium Flash Mica colour (which my tester sported). The front grille is equal parts aggressive and classic with just the right amount of integrated chrome detailing. Muscular, taught wheel arches over the front wheels add to the curvy nature of the 2016 Mazda6 and help lure the observers eye to the taught, upturned rear where dual exhaust pips and an slightly extended trunk-lid reside. This is a mighty handsome sedan.
It’s been over two years since the Mazda6’s new KODO look was revealed, yet it still gets serious attention on the road -- and it’s well deserved. There are few midsize cars on the road today with so much presence (in my honest opinion).
Step inside the 2016 Mazda6 (starting price $24,695) and that allure continues. My particular tester (a GT trim) featured a black and dark brown leather combination that I absolutely adored. While the seats were black, door inserts and dash accents were dark brown. Sophisticated and modern, the overall look is one that’s definitely more upscale that the price of a Mazda6 would suggest.
Mazda’s new HMI system with a control knob just below the shifter, along with a floating screen in the centre dash is easy to get used to, but does take some getting used to in the beginning. Unfortunately, I’m still not a fan of Mazda’s head-up display (which is featured on a flimsy little card of plastic that raises above the gauge cluster).
Drives how it looks
Smooth, sophisticated and debonair, the 2016 Mazda6 is a real joy to drive. Regardless of trim choice, the 6 comes equipped with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. While there is a 6-speed manual offered, my particular tester had the 6-speed SPORT mode automatic with paddle shifters and I wasn’t hugely disappointed.
Power is sent to the front wheels, and the 2016 Mazda6 handles it all quite well. Sitting on 19” alloy wheels, the ride is a bit stiffer in the Mazda6 GT, but it handles corners very well when pushed into them, especially with the paddle shifters are used to select the right exiting gear.
While the Mazda6 isn’t highly exciting to drive (there’s no turbo spool, no massive exhaust note, no sudden surge of power), it’s livable and still enjoyable. I could see myself living with the Mazda6 every day, without a problem. It’s smooth, performs when asked, and is good on gas (if your foot isn’t too heavy!).
Midsize with full-size capabilities
One of my favourite “features” on the 2016 Mazda6 is its interior space and size. The back seat absolutely swallowed up my son’s child seat and he had more than enough room to stretch his legs out without kicking the front passenger seat (even with a passenger there). The rear door opening is also large enough so I didn’t smack my head every time I strapped him in. And that trunk! The Mazda6’s trunk is deceptively large, stretching pretty far back and offering up 419 litres of space!
Despite all this space, the 2016 Mazda6 does not feel like a huge car when you’re behind the wheel. I never felt like I was driving a heavy, labored car and I think that has a great deal to do with the fabulous SKYACTIV technology driving the engine and transmission combination. Truly, this has been Mazda’s shining star since it was released a few year’s prior.
Continues to be the winner
There’s a reason the Mazda6 brought home our Auto123.com 2016 Midsize Car of the Year Award: it’s a great, well-rounded vehicle that ticks all the right boxes and leaves nothing to be desired. Sure, its competition is, well, competent; but when the Mazda6 is lined up next to the likes of the Toyota Camry and even the Honda Accord (which is starting to look a bit long in the tooth now), there really is no competition at all.