2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

Captures the Automotive Spirit
May 4, 2015 Updated: May 4, 2015

Quick synopsis: The outside design, power, and handling were superb. Vehicle comfort was moderate, but the user controls for digital technology were troublesome. Allow me to visit about the first topics first.

Mazda is designed to turn heads, and its beauty has not diminished its performance. The aerodynamics and body design contribute both high-speed stability and efficiency.

The Soul Red Metallic three-coat painting process involves two separate coats of high brightness and high Chroma red pigment. Mazda has seven other colors like Jet Black Mica, Snow Flake Pearl White, and Meteor Gray Mica to choose from. All equally attractive.

Then place a dramatic “signature wing” illuminated front grille joined to new LED headlamps and you have an outside that is brightly fashioned and stylish looking.

Mazda is designed to turn heads.

Daytime running lights make your presence known to other motorists, while the high beam lamps and LED headlights give more visibility and confidence behind the wheel. All this is crowned by a splendid moon roof.

Heated side mirrors with turn lamps and auto-dimming driver’s side mirror gave a good view of approaching traffic from behind. Dual exhaust with bright outlets and a trunk lip spoiler showcase the rear, while rain-sensing windshield wipers maintain clarity to the front. The 19-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires provide the strong base for driving fun.

The absolute best feature of the Mazda 6 was the handling. The good aerodynamics mentioned earlier contribute to the stability under high speed. The SKYACTIV chassis adds to the stabilized feel, allowing for a more direct and agile footing. Braking was communicative and remained light and strong.

The cabin is very well designed. The eight-way and six-way power-adjustable front seats are leather trimmed and heated. However, the back seats seem to feel wider than the perforated front seats, but in fact, there is just an inch or so less headroom and legroom in the rear seats than the front. Factually the front seats do win out.

The 7-inch touch screen display is just large enough for the rearview camera and navigation system to display clearly. There is a dual-stitched shift knob and steering wheel, accompanied by a small console. The dash and instrument panel do complement each other. The air conditioning was fair, but large setting knobs were easy to locate and use.

The Active Driving Display was helpful. Located above the dash beyond the steering wheel, it offered critical driving information elevated right in front of the driver. This helps to keep you focused on the road while being constantly updated with key information, as opposed to taking your eyes off to look for the info across the instrument panel.

Mazda Connect Infotainment System was the most difficult technology to work with. Trying to change the radio station from AM to FM, and other functions was slow to come up or respond. Satellite radio, though listed as a feature, was not even turned on. There were too many steps involved to use the lengthy maneuvers for navigation and even more hopeless for a smartphone with their Bluetooth. The Command control knob, though a nice size, was inconvenient, causing you to look from the screen down to the front of the gear shifter where the knob was located.

If you like Japanese products, you will love this Mazda 6 as 95 percent of the parts originate in Japan and final assembly was in Hofu, Japan.

3-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
3-year/36,000-mile 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance
5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
5-year/Unlimited mileage Anti Perforation Limited Warranty against body rust-through

Durhl Caussey writes a column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net