Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mazda6 a must-test-drive model in midsize segment

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – I was offered another week in a Mazda6, and I jumped at it.

No mystery there.  I’ve long thought the Mazda6 was an underappreciated ride in the crowded midsize sedan segment.

The Mazda6 was extensively reworked for the 2014 model year – that was my most recent experience in it – and there are a few tweaks for the 2015 campaign.  My tester, a 2015 Mazda6 Grand Touring edition, reminded me how much I liked the previous year’s makeover.

I was not alone in that, by the way.  The Mazda6 pulled down a basketful of heavyweight awards last year.
So, what's the big deal?

For starters, it’s an attractive sedan, nicely fitted front and rear and accentuated in profile to give it a full-size appearance.  All the lines flow smoothly, especially the sweep on the front end.  The 19-inch alloy wheels also are eye-catching.

The generous standard features on the tester, showing a starting price at just a few bucks less than $30,000, is especially pleasing.  The techno/luxo rush includes power/heated side mirrors (with turn lamps, too), leather trimmed sport seats, heated front seats, rearview camera, power moonroof and rear-cross traffic alert.

The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 184-horsepower engine was peppy in the extreme.  No, it’s not going to blow off horsepower-laden sports cars, but I found the Mazda6 quite capable for entering tight spots during freeway commutes, and it reliably, aggressively powered out of harm’s way when asked to do so.

The handling was nimble, almost two-seater-like, yet volunteer passengers said they were comfortable – and had plenty of room – in our brief runs out on the roadways.

Fuel mileage is excellent at 28 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Passengers and neighbors alike kept me asking me questions about the tested Mazda6, the kind of questions that imply obvious interest in perhaps buying one.

I did nothing to discourage such thoughts.

I think the signature of this model is that you get so much for a comparatively humble investment.  My ride was dressed up with a $2,000 GT Technology Package (radar cruise control and a lane departure-warning system were part of that mix), but I would have been perfectly content with the standard version and all that went with it.  Which is to say a lot.

In the midsize segment, the Mazda6 earns a spot on the must-test-drive list, and yes, I realize that there’s a lot to choose from in that grouping.

Suffice it to say that the Mazda6 belongs in that crowd and is worthy of your consideration.

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