By Cars.com EditorsJune 22, 2015
About the video
Family-car shoppers often ignore the Mazda6 but maybe they shouldn’t. Mazda’s midsize sedan has some updates on the outside and pretty significant changes within for 2016; we think it’s a bit of an overlooked jewel. Check out the video for more.
(engine revving) Family car shoppers often ignore the Mazda 6, and maybe they shouldn't. Mazda's midsize sedan has some updates on the outside and pretty significant changes within for 2016. And I got to say, it's a bit of an overlooked jewel.
Now Mazda says it's updated the grill of the 2016 Mazda 6 with a little bit more of a three dimensional design here, but I gotta say, kind of hard to really see the differences there. The bigger change occurs in these fog lights, which have new shapes and sort of these chrome runners that curl around them. The headlights also different. You might've seen this theme on the redesigned Mazda 3. These sort of LEDs that curl around the bottom side of the headlights and shoot off along the car's shoulder lines. I will say though, a lot of these changes apply only to the Mazda 6 Grand Touring, the top of three available trims. Now it's much easier to see what's changed on the inside of the updated Mazda 6. An overhauled interior here in terms of the dashboard. A much more horizontal layered approach versus last year's more vertical dashboard. Actually, we see some themes coming from kind of like cars like the BMW three series. Not a bad car to emulate if you're Mazda. A lot of different materials going on. Most of them impressive here in our Grand Touring test car. Again, bear in mind that some cheapening goes on if you get lower trim levels. But things like stitching along the center part of the dashboard here, some brushed kind of silver, pretty convincing stuff along the doors, along the dash. Very generous padding here down the center tunnel. Very rare among family cars, actually, to have something like this. And some nice premium touches. Good to see things like fabric down the A pillars. One touch power windows all the way around, not just up front. Height adjustable power passenger seat. Those are typically things in a luxury or premium car. Nice to see Mazda put them into a family sedan. Now most trims get a Mazda Connect multimedia system that puts a seven inch screen up here. It's a touchscreen. You can also work it through this new knob controller down here with some shortcut buttons around. Pretty straightforward, easy to use, but we do wish that some of the touchscreen functions didn't lock out as soon as you're driving. Once the car is moving, Mazda makes you just kind of do most of it with this knob. If you don't like using that, too bad. Now Mazda's direct injection four cylinder engine isn't gonna fool anybody for a V6, but it's pretty capable for what it is. With our test car's six speed automatic transmission, pretty short first gear, smooth upshifts give the car a nice, even, quick off the line feeling and good strong revving through kind of those mid range RPMs. Finally, the transmission itself, willing to kick down to lower gears whenever you need to, without a lot of lag, a lot of delays. So a pretty good match up there. Put it all together. The whole system makes for an EPA 31 miles per gallon in combined ratings. Again, that's with the automatic. You can get a very sophisticated braking regeneration system that actually increases it up to 32 miles per gallon EPA combined. Again, those are excellent ratings for this segment, but that's part of an options package on the Grand Touring car that actually ends up running more than $2,000. So I got to say, 31 miles per gallon sounds pretty good. Now in terms of ride and handling, our test car's 19 inch wheels do give a little bit of a degree of busy-ness on the highway. And that combines also the Mazda 6's still fairly significant road and wind noise for a family sedan. But overall, still a pretty livable ride situation, especially when there's a big handling payoff. The Mazda 6 continues to be one of the more fun to drive cars in this segment. You fling it around, there's not too much body lean. The steering is fairly direct, and the car has decent overall chassis balance. So the Mazda 6 has a lot of things going for it. One thing it doesn't though is variations of the car. Mazda only offers the 6 as a four cylinder sedan, unlike a lot of its competitors. But if you're looking for just that, I gotta say there's a lot of reasons you should put Mazda on your list. (upbeat music) (trunk slamming)