2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring Test Drive

2016 Mazda6I Grand Touring Sedan
An Attractive, Practical and Efficient Mid-size Sporty Sedan

The 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring sedan represents the core of the sedan market due to its just right packaging and comfortable seating for five passengers ? it?s not too small, nor is it too big? it is more practical than a sports car but not overly bulky, especially when compared to large SUVs. Other factors to consider is that pricing is within the financial reach of the majority of value-minded consumer?s means and the fuel economy ratings fall within an environmentally sound range. The 2017 Mazda6i has something else going for it ? it tends to stir up one?s emotions and rises above the mostly boring, vanilla flavor of the majority of its competitors.

The full suite of SKYACTIV technologies was featured in the 2014 Mazda6i (it was the second production vehicle to feature the advanced technologies). It was the third generation Mazda6i sedan and showcased more innovative technology from Mazda?s engineers. Features such as i-ELOOP, which was the world?s first capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system to power all the vehicle?s electrical systems, along with the SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine and the front collision-detecting Smart City Brake Support system make their first appearance in North America.
The front grille fins project a strong impression of horizontal flow, which combined with the dynamic shape and three-dimensionality of the signature wing creates a bolder front face with an elegant look. The LED lighting signature of the rear combination lamps gives the rear view a taut image, while the compact shark fin antenna accents the vehicle?s flowing form and stylish aura. The 19-inch aluminum wheel with high-gloss paint adopts a dark color that emphasizes the brightness and greater depth of its metallic look. New for 2017, there are also new exterior mirrors with a turn lamp design change.
For the interior, 2017 changes include a new steering wheel design, a new seat back pocket design and enhanced sound insulation. All details related to texture and qualities have been perfected, elevating the level of quality. Other upgrades include the adoption of Mazda?s next-generation Mazda Connect car connectivity system and an Electrical Parking Brake. The interior fuses a driver-oriented cockpit design based on the Heads-up Cockpit and an instrument panel that extends horizontally to create a passenger environment with a sense of breadth and openness. A freestanding seven-inch center display is mounted on the top of the low dashboard. The Active Driving Display provides vehicle speed and other important driving information, such as that from the advanced safety systems, in real time. The Mazda Connect car connectivity system, when paired with a smartphone makes it easier to take advantage of functions including internet connectivity and access to social networking services. The Grand Touring models add a new traffic sign recognition, Lane Keep Assist System and a gauge display quality improvement with a new 4.6-inch full-color TFT display.
Mazda?s performance dynamics are improved by the further evolved NVH and seat performance, while also adopting Drive Selection for the SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission. G-Vectoring Control and P-ZEV emissions (50 state) are found on all model Mazda6s.
Package and option changes include: a Premium Package available for Grand Touring with the following content change content change: New Rear seat heaters, steering wheel heater, Nappa leather-trimmed sport seats with contrast piping A/T shifter area LED accent lighting, Headliner ? Black, Steering wheel with unique ?chidori? stitch, Bright-finish power seat switches and a Bright-finish glove box handle,
Power for the 2017 Mazda6i still comes from a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G direct-injection gasoline engine. Also carried over are the six-speed automatic SKYACTIV-DRIVE and six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmissions. Combined with Mazda?s i-stop idling stop system and i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, the powertrains deliver a balance of linear, powerful acceleration, and excellent fuel economy and environmental performance. The engine makes 184 horses at 5,700 rpm along with 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm. The engine is standard fare for all trim levels, and may be coupled to a choice of transmissions depending upon the trim level: the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic. Fuel economy for the 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring models is EPA rated at 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway.
The 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring offers an impressive slate of advanced safety technologies that further strengthen safety performance, while delivering greater driving pleasure and peace of mind. Available as an additional feature, is Smart Brake Support, which helps to avoid frontal collisions or minimize damage when traveling mid- to high-speed.
Seating is in the form of supportive, sport-bolstered front bucket seats with the spacious rear bench available in three fabrics, each with two color options. A 60/40-split fold-down feature is standard for rear seats. Six- or eight-way power-adjustable driver?s seats are standard on all but the Sport model, which is equipped with a six-way manual adjustable driver?s seat.

Connectivity is not forgotten in the 2017 Mazda6i either. A 5.8-inch in-dash touch screen commands the center console stack featuring intuitive phone, audio and navigation functions (when so equipped). Streamlined steering wheel controls enable an intuitive operation of the infotainment system.

Other available features include Bluetooth? phone and audio connectivity as well as iPod? audio playback in which iPod information can be accessed via the touch screen. USB and auxiliary jack connection ports are standard and located within the center console storage bin. An AM/FM/CD/MP3/-compatible head unit paired with a six-speaker sound system is standard for Sport and Touring models while Grand Touring models feature an 11-speaker Bose? Centerpoint? Surround Sound System with AudioPilot? as standard equipment. With a smartphone connected, Short Message Service messages may be received and shown on the touch screen monitor. An in-dash TomTom technology-based navigation system is available for Touring, and is standard on Grand Touring models. The navigation module communicates with the head unit via a USB interface utilizing an SD card for storing map data. The SD card feature enables consumers to input customized route maps and regularly update mapping content via any personal computer.

Standard safety features for all 2017 Mazda6 models include six airbags (front, side and full side-curtain), whiplash-reducing front headrests, power-assisted ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, daytime running lights, Dynamic Stability Control, a Traction Control System, hill launch assist, a fold-away brake pedal assembly, a trunk entrapment release system, a tire pressure monitoring system, three-point safety belts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters as well as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. i Touring models feature a Blind Spot Monitoring system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard equipment with the Smart City Brake Support system available as an option. i Grand Touring models feature BSM and SCBS systems as standard equipment as well as RCTA and an Adaptive Front-lighting System. Forward Obstruction Warning, Lane Departure Warning System and High Beam Control are available as part of an optional package.
My test 2017 Mazda6i sedan came in Grand Touring trim, with the 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic gearbox and finished outside in the new Machine Gray metallic and inside in Parchment-toned Nappa leather with Charcoal trim accents. The base sticker was set at $30,695 while options and delivery charges bumped the final price tag to $34,530.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Mazda6 I Grand Touring sedan is a highly desirable vehicle in every respect. The 2.5-liter SKYACTIVE-G engine delivers more than satisfying levels of acceleration ? especially for a four-cylinder engine, while the 6-speed automatic transmission changes gears up and down with silky smoothness, whether in fully automatic mode or when utilizing the instantly responsive paddle shifters.
Handling attributes are stellar, with the ride quality rock solid with minimal body roll. The seating is both comfortable and supportive within the spacious cabin. Piloting the Mazda6i Grand Touring sedan borders on the experience one would normally only expect from a sport sedan.
Adding to the attractiveness of purchase, all Mazda vehicles come with the Mazda Certified Roadside Assistance Program. In addition, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty includes a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty, which covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring

Base Price: $30,695.
Price as Tested: $34,530.

Engine Type and Size: SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter , DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine.

Horsepower (bhp): 184 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 185 @ 3,250 rpm

Transmission: SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed, Sport Mode automatic.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.

Suspension: Front ? Independent MacPherson strut type, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear ? independent Multi-link type, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted diagonal hydraulic four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, DSC, Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist and TPMS.

Tires: Dunlop SP Sport 5000 P225/45 R19 92W mounted on 5-?V?-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 111.4 inches
Length Overall: 191.5 inches w/o license plate holder.
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 57.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,250 lbs.
Turning Circle: Not given
Fuel Capacity: 16.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 28 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.26
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

More from Our Auto Expert