It’s hard to believe the 2016 Mazda 6 marks the 14th year since the manufacturer replaced the Mazda 626 with its current midsize sedan. The current third generation debuted in 2013, and the new offering is packed with considerable improvements — particularly in the highest-level trim.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
A five-passenger sedan, the Mazda 6 is offered in Sport, Touring and top-line Grand Touring trims, and my weekly driver was the latter. It has so many changes, how could it not be a new generation?
For 2016, the Mazda 6 features revised front and rear styling, making it appreciably more handsome. The previous xenon headlights have been replaced with LED headlights and there’s a larger (7-inch) touchscreen interface in all but the base Sport model.
All that’s just for starters. The 2016 Mazda also has a new electric brake and well as an upgraded interior with a new dash trim, center console and armrest.
One of the best features of Mazda is its lineup-wide list of standard features. Consider: The base manual-transmission Sport include 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a 60/40-split rear seat, a multi-information display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with an iPod /USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. If equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the Sport also includes a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and audio upgrades (voice commands, HD radio, Internet radio apps, text message display function and automatic emergency notification).
The Touring trim adds 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, premium vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sliding console armrest and a six-way power driver seat. For the Mazda 6 Touring with an automatic transmission, there’s an option package that adds a sunroof, an upgraded 11-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio
This package is required if you want to have the Touring Technology package, which adds unique front end styling, LED headlights, LED taillights, automatic wipers, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, heated side mirrors, heated front seats and a low-speed frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
The Grand Touring includes all of the above as standard, as well as different 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), a six-way power passenger seat and driver memory settings.
My weekly driver also includes the GT Technology Package ($2,180). It’s a well-priced and worthwhile option considering the scope of what’s included; Adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning/mitigation system with automatic braking, a lane departure warning system, automatic high-beam control and an energy capture system called. It improves mpg by storing energy captured during deceleration to a capacitor, which can then power air-conditioning, lighting and accessories.
Beyond its vast standard and optional features lists, the 2016 Mazda 6 offers a surprising drive. It has steady powerful acceleration, particularly considering its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine has only 185 horsepower.
The Mazda 6 also offers a comfortable, spacious ride and a refined interior and that vaults to toward an entry level luxury vehicle. Add it sportiness, it’s a family sedan with personality.
Excellent gas mileage.
Well-constructed and stylish interior.
Heavy duty trunk carpet.
Adjustable and collapsible head-up display screen.
Navigation system only adequately intuitive.
Manual transmission not available in grand touring trim.
Facts & Figures: 2016 Mazda 6
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.6 seconds.
Fuel economy: 28 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway), 32 mpg (combined) six-speed automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $30,195.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.mazda.com.
Price As Tested: $33,395.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“With its roomy cabin, agile handling and impressive fuel economy, the 2016 Mazda 6 is a fine choice for a midsize sedan, especially if you want one with some personality.” — Edmunds.com.
“If you’re looking for a midsize sedan that’s fun to drive, fuel-efficient and stylish, it’s hard to beat the Mazda6.” — Kelley Blue Book.
“If you consider midsize four-door sedans to be simply family cars, you’re probably not a Mazda 6 buyer. If you see no reason why usefulness and family-friendliness need to conflict with good driving behavior, you’re a candidate.” — USA Today.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The midsize sedan segment is chock-full of great cars, the Honda Accord to the relative newcomer Kia Optima. The 2016 Mazda 6 joins the group near or at the top of the list.”
Article Last Updated: June 5, 2015.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.