For a midsize sedan, the 2015 Mazda6 deserves more recognition.
It is sporty and economical.
It is roomy and safe.
It is the first to wear Mazda's new KODO design elements that include a bold front fascia with a five-point "signature wing," elongated hood, cab-forward proportions and chiseled steel panels that suggests power and elegance before the gas pedal is even floored to go.
The base price of $21,170 includes basic amenities such as power door locks and exterior mirrors, air conditioning with pollen filter, cruise control, remote keyless entry, push button start, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, rear window defogger, intermittent wipers and a sound system serving AM-FM radio plus compact disc and MP3 players, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack. Redundant audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel.
This year Mazda has added four power windows with all four express up and down to the Mazda6 standard fare list.
There are three trim levels and they are Sport (base), $23,845 Touring and $29,895 Grand Touring. All three levels share the same Skyactiv 2.5-liter, direct injection, chain-driven dual overhead cams, 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Consumers have a choice of either the SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic or SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual.
The Mazda6 is also the first production vehicle to feature Mazda's capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP that provides power to all the electrical mechanisms in a vehicle.
It is an optional system that is lumped into a $2,000 technology package that also includes radar cruise control, automatic high beam control, forward obstruction and lane departure systems and grille shutters (open and close, depending on engine temperature, for the purpose of fuel usage). In essence what i-Eloop does is capture energy while decelerating and then stores it for use while, say, at a stop sign or idling in a parking lot. The stored energy powers air conditioning, lights and other accessories for about a minute.
A Grand Touring model with i-Eloop was tested recently and, with two adults aboard, averaged 32.4 mpg. Regular gasoline is recommended for the 16.4-gallon tank.
From a front-quarter perspective and without looking at the badging, the Mazda6 looks like a Jaguar. Put a leaping cat on the hood as an ornament and, viewed from the side, it would be hard to tell the difference.
Although not a higher priced sport sedan, the Mazda6 with its four-cylinder engine has been timed from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.8 seconds. Not bad. Braking from 60 mpg to 0 on dry pavement takes a distance of slightly less than 130 feet. Brakes are discs with single calipers and measure 11.7 inches in front and 10.9 inches in the rear.
The Grand Touring's price reflects leather (not leatherette) seating surfaces, power and heated front seats with memory for the driver, an 11-speaker (instead of six) Bose sound system, SiriusXM satellie radio, navigation system, heated exterior mirrors with inset turn lamps, power moonroof, halogen front fot
lights, P225 radial tires mounted on 19-inch (not 17) platinum silver-painted aluminum alloy wheels, LED running lights, rear spoiler and adaptive bixenon headlights. These headlights turn (up to 15 degrees) as the car travels through curves.
The ride is firm if not too firm as the Mazda6 is built for sport as well as soft riding pleasure. For persons of normal height (5-feet, 3-inches to 6-feet, 3 inches), leg room is ample in the front or rear seats of the 2015 Mazda6. Storage space measures 14.8 cubic feet in the 2015 Mazda6 sedan.
Besides the usual standard safety features of stability and traction controls, antilock brakes, front-side-overhead airbags and a tire pressure monitor, the Grand Touring model has blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert systems.
An all-new safety component called Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) will be offered and is designed to assist a driver in avoiding front collisions when traveling at speeds of less than 20 miles per hour.
Assembled in Japan, warranty coverage is three years or 36,000 miles with 24-hour roadside assistance, and five years or 60,000 miles on the powertrain.
Mazda's Skyactiv-G direct injection engine is today's variant of the 2011 original. The result is the same. More power from less use of fuel. In fact, engines with an automatic transmission will have a high (13.0:1) compression ratio without relying on premium fuel. The compression ratio results in better performance without sacrificing economy.