2015 Mazda6i GT Test Drive

?2015 Mazda6i?GT Sedan?

A highly desirable Mid-size Sporty Sedan
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Mid-size sedans happen to represent the core of the sedan market due to their?just right packaging and comfortable?seating for five passengers ? they?re not too small and they?re not too big – they are more practical than a sports car but not overly bulky, especially when compared to large SUVs.? The 2015 Mazda6i Grand Touring sedan is such a vehicle. Other factors to consider is that pricing is within the financial reach of the majority of value-minded consumers means and the fuel economy ratings fall within an environmentally sound range.? The 2015 Mazda6i?GT 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 2014 Mazda6i was the second production vehicle to feature the full suite of SKYACTIV 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 the front collision-detecting Smart City Brake Support system make their first appearance in North America.
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New for the 2015 model year is the Bose?/Moonroof/Satellite Radio Package ($1,325 MSRP), which includes an 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint? Surround Sound System with AudioPilot?, a power moonroof with a one-touch open/close feature and SIRIUS/XM satellite radio with a four-month complimentary subscription.

The Touring Technology Package which sells for $1,550 can only be ordered when combined with the Bose/Moonroof/Satellite Package, which adds a TomTom technology-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates, auto on/off headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink?, an auto-dimming exterior driver?s side mirror, heated exterior side mirrors and Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), a pre-crash avoidance safety feature.

SCBS is an added safety component that?s designed to assist drivers in reducing the extent of front collisions when traveling at speeds between 2 and 19 miles per hour.? When the imbedded laser sensor detects an obtrusive object ahead of the vehicle and the system calculates there may be a high risk for collision, the brake pedal travel is reduced in order to hasten braking, and if? the driver fails to perform an avoidance maneuver, the SCBS system activates an automatic braking function.

The Grand Touring is considered the high-level trim, and includes all the equipment features of the Touring trim with both the Bose/Moonroof/Satellite Package and Touring Technology Package.? Starting at $29,895 MSRP, additional features include: 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a Platinum Silver finish; a rear lip spoiler; bi-xenon HID headlights with auto leveling; LED daytime running lights; halogen fog lights; leather-trimmed sport seats with variable-setting heated front seats; an eight-way power driver?s seat with power lumbar support; a four-way power front passenger seat; steering wheel paddle shifters; an alarm system; and an Adaptive Front-lighting System. All Grand Touring models are equipped with an automatic transmission.

A Grand Touring Technology Package priced at $2,080 is available and comes with Mazda Radar Cruise Control Forward Obstruction Warning, a Lane Departure Warning System, High Beam Control, i-ELOOP and active grille shutters.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Mazda6i Grand Touring models is EPA rated at 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway. SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, was developed solely by Mazda, and is an umbrella term for a host of performance-oriented, fuel-saving engine, transmission, body and chassis componentry, that was introduced?in the 2012 Mazda3 compact car, and fully-incorporated into the 2013 CX-5 compact SUV. The Mazda6 underwent a redesign for the 2014 model year and the 2015 lineup will be primarily a carryover in terms of styling.

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Powering the 2015 Mazda6i?GT sedan is a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine that makes 184 horses at 5,700 rpm along with 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm.? This race-car-high compression ratio gasoline engine (13:1 ) delivers eight percent more horsepower and nearly 11 percent more torque than the MZR 2.5-liter gasoline engine that it replaced.? The engine is standard fare for all trim levels. The 2.5-liter engine 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.

The 2015 Mazda6i still showcases the KODO ?Soul of Motion? design language, first expressed on the SHINARI Concept vehicle, matching nearly every sinuous sheet metal curve of its conceptual twin the TAKERI Concept.? The Mazda6 displays an elongated cab-rearward stance, muscular fenders and gracefully sweeping character lines, for an elegant and dynamic profile. Up front is the new?familial five-point chrome ?signature wing,? front grille that makes for a commanding presence without being overwhelming.?Further exuding a fluid design form, the chrome strikes beyond the grille continue into the eagle-eye shaped headlamps.?Nestled within its black horizontal lines and flanked by piano black top-line trim is Mazda?s badge prominently displayed.? The lower front fascia evokes a strong chin with accompanying fog lights (when so equipped) ensconced within deep-set eyelids.

Beginning with the substantial hood and continuing along the pronounced front fenders is a bold character crease, curving and twisting itself across the A-pillar as another sweeping stroke of the metal emerges to proceed toward the rear.? A third crease subtly surfaces to readjust the muscular tone into the stylized tail lamps before blending into the ?signature wing?-matching chrome piece of the deck lid. The 2015 Mazda6 is exceptionally sleek with a drag coefficient as low as 0.26 (Grand Touring only).

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The 2015 Mazda6i?GT sits on a 111.4-inch long wheelbase, with an overall length of 191.5 inches. The lean, sculptured body rolls on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires, (standard for Sport models).?Touring and Grand Touring models move up to 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels shod with P225/45R19 Dunlop? SP Sport 5000 all-season rubber.

Moving to the inside, the fluidity of the exterior flows seamlessly into the interior?s styling.? The cabin features driver-oriented intuitive functions, matched with well-placed operational controls. Repetitive function controls provide consumers with a variety of options based on their operational preferences, – voice control, touch screen, button pushing or knob turning, such as the available all-new commander-switch feature situated within the center console.

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The dash is contoured and uncluttered, though still striking, with warm textures and high-quality surfaces in the form of soft-touch surfaces, such as cloth or leather features along the door panels.? A dark satin finish appears on knobs and switches, making controls easier to locate as well as adding a distinctive design element. The instrument cluster offers meter lighting that makes the gauges legible in bright daylight as well as minimizing eyestrain in darkness.? The three-spoke racing-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel will appeal to enthusiasts while offering standard functional features such as a tilt-and-telescopic adjustable column with steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and paddle shifters on models equipped with automatic transmissions.

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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 2015 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. The system can then articulate the messages as well as allowing users to send replies using fixed phrases.? A new speech recognition system allows users to repeat and shuffle audio tracks as well as search and select folders.?HD Radio? Technology and Pandora? are both new audio options for the 2014 Mazda6.

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 2014 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 2015 Mazda6i sedan came in Grand Touring trim, with the 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic gearbox and finished outside in Crystal Blue metallic and inside in Almond-toned leather with Charcoal trim accents. The base sticker was set at $ 29,895 while options and delivery charges bumped the final price tag to $33,045.

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SUMMARY: The 2015 Mazda6i 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 th6-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 GT 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.
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Base Price: $29,895.
Price as Tested: $33,045.
Engine Type and Size: SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with VVT and Direct Fuel Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 184 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 185 @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic with electronic lockup torque converter.
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,
Tires: Dunlop SP Sport 5000 P225/45 R19 92W mounted on 5-(rotary) spoke 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: 3,232 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 16.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26 mpg city / 38 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.26
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

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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 as well.

 

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