Mazda6: One Year Later.

October 10, 2015: I bought a 2016 Mazda6 i Touring sedan, in what Mazda calls “Deep Crystal Blue.” It had a whopping six miles on the odometer and we took it home for around $100.00 over invoice.

October 27, 2016: The car has just over 12,000 miles and I have decided to do a one-year review in addition to the other review I did shortly after buying the car (see below).

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Let’s start with what I don’t like about the car, since that list is fortunately a lot shorter than the list of what I do like.

1. The seats are a bit narrow. Not excessively so, but I don’t think Mazda understands the width of the average fat American ass.

2. The roofline is a bit low, so getting in and out of the driver’s seat requires me to duck my head quite a bit more than it did in my previous car (a 2008 Mazda3 hatchback). I’m only 5"10, but I have hit my head on the roofline getting in the car.

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3. There’s a bit more road noise on bad road surfaces than you’d see in a Camry. But, it’s not as excessive as many publications would lead you to believe. In fact, I drove a Lincoln MKX to the beach a week ago and even with new tires (Goodyears), it had just as much if not more road noise than my 6.

Now, the good.

First of all, look at it!

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It’s honestly one of the best looking family sedans around, in my opinion. I dig the interior design, too. Even the universally panned radio that protrudes from the dash a bit.

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Second, the drive. The car handles every bit as good as you would expect a Mazda to, and then some. It holds on to corners for dear life and the steering is incredibly light and communicative. The six-speed automatic (get over it, manual lovers) is buttery smooth during a normal commute but very taut and responsive when the car is put into “sport” mode.

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Third, the fuel economy. I’m averaging a solid 28 MPG in virtually all city driving. My commute to work is eight miles, with five of those eight miles either stopped at red lights or crawling along at speeds of 35 MPH or below. I also use the a/c a lot in the summer, because it is ice cold and I am fat. Us fat guys get hot more quickly than skinny fellows, but I digress. I have also seen as high as 39.5 MPG on a road trip.

Fourth, the reliability. I’ve had exactly one problem with the car since I bought it. The upholstery on the driver’s seat started to flake and peel off for some reason. Two spots each the size of my pinky nail. No one at the dealer had ever heard of this, nor could I find similar reports of it online. Mine was truly just a fluke. My car is a mid-level Touring model, so it is equipped with “leatherette” (vinyl) seats. This small seat issue was fixed under warranty and has not reappeared.

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Fifth, the power. This 2.5 SkyActiv four-cylinder has 184 horsepower. On paper, that’s not much. I admit it. But on the road, it’s more than enough. I have never found myself wanting for power when driving this car. It has more than enough passing power, has a decent growl to it (an added bonus) and does 0-60 in seven seconds flat. It is quicker than all comparable automatic four-cylinder mid-sizers, topping out at 130 MPH according to Car & Driver.

The main issue is that the 6 doesn’t have an optional bigger engine, unlike the Accord and Camry (which can be, but never are, ordered with a V6). I am hoping the turbo’ed version of the 2.5 (found in the new CX-9) becomes an option for the 6 in the future.

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The car is composed at speed and during my boring commute. It’s comfortable for long trips, even with its narrow seats. The trunk is huge, and the rear seat has plenty of room for a baby seat (our first child is due this February). We proved that by hauling my friend’s kid:

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Add to the mix the fact that it is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and it becomes an excellent “dad car.”

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. I wish I’d have had the money for a Grand Touring model, but really, the only features the Grand Touring has that my Touring doesn’t (that I’d even be interested in) are heated seats and the automatic braking that comes with the intelligent cruise control (included within the “Technology” Package that can be adding to the Touring or Grand Touring). Heated seats would be nice because the leatherette is pretty cold during the Kentucky winter, but the car is garage kept, so that helps.

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The Bose stereo this car has (part of the sunroof package added to it) is decent. Bose isn’t known for good car audio, but I am not an audiophile by any means. I just need something to sound good enough to enjoy. And this does. Of course, it has Bluetooth, dual USB ports, and an auxiliary port.

There are also rear HVAC vents, a relative rarity in a car this size only a few years ago but becoming more commonplace now.

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So, in a nutshell, that’s my 6. And my thoughts on it. If you’re in the market for a midsize sedan, give the 6 a look. Sure, it’s no Accord, but that can be a good thing if you want something capable but also different, and reliable but also fun to drive. Plus, Mazda is often more willing to budge on price (of course, all depending on the dealer). Hence why we got a then-new (fresh off the truck) 2016 for $100.00 over invoice!

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