“Ah, Christmas. The most wonderful time of year, but also the busiest. That’s why when this beautiful and festive soul red Mazda 6 showed up at my door, I thought I had received an early Christmas present, and I certainly couldn’t wait to dive into Christmas shopping Mazda style!”
The Mazda 6 Grand Touring closely follows Mazda’s DNA of delivering well-finished and refined cars at a price-point that won’t break the bank. All of this Mazda goodness is wrapped up in a sporty package that remains mature enough to fit right in at the country club, yet sporty enough for your local car meet. But this time, my mission was to tackle day to day life during the most hectic time of year, and see just how this exciting and functional this sedan fares through the madness of it all. You know, your typical mall parking lots, backed up traffic, and never-ending loads of cargo!
Mission 1: Family Dinner
The First thing on my agenda was to meet up with my parents for dinner—and yes, I insisted that I drive. I was certain this four adult scenario would highlight the spacious accommodations of the 6. I was right.
Both of my parents are about 5’9 or so, and we were all very impressed at how well they fit in the backseat without the slightest hint of feeling cramped. This is specially remarkable considering my Mom sat behind my husband, who happens to be 6’2 and had his seat configured just the way he liked it. A family that doesn’t compromise on legroom, is a happy family.
This really blew me away, because from the exterior, the Mazda 6 just doesn’t have the appearance of a large vehicle. The swooping body lines work very well to camouflage this sedan into something sleek and fit, and not big and bloated like many others on the market. It’s that Kodo state-of-mind.
Once the parents were dropped off, I really got a chance to perform an in-depth test of all technology stuffed into this 33-grand sedan. I quickly opted for some of my favorite country roads, which were a perfect setting to enjoy the incredible Xenon headlights, which not only emit a nice and clear beam, but also turn along with the car, which meant no crazy surprises as I drove the back roads to my parents house. Another highlight was the automatic high-beam system, which automatically leaves the high-beams on until the car detects another incoming light source.
As someone that lives in the Texas Hill Country, where there aren’t street lights on the majority of the roads, these features were instant favorites—specially during this time of year when deer are breeding and aren’t necessarily using their brains to their maximum capacity!
Mission 2: Mall Takeover
With my best-friend Lisa in tow, it was time to own the mall. Unfortunately for us, everyone shared the same idea, so traffic less than desirable.
This is when the radar cruise control came in handy. With traffic bouncing from 70mph to 30mph, and up and down, and up and down again, I set the radar cruise control and let the 6 deal with it. The system managed it just fine, and it didn’t feel jerky or artificial at any point.
What else is there to do in traffic? Jam out to our favorite tunes of course! I loved the ergonomic design of the infotainment system, which has its main control knob located in front of the of the center console, and found it very easy and natural for the driver and passenger to operate. I think it’s important to note that this isn’t one of those infotainment systems which you have to spend endless hours learning, or reading the owner’s manual. (I’m looking at you, Mercedes and BMW) It’s easy-breezy…
The Bose Premium Sound system is clear and crisp, and made for the perfect backdrop to our obnoxiously loud singing. After all, what better way to pass the time while stuck in traffic, right?
Once we got to the mall, we encountered the one thing that brings out the Grinch in us all—crowded parking lots. Luckily, the Mazda 6 is equipped with rear cross traffic alert, which is a high-tech safety system that emits a loud beep, as well as an image on the backup camera when reverse is engaged, and a vehicle is approaching from the side. This came in specially handy because half the time these cars are out of sight while backing up. A crowded parking lot was the perfect place to take advantage of this feature.
Once we did damage to our wallets and our debit cards were smoking from all the abuse, it was time to load her up! The Mazda 6 has an impressive 14.8cu. fit of cargo space, which meant we could do tons and tons of shopping and not run out of room. One thing that was very helpful were the cubbies on the sides of the trunk, they came in handy with objects that were fragile and prevented them from rolling about the cargo area.
Mission 3: Zoom Zoom
In Texas we are blessed with mild winters, clear skies and blissful weather in general, and so far this winter hasn’t been the exception.
What better to do with a gorgeous car than to go for a cruise! My biggest complaint with most “adult” cars is the numb and unresponsive steering feel, which makes me feel unconnected from the road and uninspired overall. This is where the Mazda 6 truly impressed me. The steering is responsive without being evasive, and I could always feel the road without it being too harsh.
The suspension offers a sporty and stout feel without being uncomfortable or painful. Mazda really hit the mark and made this car sporty enough to appeal to the younger crowed, but not overly sporty to segregate the older folks.
This Mazda felt at home while tackling twists and turns with ease, and there were moments when I forgot I was driving a four-door family car! This 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine is more than happy to show you what its got, and without sacrificing economy of course. The EPA rates the Mazda 6 at 26mpg city and 38 mpg highway, but with my slightly aggressive driving habits, I averaged 27 mpg combined during my test.
Mission 4: A visit from Santa
While hanging out, we heard a knock at the door. Who could it be? The big man in red himself!
It turns out Santa was in town at his summer home in Boerne, Texas catching some rays the weekend before his big day comes. While passing through the neighborhood to see who’s naughty or nice, he couldn’t help but notice how well the soul red paint and parchment interior matched his entire ensemble, so he insisted he take a look.
Santa also mentioned he is in the market for a daily driver, since taking reindeer everywhere can be quite the chore at times. Who can say no to Santa? Of course we agreed to let him take a look!
After doing a quick test to see how many presents could fit in the trunk, and making sure his jolly belly fit in the driver’s seat, Santa was sold! Santa noticed the navigation system would come in handy with finding his way to all of the houses he has to visit. He thanked my husband and I, and he assured us that no coal would be found in our stockings this year!
Mission 5: Say Farewell
Unfortunately, my week long present of getting to drive this beauty around town had come to a close. Maybe, one day, Santa will remember our time spent with him, and I’ll find the keys to a Snowflake White Pearl Mazda 6 under my tree. (I not so subtly mentioned so to him)
- Base Price: $21,495
- Price as Tested: $33,750
- Fun to drive!
- Comfortably fits four adults while maintaining a sporty appearance.
- Easy to use infotainment system.
- The Lane Departure Warning system can be a bit finicky on older roads.
Kari. “When not tinkering on my car, I’m endlessly rambling about auto-news to my very patient husband who tolerates it for hours on end. I’ve owned everything from a Tacoma to a Benz, and I now have a 2014 Scion FR-S to play with, which you may spot at The Circuit of Americas parking lot while I’m yelling at the top of my lungs.”