by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
The 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring mid-size family sedan has gotten better again.
Not sure when the bar has been raised so high it can’t be cleared, but Mazda engineers are obviously up to the challenge. It’s no easy task since the Mazda6i has earned accolades around the world.
This time it’s the introduction of Mazda’s exclusive – and standard – G-Vectoring Control vehicle dynamics technology and added sound absorption refinements that steal the show. I never even attempted physics in high school or college, so the layman’s translation will have to suffice.
Wordsmith, maybe. Einstein, no.
The idea is to utilize the engine to enhance chassis performance. It’s the world’s first technology to adjust engine torque in response to steering inputs to control G-forces in all driving scenarios. How this happens, I cannot explain. But the end result is less need for steering corrections and less fatigue on long drives. I’m all for that.
Mazda6 is available in the entry-level Sport trim level with a starting MSRP around $22,000. The next step up is Touring, and then my tester, Grand Touring. Mazda6i seats five adults with adequate leg, shoulder and head room. The trunk is spacious and accommodates full-size golf bags.
My front-wheel drive tester was powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. The combination generates 184-horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Grand Touring trim level includes enough equipment and refinement to surpass many more expensive entry-luxury vehicles.
Standard for the 2017 Mazda6i Grand Touring are navigation, perforated leather-trimmed seats, a newly upgraded, full-color active driving display head-up unit, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power passenger seat, alarm, paddle shifters, LED foglights and lighted signature grille, dark alloy wheels, rear lip spoiler, Mazda radar cruise control and smart city brake support.
New standard features include lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, high beam control and a memory seat that’s integrated to work with the height of the active driving display. All of this is in addition to the features included on the two lower trim levels.
My Mazda6i came with a machined gray metallic paint job and parchment Nappa leather seats. Exterior highlights include 19-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust with bright outlets, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors and an auto-dimming driver-side mirror.
An optional Premium Package”($2,500) bedazzles with a regenerative engine braking system, active grille shutters, shifter LED lighting, heated rear seats and steering wheel, and a black headliner.
Other safety features worthy of note include
anti-lock brakes and brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill-launch assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam control and 24-hour roadside assistance.
You can’t go wrong. Choose a Sport model and save a little cash. Or spoil yourself and drive the Grand Touring (luxury sedan without the pretentious logo).
2017 MAZDA6i GT
BASE PRICE: $30,695
AS TESTED: $34,530
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.