One of the most difficult new car buying decisions is picking one from the mid-size sedan grouping. With cars like Accord, Altima, Camry, Chrysler 200, Fusion, Legacy, Malibu, Mazda6, Optima, Passat and Sonata the task can be daunting and darn right confusing.
There are just as many ways to pick a favorite as there are cars in the category, too, from tossing a dart, reading the reviews, checking the “Consumer Reports” ratings, or picking the one that has the best price or your favorite color.
We recommend picking a handful of favorites based on what’s important to you and going to the dealers and driving the cars. Spend some time just sitting in them, looking at the features and finding out what fits you and what you like or don’t like. Remember, you may be living with this car along time.
One car that we think deserves your perusal is the Mazda6. We recently spent a week driving the 2015 Mazda6i Grand Touring model. What we found was a stylish, well-built car with some interesting innovations like their new Skyactiv® technology. The concept is not easy to define because it such a broad conglomeration of technologies encompassing the engine, transmission, body and chassis.
The core technologies involve optimizing the internal combustion, reducing friction and cutting weight to improved driving dynamics and safety. This is all done with a charge of always using simple, “green” variants rather than expensive modifications.
The Mazda6 design is a product of KODO “Soul of Motion,” yet another of Mazda’s mysterious Asian nomenclatures. We aren’t certain what KODO means, but it certainly translates to beautiful lines on Mazda’s new generation flagship sedan. From the trademark family grille, over the long hood and exaggerated front fenders to the clean lines and sweeping roofline the body flows back to the broad rear end treatment. The car is striking to see on the street and it has a styling that should last and not looked dated for a long time.
The interior is the essence of simplicity, with a splash of elegance. Controls are well placed for good visibility and ergonomics. The steering wheel is faced with large well positioned control buttons for cruise control, audio and communications functions making them easy to use without the driver having to search. The center console has a control knob that operates the navigation, phone, and vehicle setup and offers redundant audio controls.
The Skyactiv 2.5-liter engine is highly efficient and uses an exceptionally high 13:1 compression ratio for a gasoline engine along with reduced friction technologies and reduced weight. The new Skyactiv four-cylinder engine is good for a 7.8 second 0 to 60 mph time. In a time when fuel economy is often more venerated than performance the new Skyactiv shines with an EPA rating of 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission. This compares to the previous four-cylinder, which was rated at 21/30 mpg.