Another early ’16 arrival, the Mazda6

 

The 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring model rides on 19-inch wheels. (Bud Wells photos)

The 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring model rides on 19-inch wheels. (Bud Wells photos)

Another 2016 model, the Mazda6 midsize sedan carrying an EPA estimate of 40 miles per gallon on the highway, has been sent my way.

It follows last week’s 2016 Kia Sorento crossover SUV. Both will be seen at the 2015 Denver Auto Show, scheduled Wednesday, April 8, through Sunday, April 12, at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver.

A bolder-looking grille and new LED headlamps refresh the front-end for the sleek, front-wheel-drive ’16 Mazda.

With the 40-mpg rating in mind, Jan and I in the Mazda6 left home Saturday morning on a 110-mile roundtrip drive to Aurora. Our destination was the Knights of Columbus Hall on E. Bayaud Avenue for an 80th birthday celebration for Wally Dermer. Dermer, a standout wrestler years ago at Sterling High School, has been an Aurora resident with his wife Janice (Ashby) for more than 50 years.

The Mazda6’s 2.5-liter, SkyActiv direct-injection 4-cylinder engine performed smoothly on U.S. 85, with numerous stoplight slowdowns. It delivers only 184 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque, yet the 4-cylinder is surprisingly strong in low-end acceleration. A button on the console engages Sport setting, which quickens throttle response and shifting with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

Power is from a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

Power is from a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

Fuel-mileage average for the round trip was 34.2. A year ago, with the same type engine, I averaged 33.7. The car will consistently post 29 to 35 mpg averages; during the week I drove the 2016 model, the overall average was 32 mpg.

White parchment leather seats (perhaps overly firm) and trim and a sunroof create a bright interior. A redesign of the dashboard includes a larger 7-inch display screen for the MazdaConnect infotainment system. Rear seating area is roomy and a long trunk space measures 14.8 cubic feet.

Mazda6 uses a regenerative braking system on deceleration which converts kinetic energy to electricity through use of a supercapacitor, reducing some need for alternator output to power electrical accessories.

Sales of the Mazda continue on a steady rise which began with a major restyle two years ago. Still, though, the totals pale in comparison with other midsize models, such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and Chrysler 200.

A head-up display for the driver, radar cruise control, active grille shutters and a lane-departure warning system are features which pushed sticker price of the new Mazda6 to $33,395. Blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, dual front/front side-impact airbags and front and rear side air curtains are included.

Among other amenities are heated front seats, rearview camera and Bose 11-speaker sound system/Bluetooth/USB audio input.

Here are the specifications for the 2016 Mazda6 midsize sedan:

  • Capacity 5-passenger four-door
  • Wheelbase 111.4 inches
  • Length 191.5 inches
  • Width 72.4 inches
  • Height 57.1 inches
  • Curb Weight 3,214 pounds
  • Track 62.4 inches front, 62 rear
  • Ground Clearance 6.4 inches
  • Turn Circle 36.7 feet
  • Drivetrain Front-wheel-drive
  • Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower/Torque 184/185
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Steering power speed-proportional
  • Suspension strut front, multilink rear
  • Fuel mileage estimate 28/40
  • Fuel mileage average 32
  • Fuel Tank 16.4 gallons, premium
  • Wheels 19-inch
  • Tires Dunlop Sport P225/45R19
  • Cargo Volume 14.8 cubic feet
  • Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles basic, 5/60,000 powertrain

Competitors Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chrysler 200, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata

Assembly Plant Hofu, Japan

Parts Content Japan 95%

Base Price of Lowest Model $22,315; Base Price of Review Model $30,195; Destination Charge $820; Sticker Price $33,395.