A Tale of 3 Mazdas: Mazda3 S 5-Door Grand Touring, CX-3 AWD Grand Touring, Mazda6 – Review

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2016 Mazda Mazda6

All new in 2014, the Mazda’s flagship sedan has received somewhat of a refresh for the 2016 model year. This includes a new look to the dashboard and center console with a driver-oriented cockpit that includes Mazda’s interesting head-up display, higher quality soft materials, and really bright interior lights (bring your Ray-Bans). Changes to the exterior include a new front grille, the addition of the Kodo signature wing design, and new LED headlamps that make an elegant statement when driving up.

The Mazda6 has some of the most comfortable and supportive seats we’ve seen in cars at any price and its superb road manners make it a great Autobahn cruiser, while it takes curves and twisties with great aplomb. Somewhat surprisingly, despite being the largest of the three Mazdas we tested, it got the best fuel economy of the bunch on the highway, with an EPA rating of 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km).

Our Titanium Flash short-term press car came with a striking parchment leather interior that is only available in the top-of-the-line Grand Touring version. There’s a compromise here, however: the Grand Touring model is only available as an automatic, a shame because we do like the SkyActiv 6-speed manual transmission.

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The GT Technology package adds many useful driver assistance tools including automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. It also comes with Mazda’s new i-Eloop system (the name, Mazda explains, is derived from Intelligent Energy Loop). Essentially, it is a capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system that does away with the separate (and typically large) electric motor and separate battery that most hybrids use. Because it is capacitor based, it can charge and discharge millions of times without any deterioration in its storage capacity. The Mazda6 was the first car in the U.S. to receive this technology.

BOTTOM LINE

Inside and out, the three Mazdas we looked at– the Mazda3, the CX-3, and the Mazda6 – clearly derive from the same parentage and DNA with strikingly good looks, clean design, a good user interface for the driver’s controls, and a self-confident stance that takes the car from your garage to “zoom zoom zoom” excitement.

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