2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring review: The improvements keep coming

Raw power is not what Mazda products are about. The Mazda6’s 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine generates only 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, but that’s enough to insure driving fun, whether accompanied by a 6-speed manual transmission on the Sport or Touring trims, or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters that was standard on the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring test car.

A Mazda6 with automatic transmission can make the leap from a stop to 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds, and a manual-transmission model can make the run in about 8 seconds.

Mazda6 front seats

Mazda6 front seats

Of course, fuel efficiency is a prime consideration, too. The EPA estimates that the Mazda6 will average 27 miles per gallon of regular-grade gasoline around town and 35 mpg on the open road. In my week with the car I averaged a tad over 31 mpg.

Unless it is explained, a buyer may never actually realize that the 2017 Mazda contains a new feature known as G-Vectoring Control. Stated simply, it improves steering stability, minimizing the need for on-road steering corrections. Here again is an upgrade to make the sedan more enjoyable for the driver.

I cannot say that I noticed G-Vectoring Control in operation, but I certainly was able to discern that this car is a lot more fun than many similarly sized sedans on the curvy two-lane back roads.It zips along with precise steering responses and no excess body lean.

Mazda6 rear seating

Mazda6 rear seating

While the exterior is unchanged, there are numerous improvements to the car’s interior. Perhaps most important, it has been made quieter with the use of laminated glass, quieter doors, fortified seals and weather stripping and noise-reducing material in the headliner.

In addition, there is now a full-color information display and the heads-up display that beams the vehicle’s speed in the windshield has been upgraded.

An optional Premium Package ($2,500) includes Nappa leather upholstery, a black headliner, heated outboard rear seats and a new, heated steering wheel.

Standard luxury features include the Mazda Connect infotainment system, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio system,navigation, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, sunroof, heated front seats and an 11-speaker premium sound system with available satellite radio.

A comprehensive list of safety features includes airbags, side curtains, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, stability control, traction control, hill-launch assist, blind-spot monitor, rearview camera, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with automatic brake assist, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.