Ordinary has never seemed so extraordinary
It is an ordinary car, extraordinarily well done. Put another way, it is something discernibly and appreciatively above normal.
It is safe, comfortable, attractive and enjoyable to drive — especially in suburban-urban daily commuter traffic, where it also is economically sensible at a regulargrade gasoline highway mileage of 35 miles per gallon.
It offers reasonably affordable financing at a total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $34,530, including options such as Nappa leather upholstery.
Mazda, the manufacturer of this week’s subject sedan, the midsize 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring, has done something clever here.
“Premium” items are presented as “Standard” equipment on the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring sedan. That means the car comes with “standard” items that are normally sold as functionally desirable “options” everywhere else — things such as a rearview camera, lane-keeping assistance and lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beam control (which works perfectly on very dark roads), and “city brakes” that automatically stop or slow the car to prevent injury to pedestrians or collisions with vehicles emerging from side streets.
The items marketed as “standard” on the M6 Grand Touring substantially raise the price of that model above the base M6 Sport, which starts at $24,195 with onboard navigation and 19-inch radius alloy wheels. With 17-inch wheels, the base M6 buyer can start as low as $22,345.
Models include three trim levels — the base M6 Sport, mid-grade Touring and top-level Grand Touring.
The extra advanced electronic safety items and the higher price of the Grand Touring model are worth it. A long highway drive in the car on a day of inclement weather proves as much.
What is wrong with people? Are traffic safety signs so easily ignored? Does 55 miles per hour really mean 80 miles per hour is okay, especially on a foggy and rain-slicked road? Does a lane demarcated by double white lines mean that it can be crossed at any time — bad enough — and done without any signal warning? Is it okay for one driver to slice/ cut in front of another, sans signal, and suddenly stop because the intrusive maneuver was too fast to safely follow a leading vehicle?
The Mazda6 Grand Touring safely, effectively and calmly handles all of those daily traffic menaces with the welcome aid of the advanced electronic safety warnings. That means more to me than zoom-zoom driving performance.
It is reasonably competent in the latter regard, albeit unimpressive for someone who wants automotive performance engineered to dominate a racetrack. The M6 Grand Touring, despite its lofty name, is not built for that. It is an ordinary car — an accessible, affordable and reliable sedan that will serve a small, working family well.
It has power enough — a 2.5 liter, gasoline four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower, 185 pound-feet of torque). It is fast enough to enter any highway and safely change most lanes. Power to the front-wheel-drive is transmitted through a standard, traditional six-speed manual transmission, or to a six-speed automatic that also can be operated manually.
It is a totally satisfying automobile — well-made, reasonably priced, wellequipped and well-presented. It will get you where you are going in enjoyable transit.
It is an accessible, affordable and reliable sedan that will serve a working family well.