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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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jcme0557 - 2016 Touring (w/manual transmission)

I love cars. I love driving them. I love walking around kicking their tires. I love talking with other folks who love them too. I'm always interested in what people do to and with their cars. In that spirit, I have wanted to start a forum "timeline" to document my journey with this 2016 Mazda 6 of mine.

I'll begin on a rainy Sunday morning in May...

This is my car sitting on the dealer's lot two days before I bought it. The time stamp on the photo says 9:29am May 29, 2016. It is Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend and there is nobody around. I have driven 3 hours to get to this dealer (they are the closest Mazda dealer with a touring model with the manual transmission I want.)

Manual transmission is the top item on my "must have" list for the new midsize four-door sedan that has been buzzing around my brain for the last 4 or 5 months. To gain that third pedal, I'm willing to forgo such civilities as sun-roof and satellite radio...which my last two cars have had. It doesn't matter, because I've been shift-less for too long and if this is the sacrifice I need to make, then so be it.

The short-list for fun-to-drive midsize sedans with manual gear-boxes is pretty damn short...really only two contenders: Mazda's 6 and the Honda Accord Sport. An internet search reveals white unicorns are more plentiful on the ground than 6-speed Accords. Mazda wins by default. That's OK with me. The car-rags have been singing the praises of the newest M-6 since it's appearance in 2013. They use catch-phrases that are music to my ears: "fun to drive," "true driver's car," "intuitive handling," "perfect balance," etc., etc.

My soul is fertile ground for their siren's song because my last two "grown-up" cars (both reputable mid-sizers from reputable manufacturers) have left me...strangely indifferent. They are decent cars with sporting pretensions and they are...boring. I guess I need to feel engaged with what I drive and I realize I really miss being able to shift gears (a feature of almost every vehicle I've own all my driving life.) I make up my mind to buy a car with a manual transmission. This is why I'm standing in a dealer's lot at 9:30 on a rainy Sunday morning. I'm going to own this car.
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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 10:43 AM
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Nice writing style jcme .


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~ 2014 M6 iTouring ~
- 20" Versante wheels
- Corksport SRI
- Corksport Axel-Back Exhaust
- LED Interior Lighting
- XuJi Black Suede Steering Wheel Cover
- GP Thunder 8500K Xenon Low's/High's
- 35% / 20% Llumar Tint
- VLED rear tail lights & side markers
- Centric cross-drilled brake rotors
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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Nice writing style jcme .
Thanks Horn17, kind of you to say so.


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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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May 31, 2016...

Its 4:30 on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. I have arrived home with this strange new car. My wife takes a picture.

What are my initial observations?

Pro: I love the look. I love the handling. I love the 6-speed manual gearbox. The car feels taught and planted, without being harsh or crude...its a very sophisticated ride. I like having a normally aspirated engine that can be revved to red-line. There is the faintest hint of a growl from under the hood. It sounds like there might be a willing play-mate living somewhere down in there?

Con: The 6's cabin is less spacious that the car its replaced. The instruments and controls have a "Japanese production cost-saving" feel to them...its not bad, its just a notch below the quality of its predecessor. I miss satellite radio and I miss having a sunroof to open on a beautiful spring afternoon. I drive home listening to the local FM stations along my route.

When I get home, I immediately order several Mazda OE accessories to help me get over my feelings of "equipment deprivation." Factory fog lights, a navigation card, and the auto-dimming mirror with home-link, will make my 6 feel a little less like a lower mid-range trim model and a little more like "mine."

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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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June 5, 2016...


While I wait for the OE accessories I'd ordered to show, I've been entertaining myself getting to know the Mazda. One of my new car rituals is reading the owners manual and making notes of stuff that I'll find useful in future days (oil specs and capacity, tire pressure, bulb specs, etc.) That gets me thinking...I have some left over LED bulbs from other projects.

I grab some tools and find that I can replace my map lights, door "puddle lights" and license plate lights from my LED collection. Nice. The LED's add a modern quality feel to the interior. I also have some Sylvania Silverstar incandescent bulbs that replace the back-up lights. Its pleasant and engaging to tinker with my new car. It makes the Mazda feel more like an old friend.
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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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June 11, 2016...

The three Mazda OE accessories I ordered appear:

- Fog lights,
- Auto dimming mirror,
- Navigation card


There is something about fog (or any aux. lights, really) that give a car a 'sporty purposeful' feel for me. (Probably, it has to do with growing up in the '70's when it seemed all the cool European cars sported big Cibie' or Hella lights.) Not to mention, the extra light is always welcome up here, where I live.


The Mazda fog light kit is good quality and pretty easy to install. All the wiring (with the exception of the upgraded column light stalk and switch - included with the Mazda kit, btw) is already in the car. I followed the instructions that came in the box and the DIY here on the forum. Only hiccup...I had to go back in and modify the brackets slightly (so I could re-adjust the lamps upward) to get any meaningful light projection. The stock bulbs were also replaced with some H11 Silverstars I had in my bulb collection.


I got the Mazda auto-dimming mirror mostly because of the integral 'HomeLink' buttons. We have a bunch of door openers at our house. I start to run out of visor room for all those remotes!

The install for this little piece is also pretty easy. (Most of these Mazda accessories are designed and sourced so that the dealer can install them quickly and easily, using the tech apprentice or wash boy to do the job.) The hardest part of this install - for me - is getting the A-pillar trim off in one piece without damaging any of the fragile plastic parts. Once in, the mirror works pretty well and I love the HomeLink system. (I can even program my one odd-ball garage door opener that isn't available as a replacement.)


Finally, the navigation system. I know, I know...everyone uses Waze on their phones now-a-day. I just really like the convenience of an integrated system. I don't have to fiddle-fart around with my phone or forget my phone or struggle with low battery or whatever. The nav system is there and ready to go and I find it works just fine and dandy.

Install, literally, couldn't be easier. Again, Mazda has everything built into the car. You buy the Sim card (about $350) and plug it in. Done. I think this one is a steal, and highly recommend it.


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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler


Last edited by jcme0557; 01-25-2017 at 08:14 AM.
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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June, 2016...

Satellite Radio.

One of my biggest annoyances with the Mazda 6 is the "trim tax" exacted for wanting to shift your own gears. By this, I mean that the better trim levels (GT or Touring w/tech) are limited to automatic only. Buying a manual transmission means doing without some of the goodies that I've enjoyed on my previous cars...one of these being satellite radio.

I called to cancel my SR subscription shortly after getting my 6. The kind folks at the call center - not wanting to loose one more paying customer to Pandora, etc. - offered me the "free" add-on SR option. (Its actually a reconditioned warranty unit, but hey, free is free.) The kit consistes of the radio unit, antenna, power supply and assorted cables. All that is needed was installation.

I mounted the antenna on the trailing edge of the roof and ran the cable down the driver' side glass seal channel, into the trunk, up the DS rear seat/door trim, and into the center console. I tapped power from the front accessory plug (because that is switch on/off with the engine - vs. the arm rest cubby plug, which is hot all the time.) There really isn't a good place to put the radio unit itself in my crowded cabin, without it looking "tacky add-on." I tried mounting it in the little recess at bottom of the center stack next to the accessory outlet. It almost fit...but, not quite. That location was ok, but took away some of the badly needed space to toss things. Also, even on its lowest setting, that radio's illumination was pretty bright in the cabin at night. I finally ended up routing everything into the arm rest cubby. Its not ideal. (There's some awkward fiddling needed to change channels and you can't readily see the artist and song titles.) However, the cabin isn't so cluttered feeling and its a cleaner install, IMO.)


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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 07:29 PM
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Great thread! I have pretty much the same car
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2017 Mazda6 Touring MT - Soul Red
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Great thread! I have pretty much the same car
Thanks. It's a pretty great car, isn't it?

You're getting some great gas mileage too...especially for wintertime.


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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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June, 2016...

WeatherTech Floor Mats -

I tend to forget about these. They lie just under my feet, doing their job silently day in and day out...and, they are fantastic! I have had WeatherTech's in every vehicle I've owned for many years.

I live in a harsh part of the world. Winter is literally 6 months long. The rest of the year is wet, muddy, and dusty. These mats take everything my feet can throw at them...and, let me tell you, I'm tough on cars mats! (I've worn holes in OE rubber mats and destroyed carpeted mats in a matter of weeks.) The 5 year old WeatherTech's in my pick up are still going strong. Nobody would mistake them for brand new, but they're solid and clean up nice. They also don't get "droopy" or start to roll their edges - like other brands. They are an excellent product and I heartily recommend them.


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2016 Mazda 6 Touring (w/6-speed manual transmission)
OE fog lights/navigation card/auto-dimming mirror/
Tanabe front strut bar/
Orange Virus 91-octane tune/Racing Beat rear muffler

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