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An update to my original review.
I'm over 2 years in and I have to say, I'm a believer in Mazda's approach!
- Engine loves to be wrung out.
- Shift paddles and Xuji wheel wrap are great upgrades. Make me feel more connected and engaged with the car. Now using manual mode 95% of time. Mazda should offer better paddles like the Kenstyle or what's currently available on Alfa Giulia. Paddles really made a difference in how I drive the car and ultimately what unlocked the magic of this car. Driving this car in full auto really doesn't do it justice. I only use auto in traffic or on highway and with the excellent intelligent cruise system. Makes for a great highway cruiser.
- Fuel economy be damned (I'm averaging 25mpg but don't care), this car wants to be beaten and it rewards you. I put 93 in it during summer months and 87 once it gets cold. I believe 93 makes a difference when its warm to hot out. Still an annoying hesitation around 2K rpm, but when you keep it between 2.8 and 5.8K it's a freaking blast.
- Gearing in manual mode is perfectly suited for this engine. And the transmission is quick and knows when to slip just enough to make a shift jarring and exciting.
- Exhaust maybe quiet but induction noise is intoxicating when your in the 2.8-5.8K sweet spot.
- This chassis is wonderful. Really, really freaking wonderful. Between the very willing engine and agile chassis, the 6 sticks to Mazda's philosophy of the fun of Driving, and not just smashing the throttle in a straight line. It's been said countless times before, this is not a car you buy for horsepower but BALANCE!!
- New Yokohama Advan S-Drive are a perfect match to the 6. Tried Michelin Pilot AS3s but they were too stiff-riding. Felt every pothole. The Michelins also wore out within 15K miles. Yokos really complement the 6 chassis with excellent road holding, steering response, along with a quiet and a supple ride over less than perfect roads.
- Interior continues to impress me. Even more since I figured out how to disable ADD (i.e. HUD). Without that cheap sail sticking up, the lines of the dashboard really pop. And the majority of plastics feel good.
- This continues to be the most comfortable and ergonomically satisfying car I've owned. Seats are fantastic after they break in. Thigh support is excellent for my 6'2", 205lb frame.
- And after 25K there are zero rattles and creaks across temperature extremes in New England.
My gripes still hold from my initial review.
- Cheap feeling doors and handles.
- Cost cutting in areas that you interact with like steering wheel and paddles (which I fixed)
- HUD which I fixed.
- Inability to vent hot car by lowering windows with key fob.
- Poor attention to some details. For instance car allows windows to close 30 seconds after ignition is off, however sunroof doesn't follow this rule. Have to turn car on again if you forget to close sunroof.
- "Leaving Home" doesn't work when lights are in "Auto" mode (which I believe was fixed with 2017).
- Give me back the super cool sensor on the door handle instead of that cheap black button for keyless entry! This is your flagship sedan!
- Black headliner option (fixed with 2017)
- Better NVH (improved for 2017)
I'm no longer going to complain about power or lack of AWD. Like I said, I've grown into a big believer in what the 6 is and this car just gets better as the miles increase. Over 25K miles and everything about the steering/engine/performance has improved. Mazda's focus on real world performance like throttle response and chassis dynamics really come together to make this a extremely fun daily driver. Keeping the engine in its sweet spot and hearing the intake noise along with the crisp and fast tranny is incredibly involving. But you got to drive the snot out of it to appreciate the brilliant sum of the 6's parts. In hindsight, the 6's character Isn't surprising in light of what I experienced with every other Mazda I've owned. All of those cars had the same dual personality: competent daily that felt underpowered and a little meh until you whipped it. The difference now is that the Skyactiv architecture has laser focus on Mazda DNA while smoothing out all the rough edges that were a side-effect of Ford parts and their partnership.
Bottom line I'll probably get a 2017.5 Machine Gray/black interior with Premium when my current lease is up early next year. That will give me just enough time until the redesigned 6 comes out and has a couple of years of bug-fixing and refinement.
I also recently test drove an Acura TLX A-spec. It was a nice car. Solidly built with nice tech and a lot of the features I always wanted in the 6 (e.g. 6 cylinder and AWD). Arguably Acura also paid attention to more of the details like higher quality door handles with capacitive touch in the handle for keyless entry and controlling windows from the key fob to vent a hot car.
But Acura also got some things wrong in the context of a sports sedan that is suppose to be engaging to drive. The new push button tranny is something I could get used to if Acura didn't cheap out on the shift paddles. They no longer use the EXCELLENT column mounted aluminum paddles but cheap plastic parts that come across as an afterthought. The car also doesn't feel as tossable or (believe it or not) as quick as the 6. I think the quickness is more related to throttle response and overall engagement. You get into a car like the TLX and you realize why Mazda chooses to build cars the way they do. The TLX may have better NVH and "feel" more solidly built. But this characteristic as executed by Acura makes the car feel bloated and uninvolving. Oh and for all their adjustability, the seats aren't as comfortable and supportive as the 6. Interior also feels cramped. Jumping back in my 6 I felt at home. Comfortable, supported and behind the wheel of a subjectively more engaging-to-drive car.
If Mazda can get a bit more "premium" into the 6 without killing the feel, they will give Acura a run for its money from enthusiasts point of view. Especially when the TLX is over 10K more.
Overall I'm a happy camper and feel like Mazda really has a package that will steal premium brand sales. I can't wait until the new design, but won't mind waiting with a 2017.5. And if I find that I can't rationalize buying the new design. I'll be happy driving the wheels off the 2017.5.
2018 Machine Gray Mazda6 Signature
2010 Mazda CX-9 GT Dolphin w/Nav