2018 GT: 1st week impressions compared to 2016 model - Mazda 6 Forums : Mazda 6 Forum / Mazda Atenza Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 02:40 PM
JoeB
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2018 GT: 1st week impressions compared to 2016 model

Hi all, I'm new to the forum and don't typically post in forums but feel compelled to share my impressions of the 2018 M6 GT to help those who labor over making a car decision as I do. A quick background to give some context. I'm 46 and look for a balance between refinement, comfort, and sportiness with room for 2 kids. I have owned/leased many cars including a 2009, 2016, and now 2018 M6. I will focus on how the 2018 compares to the 2016 which may benefit those considering an upgrade more so than those cross shopping with say a Camry or Accord. The M6 was the only sub 35k sedan I was considering; the others were all SUVs. A silly criteria for most but an absolute must for me is that the car has to look good no matter how great the car may be otherwise. In my eyes, the other comparable sedans do not qualify. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION AND LOOKS ARE SUBJECTIVE. But I do feel safe stating this opinion in a Mazda forum ;-)

Features lost and gained:

Going from 2016 GT to 2018 GT, the features that come to mind that you lose are: real leather seats, power lumbar, and the heads-up display. I chose the GT because I did not want the additional chrome accents on the GTR, preferred the dark rims on the GT which ironically come on the higher trims in 2016, and wanted to drop the heads-up display. Although useful, the heads-up display mechanism in the dash of the 2016 created a tremendous amount of glare on the windshield which I never entirely got accustom to. Many features are gained in the 2018 including lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto break hold, and of course the turbo engine.

My biggest complaints with the 2016 and whether or not they were addressed in 2018:

Ride Quality
The ride is still firm but not jarring as before. You will not sustain a back injury when hitting a pothole! Smooth as silk on the highway.

Arm Rest
No change. Too small and too far back. I would prefer it if the padding around the console was reduced making room for the cup holders to be configured side by side and allowing the arm rest to come forward an additional 4 inches. I'm only 5'7" so this may not be an issue for most.

Build Quality
The doors are more solid and close with a nice thud. The outside door handles feel much more substantial in hand. The interior is plush with noticeably more padding on the door armrest and a nicely padded lip under the air vents. Stitching everywhere. IMO nice contrasting, white stitching in the very black interior would be an upgrade. Knobs are more premium and less clicky than 2016.

Infotainment Controls/Interface
Minor improvements. The interface is more responsive but the controls, menus, etc. are largely unchanged. Some other infotainment systems such as Chrysler's system which I'm familar with, are superior in terms of usability. Android Auto will not be ready for install at my dealership until September.

Performance
I have not pushed the turbo hard yet but it is a significant upgrade. As others have noted, the engine does not deliver head-snapping acceleration but power is readily available at all speeds and the overall refinement of the vehicle disguises how fast you're going. One article summed it up accurately by saying the end result is less downshifting. I agree. It is an engaging midsize sedan not a sports car. Transmission is still excellent.

Cabin Noise
Engine is significantly more refined and quiet. Also helps that you don't need to push the it hard. Tire and wind noises are reduced but still present. Further improvements can be made to approach near-luxury standards IMO. I did have one situation where a loud truck was a few car lengths behind me and I thought the windows were open. Maybe the lack of acoustic glass in the back?

Unexpected Improvements:

Infotainment Screen
The graphics are sharper and the colors more saturated. 8" screen makes a big difference. The low-res camera is getting a lot of hate but it does not bother me. You really just need to identify a person or vehicle behind you.

Bose System
Audiophiles know that Bose is terrible. However, this system is respectable and an unexpected improvement over the 2016. Not matter the EQ setting, the 2016 was all mid-range to me. Now, the lows are almost punchy. The highs are crisper. Sound stage and speaker placement is good. Sound is more natural, less processed. Very pleased.

Steering Wheel
I'm in the minority here when I say that the 2016 steering wheel was too slick and the steering a bit too stiff. More texture in the leather and less effort make parking a breeze in the 2018. Steering is still accurate and quickly returns to center. Turning radius is still sharp.

Seats
The 2016 leather seats were comfortable but a bit too narrow and hard. In the 2018, the leatherette is great. Very soft and perforated. The seat is wider, plusher and nicely contoured. I don't see the need for 4 way lumbar support.

Interior
Cleaner, more upscale design. Front cubby hole offers more space.

Soul Red Paint
If you like the old soul red paint and especially like the way is looks at dusk, you will love the new soul red. Darker and richer. I did not want to go with red again until I saw the car.

Disappointments:

Brakes
Maybe it is just the break-in period. Too spongy and requires far too much effort to get the car to stop. The auto hold does not kick on unless you are pressing down hard on the pedal. Needs better breaks with the added power.

Remote start
To my knowledge, still not bundled with any of the trims.

Dealer selection
I prefer light interiors but none of my local dealerships carried beige/parchment. Not disappointed in the black interior though.

Weirdness:

An extremely strong burning plastic smell. Dissipates quickly but not completely gone until you reach 150 miles. The salesman warned me before I could even mention it.

Overall, the car has improved in many ways over the 2016 and a worthy upgrade. This is now a near-luxury sedan. Mazda is slowly but surely chipping away at the weaknesses.
Trippp, ocramida, Lambeau and 1 others like this.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 04:58 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I feel the same way about looks. Spending so much money on a car, it needs to do more than drive well. And I also agree that the steering wheel in the 16 was too slick. The new wheel is much mire upscale in both looks and materials.

Agree that doors and outside handle feel more solid than 16.

Fyi the burning smell is probably the coaring they put on the car to prevent corrosion at sea.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 08:30 AM
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Now that's a review. Appears you are indeed enjoying your new car. Congrats.

Yah, that smell. It's a protective coating sprayed on for protection for the journey across the ocean as mentioned. Smell will be gone shortly. The hotter, longer it runs will burn it off.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for the explanation guys. Corrosion protection makes a lot of sense.
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 01:05 PM
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A nice, thorough write-up. Thank you!

You mentioned you also had an '09. Was that an I (4-cyl) or S (V6)? I'm curious as to whether there are certain items/trims/features from your 2nd-gen that you miss on the Turbo...

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 04:09 PM
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Yeah, the 1042 miles loaner my dealer handed me while they were replacing my BSM sensors exhibited similar traits, probably a new car thing, as for the autohold, it's more of a firm press than hard stomp, just press the brakes to the bottom to trigger the hold.

More surprised they didn't add weather stripping to the rear doors (technically the gap between front and rear) to filter out wind noise/water. But found a remedy for that if you're interested, did it to my sister's 16 GT and she says it works.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 11:05 PM
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I had the (I) and sorry I settled for the 4-cyl. I was coming out of a '06 Hyundai Azera Limited (0-60 in 6 flat) so the '09 felt severely under-powered and not especially sporty either. I also lost a ton of features including power rear sunshade, power seats/pedals/wheel, awesome stereo, etc. At the time, I thought it was best to lease a less expensive, more fuel efficient car. So not many fond memories of that car but the '16 was truly a great car.

A few other things I wish the '18 offered. Very minor stuff but worth mentioning:

Door handle sensors are pretty common now. Nitpicking here but if you drive another family vehicle that has it, you will keep forgetting to hit the button on the Mazda. Those door buttons rotted out on my '09; no issues with the '16.

TPMS that displays the pressure in each tire.

Bigger sun visor. If you are not tall, the sun visor is basically useless because to comfortably rest your arms on the armrest, you are forced into a low seating position.
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 09:04 PM
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Nice write up!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirage_i View Post
More surprised they didn't add weather stripping to the rear doors (technically the gap between front and rear) to filter out wind noise/water. But found a remedy for that if you're interested, did it to my sister's 16 GT and she says it works.

Sorry to thread-hijack, but I'd love to hear about this. Would your remedy work on my 2016 Touring?

Thanks.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 03:44 PM
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I got caught up in some matters and didn't have time to install a set that I still have for my brother's Touring, was gonna make a DIY post with a few pics, give me a day or two and I will get it all up.

Basically, get a set of 3rd Gen Lexus door seals:
part 67895-30020, and 67896-30020 (Left and Right side). There will be some hooks on the back side which are not used.

Refer to my craptastic imgur: http://imgur.com/gallery/g5H7hGq

Edit: added imgur link
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