The automotive award world is a fickle creature. One year’s champion car is quickly parked off to the side while publications make room for the next year’s winner. Before names like Stingray and F-Pace, the number 6 had its day.
The Mazda 6 Grand Touring tackled more than its fair share of those awards a couple years ago after its grand re-design into of the automaker’s Kodo design language vehicles. A pleasure to drive and a better looking car than its price tag would indicate, any version of the Mazda 6 is special. The fully kitted out Grand Touring version all the more so.
The top of the Mazda 6 trim tree, the Grand Touring edition lists for $30,695. It holds the same 2.5 liter engine as the less expensive trims and offers the same 184 horsepower. However, the Grand Touring model maxes out the comfort and technology packages, including the top sound system, in-dash satnav, etc.
The styling of the Mazda 6 (and any Mazda, for that matter) is top notch and gives the similarly priced Asian makes like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia something to shoot for in their design studios. In fact, this reviewer maintains that the car looks better than its $30K price tag would indicate. It can sit alongside an Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW without shame.
As with other Mazdas, the driving experience is utterly enjoyable. While it doesn’t lay on the power or raw speed, there’s ample quickness out of its high compression, turbo-charged engine. The handling is tight and sensitive, if not sports car worthy. The end result is a vehicle that lets the driver feel the road and enjoy the sensation of driving, while the four-wheel independent suspension offers civilized comfort.
As close to a luxury vehicle as everyman Mazda comes, the 6 Grand Touring is a vehicle I recommend to anyone who comes to me asking about the best non-hatchback they can buy without venturing north of $30,000. I stand by that recommendation regardless of when the car returns to the award podium.