Photo of Mazda6 GT courtesy of Mazda.
I recently had an opportunity to test drive the 2015 Mazda6 GT, compliments of Mazda Fleet Operations. The Mazda6 represents an ideal model for the commercial fleet market and, after spending several days in the vehicle, I can see where it can excel in meeting commercial fleet applications, especially as a sales or reward vehicle.
The Mazda6 was completely redesigned as a 2014 model, when it was named “Car of the Year” by Popular Mechanics and a “10 Best” by Car and Driver. Although a carryover model, the 2015 Mazda6 was again named one of Car and Driver’s “Ten Best.”
Despite being a carryover year for Mazda6, the vehicle has received updates to select features and packaging options. In particular, the 2015 Mazda6 SKYACTIV technology was made even more fuel-efficient using the i-ELOOP system. Derived from the term “Intelligent Energy Loop,” i-ELOOP is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system that converts a vehicle’s kinetic energy into electricity as the car decelerates. The i-ELOOP system captures energy the moment the accelerator is released – regardless of whether the vehicle slows down due to the brake pedal being employed or is coasting. This electricity is captured and stored for later use to power all of the vehicle’s electrical components, such as headlights, climate control, and audio systems.
When I first test drove the car, the 2015 Mazda6 GT stood out among the other cars nestled around it in our parking lot by its sleek design and upscale appearance.
Looking Under the Hood
The Mazda6 GT I drove was equipped with a SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood was the SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder 2.5L gasoline engine, which produces 184 hp and offers 185 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,250 rpm, more than ample for freeway driving. In addition, only the GT (Grand Touring) model can be paired with the i-ELOOP system, which gives it an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg city/40 highway/32 combined mpg. Also assisting in fuel economy is the Mazda6 GT’s aerodynamic design, which has a coefficient of drag of 0.26.
Photo of Mazda6 GT courtesy of Mazda.
An Ergonomic Interior
Sitting behind the wheel you instantly notice that the Mazda6 GT has a driver-oriented cabin, which features intuitive controls and touch points. The contoured dash panel is long and seamless, providing no distractions for a driver’s eyes.
Interior room is comfortable, spacious, and, more important to me, very quiet, minimizing outside road noise. Mazda6 offers 38.4 inches of headroom for front-seat occupants and 37.1 inches of clearing in the second row. The Mazda6 GT test car offered a very comfortable eight-way power driver’s seat.
Rear legroom is 38.7 inches while those in front enjoy 42.2 inches of stretching space. For added interior versatility and cargo space, the rear features 60/40-split fold-down seats as standard. With seats up, trunk space is 14.8 cubic feet, which is more than adequate to carry sales materials and light supplies.
New standard equipment for all 2015 Mazda6 models is the addition of illuminated switches and a one-touch up/down operation for all power windows.
A Grand Touring Technology package is available and adds Mazda radar cruise control, forward obstruction warning, a lane departure warning system, high beam control, i-ELOOP, and active grille shutters.
Impressive Standard Safety
The focus of SKYACTIV technology is not only on lightweight materials, fuel economy, and driving dynamics, but also increased safety. The Mazda6 has earned a “Top Safety Pick+” designation from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and also received a 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
My few days behind the wheel of the Mazda6 GT flew by and left me with a very favorable impression of the car and the feeling that it would do well as an award car and offer a refreshing alternative to drivers on a vehicle selector list.
However, the best way to appreciate the Mazda6 is to drive it.