It May Have G-Vectoring, But Snow Still Requires The Right Rubber
Mazda is one of those brands that has cars that I genuinely enjoy driving, and cars that I can also recommend to every-day consumers. The CX-3 and CX-5 are great little crossovers, and in the Mazda 3, you get a heck of a lot of car for the money. Carrying a similar message is the Mazda 6. Within the 6 you’ll find an amazing interior, and outside, sharp styling for a handsome mid-size sedan. A new feature under the hood though is G-vectoring. Using individual brake pulses at each corner, it is said to make snow driving a breeze.
G-vectoring is essentially a form of ABS, even though it isn’t. Think of it more like dropping a paddle behind one side of a canoe in order to steer it. In theory that extra drag by one side or the other helps stabilize the car, and can even be used to sharpen dynamics.
Timing couldn’t have worked better for me to test this out in the white powdery stuff. Two days into my week-long test Mother Nature dropped a few fresh inches. Immediately, one thing became evident: G-Vectoring is most effective when you add some patience. Wildly flinging at the wheel only exposes natural physics. If you’re gentle with your inputs though, you just barely feel it working for you. However, it does at least seem to work.
G-Vectoring is not a replacement for snow tires, however. That’s not a problem of Mazda’s, nor is it a shot at Mazda’s tech either. Every system that controls traction by a car is limited by grip, and there’s no way around that. Combining snow tires with G-Vectoring would create an even more competent snow warrior.
Snow performance aside, the 6 continues Mazda’s tradition of hitting home run after home run. A trip from Chicago to Indianapolis was a breeze to complete in one shot, all while getting 38 mpg or better. According to the window sticker, you’ll only get 35 mpg on the highway, but that’s a fair bit lower than what I experienced. Other things that you’ll find on the window sticker is a very reasonable $34,530 MSRP. 2PP is Mazda’s code for the GT Premium Package, and there’s no doubt, at $2,500 it provides a fair value.
GT package adds, among other things, heated seats in the back (they are standard up front) and a heated steering wheel. Given that I tremble at the thought of any temperature below 55 degrees, this sold me on the GT pack.
Of all mid-size sedans that I’ve reviewed, this is the only one that has me feeling slightly conflicted. Engine choices are limited to exactly one. Skyactiv engines are great, but the 2.5 motor lacks just a little extra grunt that some other models offer. The CX-9 has a delightful turbo 4-cylinder that would feel right at home in the 6. Hope you’re listening, Mazda. Regardless, it’s a smooth and quiet engine and perfectly fine. One other thing that I find unusual is no offer for all-wheel-drive. It’s a deal breaker for many buyers and just seems unusual that you can’t get AWD in a Mazda unless you go for their crossovers and SUV’s.
2017 Mazda 6 Grand Touring
Engine: 2.5 4-cyl Skyactiv
Torque: 185 lb/ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
MPG cty/hwy/comb: 27/35/30
Base MSRP: $30,695
As tested: $34,530