City Car Review: 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring

Finding the right city car is not an easy task especially with a family in tow. You need a car that can easily be parked, driven, and on occasion, cut off a taxi cab.

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I love to drive, I drive everywhere even though I could probably take the train, and despite the difficulty with driving in the city, I do it none the less. Mothers  typically do not know a great deal about the vehicles they drive but we do look for certain features that we cannot always find words for. Among the features that we need in a car are comfort, space, safety,  and good gas mileage (fuel economy) but what we also need are a few more details such as a solid suspension (how the car handles bumps) and interior trunk space. Drive STI reached out to Queens Mamas to test drive some new cars that are hitting the streets this year and I jumped at the opportunity to take these cars for a spin and share my opinions with you. First on the list was the brand new 2014 Mazda 6 Grand Touring which has been completely rebuilt for this years release. Here are my thoughts.

First Impressions

The 2014 Mazda 6 is a great family car for the city. It has style and function as well as the size you need to hold your family. Alternately, when the kids are asleep and date night is upon you, the Mazda 6 transforms into a cool sporty car with its Bose sound system, optional sun roof, and bluetooth technology so you can blast Pandora and zip around town with your partner. The new Mazda 6 has been totally re designed and rebuilt from the ground up and I am so happy to say that it met all of my expectations upon stepping in the vehicle.

Loves

Speed & Handling – A good suspension is one of the most crucial elements for city driving.  Since the suspension in a car helps absorb the harshness in the road, a solid suspension is desperately needed in many parts of the city. The Mazda 6 has both front and back independent suspension as well as stabilizer bars that make for a smooth city ride and tight corner turns. But the suspension is not the best feature of this car by any stretch as the speed and lightness of the ride is something of a marvel in its class. This car is fast, really fast, so much so that is almost a shame to drive it in traffic.

Safety- The Mazda 6 is chock full of safety features that can help keep your family safe. The car comes with extra safety features such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, smart city brake support, auto on/off headlights, and heated side mirrors to name a few. The Mazda 6 was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the 2014 Mazda 6 Touring models feature a Blind Spot Monitoring  system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert  as standard equipment. Forward Obstruction Warning, Lane Departure Warning System and High Beam Controls are also are available as part of an optional package.

Style & Color – The Mazda 6 comes standard in six colors but nothing compares to Soul Red. The three-step painting process that Mazda uses to create this color is well worth the effort and the sporty and stylish color makes one feel like they are about to hit the race track.

Bluetooth Connectivity – I am a sucker for great accessories and the Mazda 6 does not disappoint in this category. The easy bluetooth connection inside the car was able to sync my iPhone, music library, and contacts in seconds, making this a simple and fun accessory that I could enjoy immediately.

Gas Mileage/ Fuel Economy – I don’t know what magic Mazda has created inside it’s new 2.5 L Skyactiv gasoline engine but the Mazda 6  has an estimated 40 highway miles per gallon which pretty much means that you can circle Manhattan over 10 times before filling your tank.

Trunk Space – During this review, Queens Mamas hosted several community events where we filled the Mazda to the brim with groceries, supplies, and even furniture.  The most surprising feature of this car was the cavernous trunk space that this car accommodates. You can also expand the trunk even further by using the  seat collapse buttons that fold the back seats down into a flat position. The trunk space in the Mazda was equal to the Dodge station wagon that we have as our family car.

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Likes

Interior Comfort – The Mazda 6 Grand Touring that I drove came with leather-trimmed, heated front seats and a spacious back seating area for the kids. The simple interior was a welcome feature as it minimizes the nooks and crannies that the kids can stuff organic snack packets into.

Price – With a starting MSRP of $20,990 the Mazda 6 is competitive to other mid-sized sedans in its class in price, fuel economy and features.

Size – For a mid-sized sedan, the Mazda 6 handles like a small lightweight sports car. It parks easily with its sharp turning radius and is a pleasure to park as well as drive. I was able to easily maneuver this car into the tightest spots in the city with ease.

Sound – The Mazda 6 Grand Touring has an 11 speaker Bose surround sound system that is truly impressive. The car is also able to sync to your Pandora account via the bluetooth connect which makes for a really fun drive around town.

Ease of Use – I find that in cars with digital screens, drivers can find it difficult to manage a car full of screaming kids, a navigation system, and the Disney music station all at the same time which can create a distracted, and sometimes dangerous, situation when driving with kids. One of the Mazda 6 features includes several manual controls for the digital screen both in the center column and on the steering wheel which makes controlling the features of the car easy to use.

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Could Be Better

GPS – The GPS system by TomTom that is built into the Mazda 6 has been criticized by other reviewers as being to small and difficult to program. During this review, one of our mamas was sent 30 blocks in the wrong direction due to the inaccuracy of the GPS system. TomTom requires the system to be updated online instead of within the car which can make things difficult for parents with a lot on their mind.

Sound – While the 11 speaker Bose surround sound system is awesome, it does not take much volume to shake the side view mirrors.

Final Impressions

If you are in the market for a new family car that offers you a lot of function with a touch of style then take a good long look at the Mazda 6. This car is great looking, handles well in the city ,and has plenty of space for your entire family.

Where to Find the Mazda

The Mazda 6 is available to test drive at all local Mazda dealerships. To find the one closest to you visit the link here.

Disclosure – Drive STI provided the Mazda 6 used in this review. Our words are our own.