Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Mazda6 a family sedan that's full of fun

This is the golden age of the midsize sedan. The family car is the most competitive class in the auto industry, and consumers reap the benefits of this one-upmanship. The latest proof of this is the stylish all-new Mazda6.

Appearance: We love the new look, which presents itself as aerodynamic, with sensuous curves and, finally, an elegant front grille. Grilles have long been a design conundrum for Mazda (think "grin" or "smile") but this design is striking, accented by chrome trim integrated into the flanking headlights. Peter thinks you can really see the Japanese aesthetic at work here. The front fenders flare for a more aggressive look — one that is becoming a familiar design element for all manufacturers. Those fender creases flow nicely into the doors — Mazda calls this "soul of motion" — and a slight crease runs all the way to the rear of the car. The rear of the 6 also is nicely detailed with chrome trim, a deck-lid spoiler and elongated taillights. The twisted spokes of the 19-inch wheels really set off the Soul Red paint (an upgrade), which has deep hues that look stunning in the sun. Want a nondescript family hauler? This is not your car.

Performance: Hard to believe this is a 4-cylinder. The 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower Skyactiv-G engine has plenty of power and delivers it smoothly, even from a standstill. The 6-speed Skyactiv-drive sport automatic transmission, which comes with a manual mode, seems to always find the right gear. Like other Mazdas, we found the handling to be superb thanks to the sport suspension and precise steering. Despite its size, the car felt nimble and surefooted. The downside is that the ride is a bit stiff. The estimated mpg of 26/38 for an automatic is good for a midsize sedan.

Interior: The cabin is quiet, with minimal road noise, thanks partly to a sound system with ambient noise compensation technology. The sport seats in our tester's Grand Touring trim are comfortable and well-bolstered, holding you snug even in tight turns. The cabin features chrome trim and red accent stitching, which adds some needed pop to the somewhat dreary black color scheme. (Lyra's advice: Go for the tan interior.) Still, Peter couldn't shake the feeling that while attractive and nicely laid out, the cabin design and materials didn't quite rise to the level of some of the midsize competition. Our tester had lots of luxury features: dual-zone automatic climate, Bluetooth, backup camera, push-button start, driver seat memory, Bose surround sound system and navigation. The 5.8-inch LCD touch screen is inset into the dash to minimize glare, but the virtual buttons can be a reach for drivers. The new rotary Command Switch, which sits on the center between the front seats, makes onscreen selections easier. The rear seats are spacious with plenty of legroom.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Grille: Mazda finally has gotten it right.

Wheels: The design is worthy of a sports car.

Zoom-zoom: It's more than an ad slogan.

Lyra Solochek

Soul Red: Three-step painting process for a rich, brilliant hue. It's worth the extra fee ($300).

Aggressive and attractive: Front design — with chrome trim, halo headlights and flaring fenders — says "look at me."

Interior: Simple yet intuitive.

The bottom line: The Mazda6's new look, mpg and available features put it among the best of the newer midsize sedans. It should appeal to buyers who demand some sport and style in a family car.









     
         
Comments
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Published: 12/14/17