Before I begin the review, you need to know this is not Dawn writing this. I am Louis, Dawn’s husband. Dawn let me drive the car for the week if I wrote the post. The other thing you need to know is that this is my first blog post, so please be gentle.
I had a great time driving the 2016 Mazda 6i Grand Touring. We had our share of rain, sun and fog during the week and the car performed very well. It has been over 10 years since I bought a new car. I know many of the features I am going to discuss are available in just about any car on the market. I am a big proponent of set it and forget it. At work and at home, I attempt to automate as much as I can so I can focus on what is important. There are many of these types of features available in new cars today make driving so much easier and allow you to focus on the most important part of driving, keeping your eye on the road.
What I really liked about the Mazda 6i is the placement of the controls. The positioning of the controls on the steering wheel felt very natural; cruise control on the right, media on the left. After connecting my phone via Bluetooth, using the voice command was a snap. But really made everything so simple was the all-powerful Command control dial. It is conveniently located below the gear shift perfectly placed so when you are using the armrest, the control is right there. You control the navigate, media, and settings from one dial. And for added convenience, a volume knob is located just to the right of the Command control dial. All these conveniences enhance the driving experience while allowing you to focus on driving.
One of my biggest pet peeves has always been people who do not turn off the lights because they automatically turn off. I always thought that people who do this were just showing off their fancy car. Well, I admit, I am coming around. With the automatic LED headlights and Adaptive Front-lighting System, I can set it and forget it. The lights will turn on and turn off as is necessary for the conditions. There are two reasons to have your lights on; so you can see what is in front of you, and, most importantly, so others can see you. The automatic headlights really helps during those twilight hours where light are not needed to see around you, but probably a good idea so you are seen.
Another set-it-and-forget-it feature I like are the rain-sensing windshield wipers. Not only do they come on when it senses water, it also determines what speed should be set. I noticed this driving on the freeway during the rain when downpour started. The wipers went from a gradual pace to fast almost instantly. Again, one less think to think about so I could focus on my surroundings while driving.
Another feature that helped me focus on driving was the Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Close Proximity Warning. Continuing to the set-it-and-forget-it theme, I love cruise control. I use it as much as I can. They way cars are designed today, sometimes you don’t realize how fast you are truly going.
Honestly, I use cruise control to keep me from getting a ticket. But it can be frustrating when you approach a slower car. I would have to turn off the cruise control and try to match the speed of the car in front of me while maintaining a safe distance. With the Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Close Proximity Warning, I don’t have to worry about that. The Mazda 6i will sense the speed of the car ahead of me and adjust my speed automatically so that I maintain a safe distance. The best part is, I can see all this on the Active Driving Display.
Not until I started writing this post did I realize just how much there was to monitor while driving. Factor other features like the Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection systems, and I quickly realized just how much of a better driver I can be when I don’t need to focus on other stuff in the car. All these features help make the 2016 Mazda 6i Grand Touring a fun driving experience. Thank you to Mazda and DriveShop for the opportunity to review this car.
Disclosure: I was provided the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Mazda 6i Grand Touring through DriveShop for one week, no compensation was provided and all opinions are my own. So there.