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Test Drive: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring

With a starting price of just $21,945, the 2017 Mazda6 is one of the least expensive midsize sedans on the market, yet is hands-down one of the most fun to drive. For 2017, the Mazda6 now has its vehicle dynamics control system, G-Vectoring Control, as standard equipment, as well as numerous sound-absorbing materials for a quieter and more refined ride. All three trim levels are powered by a 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a substantial 185 foot-pounds of torque. The result is responsiveness in every driving situation, ranging from a full stop to highway passing, on mountainous roads as well as on twists and turns.

My test model was the top-of-the-line Grand Touring, which starts at $31,870, and comes standard with rain-sensing wipers, LED exterior lighting with adaptive front headlights, Mazda’s head-up Active Driving Display and navigation with a 7-inch touchscreen. It also has steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system with 11 speakers and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels in dark silver.

While all 2017 models have improved sound insulation, the Grand Touring test model was exceptionally quiet with the addition of laminated front-side windows, a luxury feature generally not seen on cars in this class. New for 2017 is the full-color Active Driving Display, a head-up display that is projected on a small screen on the dash with current speed and navigation instructions as well as speed limits, traffic sign recognition and lane-departure warnings. While the system had a flawless execution, I found the close distance of the display (it was just above the dash, versus toward the end of the hood as on other systems) too close for my liking and somewhat distracting.

The Grand Touring model also featured the Premium Package, which featured i-ELOOP regenerative braking and active grille shutters to improve fuel economy by using regenerated power to the headlights, audio system or climate control. Other features included heated rear seats and steering wheel, nappa leather-trimmed sport seats and LED accent lights.

The test 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring with the Premium Package was priced at $34,370.

– By Tara Mello, for AAA Northeast

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