2016 Mazdas Just Keep on Getting Better

Mazda has been a player in the automotive industry for years and while the industry has changed much in recent decades, this automaker has continually found ways to improve and market their vehicles to the masses. This year was no exception as Mazda churned out some fun rides winning new consumers over and wowing those already loyal to the brand. Checking out the newest of the brand, I found lots of reasons to get excited…the zoom-zoom manufacturer just keeps on getting better!

2016 Mazda3 5 door Grand Touring

2016 Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door
An award winning vehicle that has consistently sold well in a segment that is highly competitive, the Mazda3 hatchback delivers more than I expected. Here’s what I liked in this peppy little number:

• The six-speed manual that I test drove got a resounding 26 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. Great fuel economy always tops my list when coupled with a good ride!
• The 2.5-liter engine with 184 horsepower gives me the confidence to drive in fast-paced traffic and hold my own.
• Techy stuff that I’ve come to love and NEED! The Mazda3 offers a seven-inch MAZDA CONNECTTM display that can be controlled with voice commands or a control knob. Bluetooth – check! Push-button start with remote keyless entry – check!
• Safety, safety, safety! Mazda’s full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies AND top safety ratings with NHTSA!
• Rearview cameras are one of today’s best safety options to keep us from hitting things out of our view behind the vehicle and I am so proud to say that Mazda has this available on all models of the Mazda3 as a standard feature!
• And, last but far from least, I love the rain-sensing windshield wipers…one less thing to worry about when the weather is less than optimal.

The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring has, of course, much more in terms of options and add-ons like the moonroof and the Active Driving Display (a heads up display that gives drivers a straight ahead view of information so that you can keep your eyes focused on the road). No wonder this is Mazda’s best-selling nameplate in the world!

Image converted using ifftoany

2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring
Fully supported by Mazda’s SKYACTIV Technology, the Mazda6 is a pleasure to drive with high safety standards, great handling and a quiet journey. The 2016 model saw some interior refinements and as the flagship model for the new-generation lineup, the Mazda6 continues to build upon a foundation of innovation, value and ever-evolving design.

Here are my favorite features:

• This model year brings exterior changes to the Grand Touring trim level – new front bumper and grille, LED taillights (LED will actually replace the fog and headlights as well), new fog light surround design, 19” alloy wheels in a new design…all creating a sexy new look for 2016.
• And on the interior, I have to give kudos to parchment leather seats…ooooo so comfy! Honorable mention to the center console…new design element along with the dashboard.
• On the techy side, the display has been upgraded to a full-color seven-inch touchscreen which my aging eyes appreciate! Also, the Mazda6 Grand Touring features the MAZDA CONNECT™ Infotainment System and Active Driving Display!
• The engine propelling this lovely is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, SKYACTIV-G with 184 horsepower…Mazda’s finest…and more than enough to maneuver me through my travels.
• Being a new grandparent, I have a new appreciation for the LATCH system (rear child safety feature) and I am glad to see Mazda incorporate this into their vehicles.
• Safety features that I love include: Blind Spot Warning, Rear Camera, Lane Departure Warning and Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning.
• Fuel economy is also pretty good in this model with 26 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway for a combined 30 mpg.

 

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Overall, I am happy with the refreshing new design elements…just enough to subtly keep up with changing times and innovation factors, but also to keep the brand appealing. The dashboard is not so fussy and it’s nice to know that from model to model within a brand, the controls are basically the same so you don’t have to re-learn.

2016 Mazda CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring FWD
As far as new-generation vehicles go, the Mazda CX-5 led the pack in terms of getting the fully integrated SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and the KODO—Soul of Motion design language. Taking the SUV standards a step further with these amenities, customers around the globe have raved and accepted this as the new normal for Mazda’s in general.

As a mother of four and grandmother of one, SUVs have long since been my preference and Mazda has a good one in the CX-5 with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine and 184 horsepower. Gas mileage is decent at 24/30 (combined 26 mpg), especially in this segment. As with the others, I have a few favorites about this product in the Mazda 2016 lineup:

• The bold, sleek and only slightly curvy outer appearance of the Mazda CX-5 really works with this segment where families are torn about what they want and need from a vehicle. Men lean toward the performance and sharp exterior while most women are concerned with the interior comfort, storage and cupholders!
• MAZDA CONNECT Infotainment System with a seven-inch full-color touchscreen display is a great addition as also seen in the Mazda6 Grand Touring. It’s exciting to see how quickly technology changes, and how automakers like Mazda keep up with the trends tirelessly.
• Bluetooth capability is pretty much a mainstay in today’s marketplace and Mazda, of course, delivers that modern convenience.
• I haven’t given much attention to Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE Technologies, but friends, this is good stuff. Their attempt to help direct a more accident-free society, Mazda has a few helpful technologies under the i-ACTIVSENSE umbrella such as Radar Cruise Control with Close Proximity Warning; Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning; and High Beam Control. These features quickly won me over and made my favorites list!

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Is your family in the market for a dependable, stylish SUV? This might be it! Complete with LATCH system in the back for rear child safety seats, this vehicle is ready to be your next family car!

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD
Mazda’s compact crossover is another new-generation vehicle that I slate as “perfect for families.” With a responsive drive nature, it’s also quite charming with all of its bells and whistles. I also tend to go up to the Grand Touring trim line…why not?

Boy do I love the front grille iconic to Mazda and just plain attractive without being so in-your-face. That, along with my other favorite Mazda-specific designs (KODO—Soul of Motion design) makes me giddy over this little crossover!

And now, my favorites on this one:

• Standard on the CX-3 across trim levels is the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission.
• Fuel economy is 27 in the city and 32 on the highway for the AWD which is what I tested.
• This vehicle is also equipped with the i-ACTIVSENSE that we talked about earlier as well as a standard rear camera so safety is once again proven to be an area of importance to Mazda. That makes me a happy consumer.
• The glass moonroof was a sweet amenity that added a classy element to the design.
• If there are ever heated seats in my vehicle, then it’s on my list…this southern gal can’t take the cold!
• The BOSE optional audio system is pretty spectacular and it’s important to note that this vehicle also comes with MAZDA CONNECT™ Infotainment System and an upgraded seven-inch full-color touchscreen display. Voice commands or controller, whichever you like best, will operate your system and you can enjoy internet radio and/or Sirius XM satellite radio.

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I took the Mazda CX-3 on a short trip and it was a comfortable ride, offering less road noise than Mazda’s of yesteryear. Much improvement is made each year and I’m always glad to see brands continuing to improve upon previous platforms. Good work Mazda!

I was allowed to drive each vehicle for a week with a tank of gas provided by Mazda. No compensation was received and reviews are my own opinions. Photos are courtesy of Mazda.

Becky J. Beall

Becky is a travel and automotive journalist with 20+ years experience in writing and editing. She is also a radio show host, television personality and speaker.

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