Review: 2017 Mazda6 GT – Part 4

If you’re looking for technology in the 2017 Mazda6 GT, there’s a lot of it. Let’s start with the safety technology:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: This system keeps an eye out for cars in your blind spots so that you don’t hit them when changing lanes. It works well as the area of detection was large enough to keep me safe, but not so large that it created false positives.
  • Lane Departure Warning With Lane Keep Assist: If you cross over into another lane, this system will buzz you on either the right or the left side. The buzz really gets your attention I must say. You can also set it to vibrate the steering wheel. However, it has one extra trick, the system will proactively guide the Mazda6 back onto its intended path if the system thinks you’re getting out of shape. I found it to work very well during my week with the Mazda6. 
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: If you back out of a parking space in a busy shopping mall and you have limited visibility to your left and right, you’ll love this system as you will be warned of any cars that cross into your path.
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System and High Beam Control: I wrote about this previously and I have to admit that on some of the back roads that I drive at night, this feature comes in handy. I was always able to see what was in front of me clearly. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that the LED headlights were very bright.
  • Radar Based Cruise Control: I really liked this feature as you can set the speed you want and the distance that you want to have between yourself and the car in front of you, and you can pretty much let it slow down and speed up depending on the conditions. It’s very handy on long highway drives.
  • Smart City Brake Support: Let’s say that you you do not react in time to a car that panic stops in front of you. This Mazda6 is capable of coming to a stop on it’s own, or slowing down to make the impact less severe. You can get more details on this system here.
  • Rear Backup Camera: The camera is a fisheye camera that has an impressive degree of clarity. You can see anything and everything that is behind you when you’re backing up. One thing to note is that the camera is exposed, so I have to wonder how clear it will be when it is dirty. Another thing to note, there are no backup sensors that warn you of objects that you might hit when backing up. 
  • Mazda Active Driving Display: This is a green piece of plastic that flips up from the dash when you start the car that put various pieces of info in the drivers line of sight. This iteration projects vehicle speed, chosen cruise-control speed, information from the navigation system (including turn-by-turn directions, distance and lane guidance) as well as notifications for the blind spot monitoring system, lane departure warning system, and road signs onto the windscreen. All of this information is within the line of sight of the driver, which means you never have to look away from the road. That’s why I consider it to be a piece of safety tech. Once I tweaked my seat position as well as the position of the display, I found it to be extremely useful.
  • You get anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and electronic brake force distribution. 
  • Finally, you get dual front air bags, dual front side air bags and dual side air curtains.

The GT trim level gives you a proximity key with push button start. Thus all you have to do is press a button on the driver’s door handle. Press it and the car will unlock. Get in, hit the start/stop button and drive away. One nice touch is that the start/stop button will light up with a green light if you press the brake pedal to start. That’s a nice touch to remind you to press the brake pedal to start the car. When you’ve reached your destination, press the start/stop button to turn off the car. Then get out of the car, close the door and walk away. You’ll hear two beeps. One after you close the door and one about 10 seconds later. When you hear both, the car is locked. You never need to pull out the key fob to do any of this. But the key fob does have the ability to lock and unlock the doors as well as pop the trunk, plus it has the ever useful panic button. As an added bonus, it has a backup key inside the key fob should you need it.

Back for 2017 is Mazda’s i-Eloop regenerative braking system that helps you to save gas by capturing and storing energy that is normally lost during braking in a capacitor. Then it takes that energy and uses it to run the electronics in the car so the engine doesn’t have to. The finer details on i-Eloop can be found here. But it works given that I am sipping gas at the moment. Another key point. A lot of these regenerative braking systems make the brake pedal feel radically different than what most people are used to. This one does not feel any different and you would never know that a system like this was installed if you didn’t check the spec sheet.

The best piece of technology that is in the Mazda6 is the inclusion of Mazda Connect. The combination of the 7″ touchscreen  and the HMI (Human Machine Interface) Commander Switch gives the driver a easy to learn, easy to use infotainment system. I wrote about it in detail here and this iteration seems to be a bit faster than I have found it to be in the past. Because I was testing the ZTE Axon 7 Android smartphone, I was able to try out the Mazda Connect’s abiltiy to receive text messages (and have them read to you) and respond with pre-canned responses. Now, while I did find that this was cool, I can see how this might also be distracting. I would only use this once I was fully comfortable with how it worked. 

The Mazda6 has an 11 speaker Bose sound system that I have to admit that regardless where I happened to be sitting, the sound was excellent as the highs and lows were perfect and the audio was well balanced. Listening to The Grid from the Tron Legacy soundtrack and Hope from the X-Men: Days Of Future Past soundtrack never sounded better. Phone calls were clear on both ends of the conversation as well. Listening from an iPhone and from the ZTE Axon 7 worked perfectly. Plus, there’s a CD player included for those of you who have lots of CDs in your colleciton. 

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my final verdict. Watch for it on Friday.


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