The Coachella Music Festival has been high on my bucket list since I moved to California seven years ago. This year, I finally crossed it off in epic style. I took a 2017 Mazda6 for a test drive to Coachella thanks to DriveShop. It’s comfortable, has strong performance, it’s exceptionally stylish, and it offers good fuel-efficiency; and the bold red color was easy to spot. For zipping around in the desert, the 2017 Mazda6 was the perfect fit.
Every 2017 Mazda6 comes with remote keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats with lumbar support for the driver, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a rearview camera, the Mazda Connect infotainment system with voice control, text messaging capabilities, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker CD player with auxiliary/USB input, HD radio, and internet streaming radio.
During the drive to Coachella, we had to take the freeway. Even in the commuter lane, traffic can be a nightmare. There is slow-to-go traffic and commuting that swings from 65 mph to a standstill. The awesome part about driving in the Mazda6 is that it has adaptive cruise control. It’s an intelligent form of cruise control that slows down and speeds up automatically to keep pace with the car in front of you. The driver sets the maximum speed — just as with cruise control — then a radar sensor watches for traffic ahead, locks on to the car in a lane, and instructs the car to stay 2, 3, or 4 seconds behind the person car ahead of it (the driver sets the follow distance, within reason). Using adaptive cruise control totally changed the drive and eliminated tons of stress. It was easy to set and it made it so much smoother than hitting the brakes every few seconds to adjust for slower traffic.
Inside the Mazda6 is as stylish as outside and it’s functional as well. The storage space for accessories like a phone or drinks is excellent. My huge iPhone 6+ fits perfectly in front of the gear shifter and larger drinks fit well into the cup holders. The soft, premium leather sport seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, eight-way power driver seat with memory functions, 11-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio, and sunroof make the Touring option well worth the added price tag.
Mazda’s slogan is “zoom zoom,” so it’s no surprise that the Mazda6 handles well. We weren’t looking to do any street racing, but it was nice to have a little pick up with minimal engine noise. The responsive engine and transmission make it feel faster than most family sedans, and the independent suspension provides sharper handling too. It takes a little more oomph to turn the steering wheel, but the accuracy and feedback from the road are commendable, and strong four-wheel disc brakes can bring the Mazda6 to a quick stop.
One of my favorite things about the Mazda6 was the bright red color. Red is my favorite color anyway but it was unique and easy to spot in packed parking lots. We parked at the hotel among hundreds of other cars in the lot. I did take note of the section but I immediately spotted when we were leaving. If you’ve never had a bright color car before, give it a try. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes and how much easier it is to spot your car.
The Mazda6 handles well, gets good fuel economy, and offers a wide selection of driver assist features. It’s pretty to look at and even nicer to drive. It makes having a sedan look sexy while providing all the comforts of a family car.
**Thanks to DriveShop for the opportunity to test drive the 2017 Mazda6. As always, all options are my own.**