But while I have felt perfectly content driving my mom-mobile around for the past few years, it only takes a taste of driving something much more sporty, efficient and comfortable that my brain remembers that there is so much more out there. Can beauty, performance and style all be mixed into one?
It can in the 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring from Mazda.
When making our plans to head down to Orlando, Florida for a family vacation, I knew that having a reliable midsize sedan would make life easier on so many levels. Room for five passengers, a push button engine start and a color touch screen display featuring Sirius satellite radio, an easy to use navigation system, a rearview camera and much, much more?
I was already impressed with the 2014 Mazda6 simply from reading about it. But then this gorgeous ride pulled up in front of me and I suddenly had the urge to give it a whistle. What a hottie!
Available in a handful of different colors, I love that Mazda felt that no shade of red was good enough for their Mazda6, so they engineered an entirely new one with an elaborate three-step painting process. I'm telling you, the combination of the aerodynamic look and the flowing lines with this deep, yet vibrant, Soul Red had me ready to hop right inside.
When I did, I continued to be impressed, as the contrast of the Almond leather (also available in black) was sleek and attractive against against the black, chrome and trim.
Once inside, I found that the A-pillar design of the Mazda6 made getting in and out of the comfortable seats easy and that the wide armrest was positioned just right to rest my arm.
Looking across the steering wheel and controls, right away I loved that Mazda had made the large gauges easy to read and that there were so many options (Bluetooth, cruise control, etc) all right within reach.
Putting the automatic transmission into drive, it only took lightly pressing on the gas before this car rolled forward and was gliding through the streets. Immediately I adored that the overall ride is extremely comfortable and that the steering is smooth and light. Even the hum of the engine is strong but pleasing!
But boy, does the Mazda6 have some power! While yes, it has been quite a while since I was behind the wheel of anything that could remotely be considered even related to a sports car, being able to accelerate quickly when getting on a freeway or to swerve around a semi brought a feeling of confidence and security to my driving.
Combine that with the 4-wheel disc brakes and the great turning radius and I just can't think of anywhere that this automobile couldn't go.
Along with providing a great ride and handling very well, the 2014 Mazda6 includes just about every possible feature that could make your time in the car more convenient.
The Bose 11-speaker sound system makes rocking out crystal clear; the heated front seats would be fantastic here in the Midwest in the winter; the dual-zone climate control is perfect for the times that I'm turning the temperature down while my husband wants to turn it up; there is plenty of storage/cup holders for everything that you might bring along with you; and much more.
For help getting around, the navigation screen puts one of TomTom's navigation devices — including voice commands, advanced lane guidance and real-time traffic updates — right where you need it to keep you from getting lost or to help reroute you to avoid long delays.
Even better, there's no need to ever take your eyes off of the road to adjust your navigation route, phone, music or more thanks to the knob controller right on the console that provides a second access.
My two favorite Mazda6 features, however, were the ways that it helps with blind spot monitoring and with maintaining plenty of gas in the car.
Not only did Mazda include a rearview camera to give a better view of what might be behind you when you are backing out of a parking space, but they took things about 50 steps further with a whole slew of warning systems.
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Alerts you if vehicles approach Mazda6's rear from the side when you're geared for reverse.
- Forward Obstruction Warning System: Detects obstructions ahead and warns you of a possible collision.
- Lane Departure Warning System: Alerts you when the system senses the car drifting unintentionally from its current lane.
- Blind Spot Monitoring: Alerts you if a vehicle or object is in one of your blind spots and it's unsafe to change lanes. (Love it!)
Along the same lines, even though I do try to not let the gas tank on my vehicle get too low, there are times that I postpone going to fill up once more... and again... and maybe one more time... all the while making my stress levels hit the roof as I picture running out of gas with one or both of my children sitting in the car. Yikes!
Instead, the way that the Mazda6 not only shows how much fuel you have left in your tank, it also clearly states how many more miles you can drive before it is empty. No more guessing if I can squeeze in just one more trip to the grocery store or to pick up my daughter from school without knowing for sure!
After a week of driving the Mazda6 Grand Touring around Florida, I had a difficult time saying goodbye to it. It provided decent gas mileage (26 city and 38 highway), kept my family very safe (3-point safety belts, 24-hour roadside assistance, advanced dual front airbags, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side air curtains and more), and there wasn't a single complaint about lack of legroom or space.
The two booster seats we brought on our trip easily fit in the backseat and two convertible or infant car seats would do just the same (fitting three across wouldn't be possible). Plus, popping open the trunk and finding a massively large cargo space (14.8 cubic feet) is something that comes in handy for absolutely everyone!
We could have fit multiple large suitcases and smaller bags in here... or groceries for the entire month!
All in all, this is one sporty, midsize sedan that I would highly recommend and truly hope that I have a chance to drive again in the future.
Each day that I got in on our trip I found new features that I hadn't noticed before (Wow, the lumbar support on these seats sure is comfortable or Did you see that? The windshield wipers just went on their own! Rain-sensing wipers! Genius!) and the high quality of the Mazda craftsmanship is evident everywhere you look, inside and out.
With an MSRP of $29,495, the 2014 Mazda6 i Grand Touring drives well, looks amazing and is a great choice for families. You can find out lots more on this incredible vehicle by visiting the Mazda website and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.
Other than the Mazda6 that I was provided by Drive STI in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion about how much I loved driving this car.