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Ace of Base: 2017 Mazda 6 Sport

2017 Mazda 6 Sport

Before we start this Ace of Base, we need to get one thing clear: no one listens to automotive journalists. We can carp about bad cars and exhort the good ones, but at the end of the day, customers go out and buy whatever they want.

I’m saying this with tongue firmly in cheek, of course, but there is a nugget of truth. The Mazda 6 is one of the best driving sedans in the mid-size segment, wrapped up in a good-looking body with plenty of interior space. Naturally, it sells at approximately the pace of glacier progression.

The base Mazda 6, effectively labeled by marketing mavens as the Sport model, is awash with standard features like natty 17-inch aluminum alloys, air conditioning, all manner of power options, and connectivity. Most of that is available on the base models of its competitors. What’s not found on most of its opponents is a smidgen of driving dynamism mixed with a manual transmission.

Mazda has a great history of foisting tongue-twisting and/or inscrutable acronyms on the automotive public. (SKYACTIV sends Microsoft Word’s spellcheck into a snit befitting a Hollywood diva.) Mazda’s most recent effort to grenade my typing program is G-Vectoring, which at least has a tangible benefit on driving pleasure.

G-Vectoring is a gee-whiz movement control baked into most Mazdas that operates in the background during a spirited drive, allowing the car to attack corners with more vigor. By slightly adjusting and fine-tuning power delivery, it shifts around the car’s weight on initial turn-in. This improves steering response when hustling along a back road. Every Mazda 6, regardless of pedal or option choice, is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four making 185 horsepower. Even on models absent of G-Vectoring, one can feel the sporting spirit of the team that made Zoom-Zoom its mantra.

Keyless entry, push button start, and a backup camera are all aboard for the ride. In terms of colour, Mazda has an annoying habit of charging extra for Soul Red Metallic, but at least the sharp Blue Reflex Mica is a $0 option. Anything off the grayscale is good by me. Sporty handling, room for the family, snappy styling, and a stick shift for $21,945? Job done. And yes, I do think those front fenders are a good nod to the RX-8.

While I currently deploy an aggro-Charger as our family daily, we had a 2006 Mazda 6 hatchback (manual shift, natch) for several years. The interior of that one was decidedly Playskool compared to the current model, but it sure beat the hell out of the other family sedan options at the time.

Starting at $21,945 plus destination, the Mazda 6 Sport is a great sedan at a great price. At the current rate of sales, it’s also one of the industry’s great secrets.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, BB? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Trump Bucks. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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