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The 2016 Mazda6 struggles for mainstream acceptance (pictures)

Even with handsome looks, a comfortable interior, impressive fuel economy and class-leading handling dynamics, the Mazda6 is still overlooked by most shoppers. However, it remains the enthusiasts choice in the midsize sedan segment.

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Jon Wong

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A mid-cycle update for the Mazda6 arrived for the 2016 model year that included small visual tweaks to the exterior of the car that includes a new grille, LED headlights and fog light surrounds.

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For the interior, the Mazda Connect infotainment system gets a larger 7-inch touchscreen display, new dashboard, center console and armrest designs.

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The Skyactive 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the only engine currently available in the US. It produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque.

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For base Sport and midgrade Touring models, a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission are offered. Range-topping Grand Touring versions of the Mazda6 are only available with the automatic transmission.

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An optional i-Eloop brake energy regeneration system that captures electricity under braking in a capacitor, and helps power the car's electrical systems is available to help improve EPA fuel economy ratings to 28 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

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The Grand Touring model of the Mazda6 rides on 19-inch wheels and tires, which help improve handling dynamics, but do yield a slightly harsh ride quality.

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Mazda active driving display is also standard on the Grand Touring model, which places important information such as vehicle speed and navigation prompts directly in front of the driver to limit taking eyes off the road ahead.

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To quiet the cabin, Mazda also installed more sound deadening materials into the 6 for the 2016 model year. The company says that cabin noise has been reduced by approximately 25 percent on highways.

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Available safety technologies include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and smart brake support.

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This 2016 Mazda6 i Grand Touring test car stickers for $33,695, while the base Sport model with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $21,495.

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