Two days in paradise -- for a motorhead!
The 14th annual Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally was held this past Tuesday and Wednesday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. For those that don't know about the MAMA Spring Rally, it's a member's only media event that blends 100 of the nation's top automotive journalists with 100 of the automakers newest vehicles on one of America's greatest race tracks.
If you are an automotive writer, it's one of the top track events in the nation. If you're a manufacturer, it's a slam dunk media-drive opportunity. In addition to time on the four-mile road course, journalists also had the opportunity to take drives out on the open roads of the Kettle Moraine valley, through a challenging off-road course and around a twisting autocross. Throw in some time on a FIA-approved karting track and plenty of good Wisconsin fare and you have the makings of a memorable two days.
This year's Spring Rally didn't disappoint. The paddock at Road America was crowded with vehicles from almost every mainstream brand. Of course there were premium standouts like the Alfa Romeo 4C, Cadillac ATS-V coupe and Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach. Performance fans weren't to be disappointed either as the Chevrolet Corvette, Subaru WRX STI and Dodge Hellcat twins rarely took breaks from lapping the track. Of course, there were plenty of mainstream models as well like the new Ford Focus, Honda HR-V and Kia Sedona.
Each year, I like to pick one vehicle as my "Surprise of the Rally." This year that honor went to the Mazda 6. It's a nicely competitive midsize sedan that's fun to drive, roomy, fuel efficient and most of all, doesn't look like every other car on the road. It's got design character inside and out. The 6 is the midsize sedan for someone who wants to stand out and be different. But, as an owner, you don't pay a penalty for that individuality. The Mazda 6 is refined, comfortable and sports all of the latest technology that today's buyers crave. The fact that it gets class-leading fuel economy doesn't hurt either.
The 2016 6 is available at Mazda dealers today and comes standard with a 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine that mates to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic and drives the front wheels. Changes for 2016 include a new grille featuring LED headlights and integrated fog lights and an upgraded dashboard boasting a 7-inch touch-screen display, MAZDA CONNECT infotainment System and available head-up driving display. Prices start as low as $21,495 and top out at a reasonable $30,195. If you are interested in the new 2016 Mazda 6, you can find more than 200 in the Chicago area on DriveChicago.com right now: http://www.drivechicago.com/newcars/mazda/6.
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