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If you missed the previous installments let me just throw this out there: If you can still find one of these (the '16s are hitting the lots) go buy it if you like a modern, reasonably-full-sized sedan.  The 2016's primary change, and the one that would keep me from buying it, is the "integrated" entertainment system.  This means that your option to remove and replace it if you don't like it for whatever reason has been taken from you, and if it breaks out-of-warranty you're into Mazda for big money to replace it.  No thanks; I insist that the entertainment system in my vehicle be of a reasonably-standard form factor and be user replaceable even if I choose not change it out, as was the case for the Jetta.

I've now clocked over 32,000 miles on mine; other than routine oil and filter changes it's required nothing.  While the oil filter is in the usual (bottom of the engine) location and thus you have to get under the car to change it Mazda was polite enough to provide the room to get a gallon ziplok around it that goes above the filter base while removing it.  This means you can do "no mess, zero spill" oil changes in your garage with a bit of thought which I appreciate.  The air filter element was dirty enough to warrant replacement at 30k; within my normal expectations and the cabin air filter was also changed out.  The factory tires have perhaps another 15,000 miles in them; another couple of oil changes (when I rotate them) and they'll be due for replacement.  My sole complaint remains that those tires are a bit loud on the highway; I'll be looking to put something other than the Advan A83s on when they wear out, although they continue to be reasonably-impressive for stock all-season tires.  Brake wear is nominal; it appears that I'm roughly halfway to contemplating brake pad replacement.  And.... that's it.

Incidentally the ECU's "learning" in this vehicle is pretty impressive.  With a good data logger (which I now have) you can obtain a damn good idea of what the vehicle is doing in real-time (much like you can with the VCDS software for VWs) and I've discovered something very interesting -- when the ECU is reset (say, by a battery pull) you will find that until it re-learns you're down a solid 20HP (and 20ft/lbs of torque!) or thereabouts.  It doesn't take long to get its feet back under it but this is quite the statement in terms of how adaptable modern engine controls really are and how much difference it can and does make.

In addition the amount of data that the ECU has access to is quite impressive in this vehicle, including things you don't usually see -- such as oil temperature.  This makes a full instrumentation package that, for example, could display on your entertainment screen quite possible.  I'm going to start thinking about this and whether it's worth it; I'd love to fabricate up a custom LCD-display pod to go on the A-Pillar and then configure up a nice set of strip displays there but the problem with doing it is that modern cars all have airbags in the A-Pillar and as a result if you wreck attaching anything to that cover risks eating it in a crash.  (I always chuckle when I see some Boy Racer that has put one of these gauge pods on that cover; those kids are, of course, the most-likely to want that airbag protection as they frequently have things go wrong!)

I continue to post up right near 34mpg lifetime in terms of fuel economy.  At nominal freeway speeds I'm seeing around 36-37, depending on how leaded my foot is.  The aftermarket stereo system I put in continues to perform admirably and I've also added a dashcam with concealed wiring, which was easy to do on a tap from the (switched) lighter outlet.

If you're interested in my previous articles on the car the ones that remain open to access beyond the 30-day cut-off are here:

Early Impressions -- Mazda 6

Interesting Observations After A Month With The Mazda 6

2015 Mazda 6 - The 3,000 Mile Odyssey

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Oh, this is rich...

This month, we’re taking Data Stash even further. I’m happy to announce that, starting Sunday March 22nd, Data Stash will start rolling out to Simple Choice prepaid customers. Every single one of our prepaid voice customers with a qualifying Simple Choice plan will start out with a Starter Stash with up to 10 GB of 4G LTE data. And when that’s all used up, they’ll start rolling forward their unused data for use up to a full year. Automatically... and at no extra charge.

"Data Stash" is T-Mobile's term for rolling over unused data allotments.  This was previously on their postpaid service only.

Now, here's the problem: Postpaid and prepaid now are separated by almost-exactly one feature -- and $10/month (formerly $15, by the way - they lifted prepaid prices!)

That feature is tethering.

For example, their Postpaid "Simple Choice" with 3Gb of data (and "data stash"), unlimited text and talk, is $60/month.

The same plan on Prepaid, again with 3Gb of data, unlimited talk and text, is $50/month.

The kicker?  Right here in the terms on the prepaid account:

No tethering.

The "fast lane" I have to pay for is not due to the amount of data I consume but rather whether how, that is, specifically on what final display device, I consume it.

T-Mobile has the gall to say this sort of thing:

Data Stash is good for customers… and it’s good for the wireless industry, an industry that ranks right down there with cable and insurance companies in customer satisfaction ratings. And it’s precisely things like confiscating your customers’ data − data they’ve bought and paid for − that drives so much frustration with the carriers.

Oh really?  If I've bought and paid for it -- that is, it's mine -- why do you demand another $10 to tell me how I can consume it?

Data is data.  If I have a 3Gb quota then I have a 3Gb quota; whether I look at the web page on my phone or my laptop or tablet is immaterial to the amount of data I am allowed to pass through the network for the month.

The obvious goal of such a "program" is to penalize the person with multiple devices even though you can only use one at a time as you only have one pair of eyeballs and hands.

So if we're going to talk about net neutrality where are all the screamers demanding that this crap be stopped under penalty of law?

And as for John Legere and the so-called Uncarrier nonsense why is it that he thinks it's perfectly ok to discriminate between the sort of device on which you wish to display a web page or listen to a song?  Why is it ok for him to screw you out of another $10 simply because you wish to look at that web page on your tablet when traveling rather than your phone?

And finally, John, please explain exactly how this is "customer-friendly"....... never mind your ever-escalating price for the same thing.  You do recall that it was not long ago your company sold 5Gb data + unlimited talk and text for $45, right?  $60 is 33% more and for that 33% more I get far less!

Maybe T-Mobile's bleating about so-called "falling prices" and "better terms" are more about ingesting funny substances than the truth.

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