2009 Mazda MAZDA6
In 2003, the Mazda 6 debuted to rave reviews heralding its ability to distinguish itself from all the mid-size sedans crowding the dealership lots. But over the years, towering powerhouses like the Honda Accord
grew larger and their engines grew stronger while the Mazda 6 remained at 2003 standards. For their 2009 redesign, Mazda addressed the serious concerns consumers had with the sedan
's size, power and quality compared to the current market. It's now bigger, in both cabin space and trunk room, it's more powerful with two brand new engines and most importantly, fit and finish exceeds the interior quality of many of the competing players. The upgrades deliberately separate it from Mazda's smaller and highly popular 3
, while positioning this four door sedan above and beyond the original model.
What's to Like
The sexy new body design has allowed for almost six more cubic feet of passenger space, making all seats roomy for adults. Interior build quality is superior to the outgoing models, and the instrument panel boasts a sleek and highly intuitive look and feel.
What's Not to Like
The V-6 may put out more horsepower and torque than others in its class, but it’s missing that mass-moving oomph others produce. Brakes continued over from the last generation don't have enough stopping power for the 200-pound heavier and more powerful model.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
The inline-four and the V-6 are very different beasts where the drive is concerned. As we've mentioned, we think the V-6 engine could have even more power in the lower gears for better acceleration during passing. The steering coupled with this engine also feels lighter than the I-4's heavier, more dynamic handling. We'd get the four-cylinder in a second; it's a great engine and the gearbox mated to it shifts easily and efficiently with either the five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Wind noise is greatly reduced throughout the cabin, something the engineers paid particular attention to, but there's still some suspicious buzzing coming from the door seals. Wheel size makes a noticeable difference in road noise as well, with the 18-inchers available on the V-6 giving us an unwanted soundtrack during our drive. The 16- and 17-inch wheels on the I-4 however, smooth out the road, letting us focus fully on the fantastic Bose audio system.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Mazda 6 is available in two engine types: a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque and a 3.7-liter V-6, which belts out 272 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. The I-4 is available with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission while the V-6 comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Saving you from potential accidents is the Blind Spot Monitoring system, which will activate lights on the side mirrors to warn you if there’s a car in the lane next to you. If gentle warnings aren’t enough to grab your attention and you still insist on flipping on the indicator, the lights flash and a buzzer sounds. Rain sensing windshield wipers are also an option - a handy invention to ensure your hands remain on the wheel when you hit dangerous driving weather.
Key Technology Evaluation
We really enjoyed playing with the touch screen navigation
system. Not only does it make the center stack look even better, but also MP3 player integration and audio displays really shine on the screen. Also recommended is an upgrade to the bass-heavy, 333-watt Bose audio system.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The Mazda 6’s fuel consumption numbers place it in the middle of the segment. At 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway for the manual and 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway for the auto, the sedan seems a sensible fuel sipper. It achieves an SULEV emissions rating for the I-4 automatic and a LEV rating for the manual. The V-6 pulls in a ULEV rating.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The redesign has seriously spiced up the interior. Climate controls are in simple dial form, significantly reducing the number of buttons on the center console. Mazda has embraced Japanese influences in little touches like the upscale cloth seat design and cabin trim, giving it a distinct look from rival interiors.
While the appeal of a car is always subjective, we think the Mazda 6's looks are, as budding fashionistas like to say, “fierce!” The sedan retains a distinct Mazda feel with its racing roots blazingly apparent, but there is now a layer of sophistication coating the body design, something that was lacking previously.
Market Segment and Pricing
This car knows its place in the market. With many trims per engine, the broad price range covers every buyer. Starting at $18,550 for the I-4 Mazda 6 i SV, the prices continue: $20,250 and $21,150 for the manual and auto Sport, $21,705 and $22,605 for the same in Touring trim and $24,910 and $25,810 for the top of the line Grand Touring. The V-6 begins at $24,130 for the Sport, $25,075 for the Touring and $28,260 for the Grand Touring. These go up against the segment's sales leaders: Altima
. But the group fills out with the Hyundai Sonata
, Chevrolet Malibu
, Ford Fusion
and Mercury Milan
What We Think
With pricing, power, options and technology on par or even better than the big three, Mazda is hoping to steal some business from these dominating Japanese companies. And they have a good chance of doing so. Better build quality, segment-matching engine capabilities and more room throughout the interior means buyers will have one more impressive option to choose from in this field. Those in search of a car that stands out from the pack will instantly gravitate toward the new Mazda 6.