Mazda has been living up to its tagline, “Zoom. Zoom.,” for years. Long known as the sportier of the Japanese manufacturers, this engineering powerhouse has a knack for designing cars that are simply fun to drive. Take for example, the well-known Mazda Miata. It’s not the fastest sports car in the world, but the Miata offers more fun-per-dollar than any of its pricier competitors.
The same has been true of the Mazda 6 sedan, ever since its debut in 2003. The 6 was clearly gunning for Camry and Accord customers, right out of the blocks. But unlike the sleepier Toyota and Honda offerings, Mazada’s four-door offered sleek styling and a performance experience – within the budget of average middleclass buyers.
Redesigned for 2010, the new Mazda 6 retains its sportier and sleeker edge on the competition. But Mazda has clearly stepped up its attempt to reach luxury buyers. The new Mazda 6 is larger, and it looks and feels more like a luxury sedan than a cost-effective sport sedan.
Like its predecessor, the new 6 retains its sporting soul and good looks. This car is fun to drive, great on gas (30 mpg highway), and incredibly good looking. The more mature Mazda 6 has grown to better accommodate backseat and front seat passengers, too.
Inside, Mazda’s step upscale includes a litany of luxury options. Buyers can choose from automatic climate control (for both driver and passenger), a 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround system, heated leather seats with memory, rain sensing wipers, LED taillights, and a host of other options.
Mazda 6 buyers can choose between a gas-sipping four-cylinder engine or a thirstier and more powerful V-6. Mazda’s 2.5 liter four cylinder returns as star of the show, delivering 21mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. Paired with a manual transmission, this four-cylinder sedan is more exhilarating to drive than most V-6 competitors.
Drivers who long for even more performance can opt for a new 3.7 liter engine, which delivers a whopping 272 hp and 269 lb-ft. of torque. To put that in perspective, the original Infiniti G35 (and Nissan 350Z) sports coupes offered 275 horsepower. This is a lot of power in a light little sedan. Our V-6 test car accelerated to 60 miles per hour in just over six seconds – and that with an automatic transmission. That 0-60 time is in the neighborhood of V-8 Mustangs and Camaros, as well as BMW’s from the 1990’s.
In summary, Mazda has tweaked almost every component on its new Mazda 6. This sporting sedan offers family-budget buyers a luxury looking and feeling vehicle. It delivers plenty of space for five adults, competent mechanics and an exhilarating driver’s personality – all with 30 mpg highway.
Best of all, the 6 starts at about $18,000, though it drives and feels more like a $35,000 Infiniti from a few years past. If you’re looking for fun factor-per-dollar, you’d be hard pressed to find a better buy.
The redesigned Mazda 6 looks more Lexus or Infiniti than Toyota or Honda, but it still targets price conscious sport-sedan buyers.