The Mazda6 Sport Wagon that showed up was a little bit of a surprise. First, when the call came that the 6 was coming down, it sparked mixed emotions. After all, Dave Thomas had already spent time with a Mazda6 five door. Furthermore, a wagon would almost certainly be equipped with an automatic. Wagons, while a personal favorite, are not typically the most exciting vehicles around.
Wagons have a special place in the heart of this enthusiast. The first wagon that sparked this appeal was a 1986 Ford Taurus Wagon. The space-aged styling, at the time of course, had this strange attraction. Later, wagons gained even more appeal when a Chevrolet Caprice Wagon reared its head with its road trip worthy rear-facing third row seat. Not only did a chance encounter in the formative years of development influence the love of wagons, but later at work a Caprice Classic wagon busted onto the scene as a company-owned treasure. No other vehicle in the fleet would swallow more gear, while making the driver feel like some sort of geek super pimp. Notice none of these memories really have anything to do with performance. Sure, Volvo has done some spicy vehicles based on their wagons. Even Paul Newman had his own ass-chewing V8 monster Volvo wagon built. The Mazda6 Sport Wagon is a different breed of performance wagon.
The critically acclaimed Mazda6 has some appeal, but the inevitable slush-boxization carried it own fears. What a relief when the 6 wagon showed up with a five-speed! This was going to be interesting. A family wagon, with sporty intentions, a five-speed, and a peppy 220-hp V6, is a rare thing on American shores. When an automaker offers a wagon, a manual is hardly ever offered in the U.S. market.
Behind the wheel, itís hard to believe youíre not driving a Japanese sports coupe. You have to keep reminding yourself, ďitís a wagon, itís a wagon.Ē The flexible V6 is certainly more than adequate to power this vehicle. You almost couldnít imagine what the 274-hp turbo four would be like in the MAZDASPEED6. The V6 provides such smooth, user friendly thrust, anything more seems unnecessary for a daily driver.