2003 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The 2003 Mazda 6 is an all-new four-door mid-size sedan. It's sportier than the other cars in its class, both in appearance and in its handling and driving dynamics. It's more agile and holds the road better than other mid-size sedans, such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima. The Mazda 6 is lighter on its feet and stops quicker than other mid-size sedans. In short, it's a better driver's car.
The new Mazda 6 is designed to replace both the 626 and the Milennia and is the best sedan for the money Mazda has ever built. After four generations of maturation and development, and considerable help from Ford Motor Company, the zoom-zoom guys have really put a fine point on it this time.
Mazda 6 is available with four-cylinder and V6 engines. Both engines offer a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, with the further option of a four-speed sport-shift manual automatic transmission with the V6 engine.
The base model, the Mazda 6i ($18,530) costs far less than the outgoing 626 model at $20,700. It has a long list of standard equipment including five-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, large 11-inch four-wheel disc brakes, power windows, door locks and mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons, leather shift knob and boot, dual stainless exhaust system with dual chrome tailpipes, front and rear stabilizer bars, dual front smart airbags, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, color-keyed exterior door handles and mirrors, AM/FM/CD player, dual 12-volt outlets, one-touch folding 60/40 split rear seatbacks and an electric trunk release.
The sports sedan version, the Mazda 6s, comes with a 220-hp 3.0-liter V6 with variable valve timing, all of the 6i features plus ABS, traction control, eight-way power driver's seat, 16-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels, and a perimeter alarm system. Our test car was a loaded Mazda 6s with the manumatic, optional leather seating, power moonroof, and the Sport Package ($860).
To keep the base prices down, anti-lock brakes ($900) are optional, as are front seat side air bags ($450), with a full interior roof air curtain. Traction control ($400) and a 200-watt Bose audio system ($635) are also on the option list. Some options can be bundled as either the Comfort Package ($220), the Sport Package ($860), or the Premium Package ($800), on the four-cylinder 6i and 6s models.