2004 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda 6 is sportier than the other cars in the mid-size class, both in its appearance and in its handling and driving dynamics. It's more agile and holds the road better than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Nissan Altima. The Mazda 6 is lighter on its feet and stops quicker. In short, it's a better driver's car. It's also the best sedan for the money that Mazda has ever built, and is available with four-cylinder and V6 engines. The zoom-zoom folks have really put a fine point on it this time.
The Mazda 6, or MAZDA6, as the company calls it, debuted last year to widespread acclaim and multiple awards. Money Magazine named it 'Best Mid-Sized Sedan,' and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety called it a 'Best Pick.' The Mazda 6 also ranked among Car and Driver's '10 Best' cars and Automobile Magazine's 'All-Stars.' And it was the highest-rated new vehicle nameplate in the J.D. Power and Associates APEAL study.
Mazda hasn't been content to rest on its laurels. For 2004, Mazda is introducing 5-Door and Sport Wagon versions of the Mazda 6. The 5-Door model is the only mid-size hatchback sold in America, says Mazda, and is just the thing for active singles and couples.
The 2004 Mazda 6 sedan is available in two trim levels. The Mazda 6i ($18,750) is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine rated 160 horsepower and 155 pounds-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes air conditioning; cruise control; six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; power windows, mirrors and door locks with keyless entry; leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescope adjustments; 16-inch steel road wheels; dual-stage front airbags; a power trunk release; dual 12-volt power outlets and dual map lights front and rear. A five-speed manual transmission is also standard; a four-speed automatic is optional ($850). ABS and traction control ($400) are available as options for the Mazda 6i.
The Mazda 6s ($21,345) is powered by a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, and comes with all of the above plus ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control, automatic climate control, new 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a perimeter alarm system. A five-speed manual is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional ($900).
The 5-Door is available with either the four-cylinder or V6. The wagon comes standard with the V6. Both are available with either manual or automatic transmissions.
Options include side-impact and side-curtain airbags ($450), a power-adjustable driver's seat ($300), a six-disc in-dash CD changer ($500), and a Bose sound system with CD changer ($635). Also available is a power glass sunroof ($700) and wind deflector ($40). Other options are appearance-oriented accessories, such as fog lights, spoilers, side-sill extensions, and mud guards.
Two option packages have been added for 2004: The Luxury Package ($1,540), available on either the 6i or 6s, adds an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and electroluminescent gauges with red nighttime illumination.
The Security Package ($950) for the 6i adds ABS with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), traction control, side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags, and a perimeter anti-theft alarm.