2005 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda6 is sportier than other mid-size sedans, 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. It's lighter on its feet and stops quicker, too. In short, it's a better driver's car. It's also the best sedan for the money that Mazda has ever built. It's available with four-cylinder and V6 engines, and each offers strong sports appeal. V6-powered models feature the sophistication of a six-speed automatic transmission.
A five-door hatchback and a Sport Wagon were added to the Mazda6 line last year. The five-door model is the only mid-size hatchback sold in America, says Mazda, and it's perfect for active singles and young couples. For its part, the wagon provides even more cargo-hauling versatility while maintaining the 6's sporty demeanor. It is, indeed a sport wagon.
The Mazda 6, or Mazda6 as the company calls it, debuted as a 2003 model 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 Mazda6 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.
For 2005, Mazda made ABS and traction control standard on all Mazda6 models. Side-impact and side-curtain airbags are standard on all but the base sedan, where they are optional. Sirius Satellite Radio can be added to any Mazda6. New Sport and Grand Touring trim levels widen the appeal of the Mazda6 by making available features buyers want at affordable prices.
The Mazda6 lineup is significantly revised for 2005. Higher trim levels are now available with the four-cylinder engine, while lower trim levels are now available with the V6.
Three body styles are available: a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback, and a five-door wagon.
Sedan and hatchback come with a choice of a 160-horsepower 2.3-liter inline-4 or a 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. Models with the four-cylinder are designated 6i, those with the V6 are badged 6s. The wagon is built only with the V6, so all Mazda6 wagons are 6s models.
Sedan and wagon are offered in base, Sport, and Grand Touring trim. The hatchback comes in Sport trim only.
All Mazda6 models are well equipped. Even the base 6i sedan ($18,995) comes with air conditioning; ABS; traction control; cruise control; six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio; tilt and telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel; leather wrapped shift knob; advanced dual-stage front airbags; power windows, mirrors and door locks with remote keyless entry; and 16-inch steel wheels. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, a four-speed automatic ($850) is optional. Side-impact and side-curtain airbags ($450) are optional. A package combining a power glass sunroof with a seven-speaker 200-watt Bose sound system is available ($1335).
Moving up to the 6i Sport sedan ($21,495) and 6i Sport hatchback ($22,025) adds an eight-way power driver's seat and front side-impact and side-curtain airbags, plus sporty exterior items such as fog lights, bright-tip exhaust outlets, side-sill extensions and a wing-type rear spoiler. Wheels and tires upgrade to P215/50VR17 on aluminum rims. The hatchback comes with a rear wiper and washer. Heated leather seats, heated mirrors, and red-illuminated electroluminescent gauges are available in a package ($1240).
The 6i Grand Touring sedan ($24,195) comes with leather upholstery, heated power driver's seat, the Bose stereo, heated mirrors, power glass sunroof, and red-illuminated electroluminescent gauges are standard. It only comes with the four-speed automatic. The Sport bits are dropped, but available as options.
The 6s Sport sedan ($23,295) and 6s Sport hatchback ($23,995) are identically equipped to their 6i counterparts except they come with the V6 engine. The standard transmission is still a five-speed manual, but the optional automatic ($950) is a six-speed.
The 6s Grand Touring sedan ($28,495) is trimmed similarly to the 6i, but has the V6 and six-speed automatic.
Base ($22,895), Sport ($24,025), and Grand Touring ($26,795) versions of the wagon correspond to the same trim levels in the sedan, except that the V6 is standard in all three, as are side-impact and side-curtain airbags.
Some, but not all, of the up-level equipment can be ordered as stand-alones on down-level models. Sirius Satellite Radio is available and cassette, MP3, and mini-disc players can be added. A wide range of appearance and convenience accessories are also available.