2008 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda 6 (or Mazda6, as the manufacturer prefers) is the mid-size sedan for the driving enthusiast. The Mazda6 looks leaner than its competitors, and the driving experience confirms the impression, with agile handling and responsive engines. The Mazda6 feels tighter in corners and holds the road better than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. It's lighter on its feet and stops quicker. In short, it's more of a driver's car. Four-cylinder and V6 engines are available, and each is offered with a five-speed manual or automatic gearbox.
The Mazda6 comes in a sporty 5-Door hatchback style, in addition to the more traditional four-door sedan. The 5-Door excels at carrying cargo, yet it doesn't look like a hatchback; in fact, it takes a sharp eye to distinguish it from the sedan.
The Mazda6 was introduced for the 2003 model year, and Mazda says it has won more than 70 awards for automotive excellence since then.
The 2006 model year brought mild styling revisions and significant product improvements, inside and out. For 2007, Mazda made anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), traction control, and side-impact and side-curtain air bags standard across the Mazda6 lineup. Now 2008 brings a new standard tire pressure monitor, a Bose stereo on Touring models, 17-inch alloy wheels on even base models, and a security alarm system for the Sport VE.
An all-new Mazda6 will be launched for the 2009 model year and will go on sale summer 2008, so look for deals on the 2008 models covered here.
All 2008 Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program, toll-free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. A comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers all but routine-wear items. Additionally, 2008 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
The 2008 Mazda6 comes in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. (The wagon has been discontinued for 2008. So has the high-performance, all-wheel-drive Mazdaspeed6.)
Two engines are available: Mazda 6i models come with a 156-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine; 6s models are powered by a 212-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. With either engine buyers can choose Sport VE (for Value Edition), Touring, or Grand Touring trim. All are well equipped.
Additionally, there's the base-level 6i Sport, offered only as a sedan ($18,990), but still equipped with air conditioning; cruise control; six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio; tilt and telescope steering wheel; power windows, mirrors and door locks with remote keyless entry; a 12-volt power outlet; automatic headlight shut off; variable intermittent windshield wipers; rear window defogger; and 215/50 all-season radials on 17-inch alloy wheels. A five-speed manual transmission is standard; a five-speed automatic ($900) is optional.
The 6i Sport VE sedan ($19,750) and hatchback ($20,750) add a body-color grille; side sill extensions; eight-way power driver's seat; in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3 changer; and leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle. New for 2008 is a standard security system. Again, automatic is optional.
Touring and Grand Touring models are now offered only with automatic transmission. Additionally, 6i Touring sedan ($22,240) and hatchback ($23,240) upgrade to leather upholstery; heated front seats and outside mirrors; and a 200-watt, seven-speaker Bose audio.
The 6i Grand Touring sedan ($24,090) and hatchback ($24,840) add HID headlights, fog lights, electroluminescent gauges, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Homelink garage door opener, and a power glass sunroof with sunshade.
The V6-powered lineup begins with the 6s Sport VE sedan ($22,210) and hatchback ($23,210). Except for the engine, and two 12-volt power outlets instead of one, equipment is identical to the four-cylinder Sport VE's. Again, a five-speed manual is standard, but the optional automatic is a six-speed ($950). Touring and Grand Touring versions add the same equipment listed above for about the same differential in price, except that 6s Grand Touring models ride on 215/45 all-season radials on 18-inch alloy wheels. Prices top out with the 6s Grand Touring hatchback ($27,750).
A six-disc CD/MP3 changer is optional ($500) on the base 6i Sport sedan. Optional on VE and Touring is the sunroof ($700). Grand Touring buyers can add navigation ($2,000). Sirius Satellite Radio ($430) and a cassette player ($200) are optional on all models. A remote engine starter ($350) is available only with automatic transmission. About a dozen accessories are also available, including several cargo-organizing options ($40-50), wheel locks ($50), and an auto-dimming mirror/compass with ($275) or without ($200) Homelink.
Safety features that come standard on all models include ABS, EBD, traction control, and a full complement of air bags: advanced dual-stage front, side-impact, and side-curtain. New for 2008 is a tire-pressure monitor.