2010 Mazda6 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda6 was all-new for 2009, completely redesigned and re-engineered. Its launch was lost in the recession, but it carries into 2010 as one of the most appealing midsize sedans on the market. It looks great inside and out, offers a wide range of popular features, delivers commendable fuel economy, and is very well finished. Mainly, it delivers sparkling performance and is a terrific driving experience among midsize sedans. It's also attractively priced.
The Mazda6 is roomy inside. It delivers plenty of room for four or five adults, along with a big trunk that holds as much as can be fitted under the cargo covers of some SUVs.
It is available with a choice of a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine, each one responsive and efficient. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder has 170 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque and is EPA-rated at 21 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway with the six-speed manual transmission and 20/29 mpg with the five-speed automatic. Drivers seeking fuel efficiency over performance will find both with this four-cylinder engine. The 3.7-liter V6 makes 272 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, delivers extraordinary performance and is still EPA-rated at a commendable 17/25 mpg, City/Highway. The V6 is among the most powerful in its class and is a delight to drive. Versions with the four-cylinder engine are i models, as Mazda6 i, and those with the V6 are s models, as Mazda6 s. There are five trim levels with the four-cylinder engine, with the top two of those trim levels being also available with the V6. Prices begin at under $20,000 and can go to over $30,000 for a full loaded V6, but a very nicely equipped Mazda6 can be had for around $30,000. They are all sedans; no wagon, no two-door, and no MazdaSpeed versions are currently available.
The Mazda 6 is available with a full range of features and technology, including navigation with voice activation and all the expected sound system capabilities. But what we like most about the Mazda 6 is its driving dynamics.
The Mazda6 competes against an impressive group of midsize sedans, but we think people shopping the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, or Hyundai Sonata should have the Mazda6 on their comparison test-drive lists. Particularly, those who enjoy and appreciate a higher level of the driving experience need to consider the Mazda6, because it has a sportiness aspect not matched by the competition.
Changes for 2010 are minimal. A Touring Plus model has been added to the lineup and includes a moonroof, Bluetooth, Blind Spot Monitoring System and other features as standard equipment. The V6 versions of the Sport and Touring trim levels have been deleted. Availability of some options and features has been changed, and the Grand Touring version is now available with a comprehensive Technology Package.
The Mazda 6i SV ($18,600) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt/telescope steering wheel, 60/40 folding rear seat, floor and cargo mats, map lights, illuminated vanity mirrors, outside temperature display, Sirius compatibility, and P205/65R16 tires on steel wheels. Accessories include auto-dimming mirrors ($200), rear spoiler ($475), and splash guards ($150). The SV trim level comes only with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission.
The Mazda 6i Sport ($19,470 with manual, $20,470 with automatic) adds keyless remote entry, cruise control, and steering wheel mounted controls. The Mazda 6i Touring ($21,050 with manual, $21,950 with automatic) upgrades with P215/55R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, eight-way power driver's seat, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, center console sliding armrest, trip computer, in-dash six-CD changer, and premium trim. The Mazda 6i Touring Plus ($23,900) adds moonroof, ground illumination, electroluminescent gauges, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio operation, global open and close function for front windows and moonroof, anti-theft, and Blind Spot Monitoring System. With the Touring Plus, the automatic transmission is standard.
The Mazda 6i Grand Touring ($26,085) adds leather seats (heated in front), dual-zone climate control, welcome lighting, and a Bose sound system. The Grand Touring is available with navigation ($2,000), and the Technology Package ($1,980), which includes automatic headlamps, advanced keyless entry, push-button start, auto-dimming and heated exterior mirrors, auto-dimming interior mirror, Homelink universal garage-door opener, Sirius Satellite Radio, Multi-information Display, xenon headlamps, LED rear combination lights, driver's-seat memory, power passenger seat, and rain-sensing wipers. The Multi-information Display displays audio and Bluetooth information.
The Mazda 6s is available with the Touring Plus or Grand Touring trim levels, which are equipped similarly to their four-cylinder equivalents. The Mazda 6s has the 3.7-liter V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and chrome dual-exhaust outlets. The Mazda 6s Grand Touring also has P235/45R18 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels.
Safety features include front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control and ABS. The Blind Spot Monitoring System is standard on Touring Plus and Grand Touring models.