Driven: 2009 Mazda6

April 24, 2009

With the complete redesign of the 2009 Mazda6, Mazda blew up their mid-size sedan so that it was closer in size to the top-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. We liked the car when we reviewed it last summer and wrote the original bottom line.

However, sometimes things change when you spend a full week behind the wheel.  Would they this time?

The Mazda we had was in the Detroit fleet was the base 6 with the high-mileage combination 2.5-liter four-cylinder matched to a six-speed manual. The all-aluminum engine puts out 170 horsepower, and it's happy to let you use every one of them. The gearbox uses triple-cone synchros in first and second gears. Upper gears use double-cone synchros. These mechanics help the shift linkage feel smooth and precise, unlike some other gearboxes out that that we've recently driven (the Pontiac Vibe GT and the Cadillac CTS to name two). Mileage for this powertrain combo is frugal 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.

Unlike so many advertising slogans, there's truth to Mazda's Zoom Zoom. The 2010 Mazda6 likes to, and responds well when pushed. While the exterior dimensions measure out as a mid-size, the 6 drives like a smaller car.

Inside, the added passenger space can be enjoyed by up to five. With only four aboard, space is generous. A curious observation we noticed was that it took real effort for passengers to converse between the front and rear seats. Something about the frequency of the wind and road noise (that didn't seem overly loud) seems to interfere with the spoken word moving forward and back.

We liked the Mazda6 as much parked in the drive as on the road. The bold fenders up front give the car a personality that matches its road character. We would never characterize the Mazda6 as an old man's car.

While our impressions sometimes change after a week behind the wheel, we still like the 2010 Mazda6 plenty. Check out our 2009 Mazda Mazda6 page for more details.

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