2010 Mazda6i Touring Plus Review: a Four for Joe Six Pack

February 3, 2010
Mazda's revamped 6 is a sporting sedan.  Its rakish body encloses four-adult size perches with tall-driver friendly front thrones. The Euro-theme sculpted interior door panels and its floating dash pad have jazzy black overlays.

Switchgear needs improvement; the info button is dash left, hidden behind the steering wheel near similar blind spot warning and stability program switches.  Plus, the steering wheel's cruise and radio controls are fine dayside but aren't clearly marked at night.  Also, the reach-rake adjustable steering column impedes one's view of the smallish speedo and tach.

Look carefully.  You'll notice that the 6's trim is sloppy.  For instance, the armrests have uneven gaps, the trunk liner is rough edged, plastic plugs punctuate the headliner.

Start the 170-hp, four-cylinder mill and you'll see Zoom Zoom in the info screen.  The powertrain attached to a five-speed doesn't stir much excitement; it sounds like a small household appliance, probably harvest gold.  Steering feel and handling inspire.  However, road noise and wind rush don't.

 

Mazda's motorcycle-style instruments are black-lighted in "That '70s Show" colors but info is squeezed into small digits better suited for an optometrist's office.

 

Mazda asks $25,000 for this relatively thrifty ride.  That includes an effective blind-spot monitoring system and other goodies formerly only available on the up-market, six-cylinder version.  Fuel economy:  25 mpg overall.  EPA's figures:  21 city and 30 highway.

 

The Mazda's 6 offers both room and some zoom.  Ironically, the Michigan-built Mazda's chassis underpins Ford's Mexican-built Fusion.  If you're the average Joe who is looking for a domestically assembled sedan, it's the foreign brand that is American-grown.

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