2010 Mazda6i Touring Plus: More Size, Features, and Power

January 22, 2010

Mazda has made significant improvements to their Mazda 6 with an all-new re-engineered car that is larger, has new features, and an increase in power. All this has been accomplished without significantly affecting the price, fuel economy, or driving dynamics. Just about every dimension inside and out has increased.

The  Mazda6 now delivers plenty of room for four or five adults along with a bigger trunk that can carry four large suitcases. Mazda says that this car has been designed expressly for the North American market and is considerably bigger than the overseas version. Four trim levels are offered on the Mazda6 sedan, with prices ranging from less than $20,000 to around $33,000 for a fully loaded V-6 model. All are four-door sedans. There is no wagon, or hatchback, available for 2010.

I test drove the fuel efficient 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine model for the week. This engine gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg city/highway and comes with a five-speed automatic transmission. For 2009, the four-cylinder engine was increased from 2.3- to 2.5-liters, now at 170 horsepower, it is right in line with the base engines from Accord, Camry, Altima, and Malibu. The new 2.5-liter four cylinder has plenty of power for everything around town and had impressive power going up I-70 on a trip to Breckenridge. I was also impressed with the independent front and rear suspension on the four-cylinder car and with the 17-inch wheels it was fun on winding mountain roads around Evergreen. What I liked most about the Mazda6 is its driving dynamics and sporty feel.

The Mazda 6i Touring Plus ($23,750) model should be popular. It comes with an array of options like 17-inch tire/wheel combination and fog lights, 8-way power drivers seat, leather wrapped wheel/shifter, electroluminescent gauges with trip computer, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, Bluetooth phone/audio, MP3, 6CD in-dash, Sirius; power moonroof, power mirrors with outside ground illumination, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The Touring Plus also comes with a blind spot monitor system, though the Mazda6 has no significant blind spots. At speeds greater than 20 mph the system senses vehicles adjacent; it casts an orange image onto the exterior mirror if it senses your car going in the path of another car, and gives a warning signal while it senses a vehicle in the way. It worked better and caused fewer false alarms than similar systems Ive seen on other brands.

On the inside the Mazda6 is roomy and comfortable, and the recent makeover of the Mazda6 has resulted in cabin dimensions similar to the Accord. The cloth trimmed seats are nice and the 6 way power drivers seat can be adjusted to accommodate just about any size person. Visibility looking out is good in all directions. The outside mirrors are fairly low and so is the dashboard, all adding up to a good view looking out.

My only complaint is that there is a beep that accompanied every volume adjustment made by the steering wheel toggle which can be a little annoying. Probably the strongest area for the Mazda6 is the in the area of cargo space. The 16.6 cubic feet of volume is best in this class and is about double what some hybrids have. It is easy to load cargo into the trunk with the top of the bumper being level with the floor. There are no hinges or trunk arms within the opening and the rear seatbacks that fold flat can be released from the trunk.

The Mazda6 is bigger, roomier, and more refined for 2010. It can now begin to compete with an impressive group of mid-size sedans like Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata. The advantage Mazda6 has, is that it has the soul of a sports car and goes beyond mere transportation, allowing it to be an alternative to the Acura TL, Nissan Maxima, and Volkswagen Passat. The styling isn't conservative, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder is fuel efficient, and it's a fun car to drive.

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