Mazda6 2.5 Liter Touring review

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The model I drove for a week was a Touring version equipped with the smaller 2.5 Liter engine.
It’s not the top of the line, but not a base model either.
Mine also had a Bose and premium package.


I always thought the new Mazda6 looked great. And I wasn’t dissapointed.
In real life, it stands out even more, especially when compared to cars like the Camry and the Accord. I don’t think it is as good looking as the shorter European model. Especially the hatchback version.
But it is still one of the best looking sedan available over here. In my opinion.

The interior is also one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
It looks great and has a quality feel to it. Soft plastics are almost used everywhere.
Everything is where it is supposed to be.
The dashboard is pretty far from the driver, which gives and even stronger impression of space. But the console ends up being a little far to reach.

The back seat is amazingly roomy. There is no secret there. You can tell it is a pretty big car when you turn around to back up.
It is only shorter than the new Accord, by about half an inch. It is about 2 inches longer than the Malibu, and 4 longer than the Camry or the Altima.

There are plenty of nice details inside. Like the dial surroundings on the dash. (No cheap looking plastichrome).
Or the pattern on the console and dash, matching the cloth part of the seats.
It’s just a very nice place to spend some time. Again, one of the best interiors around in this class.

The optional Bose stereo didn’t sound as great as I expected. But this isn’t the 1st time I experience this.
Either base systems have become really good, or high end makers like Bose and JBL are relying too much on their image…

I just don’t think it’s worth the extra, but you have no choice if you want a sunroof. They are part of the same package.


The ride is amazingly smooth. I say amazing because I was expecting the Mazda6 to be quite sporty. It isn’t.
It is more of a solid luxury ride setup. Not quite as smooth as the Malibu. But better than the Accord.

I remember loving the steering of the previous version. This one is very good, but not as memorable. It does the job and at least doesn’t feel like a Nintendo game.

I think the new 2.5 Liter engine is the weakest part of the car.

We are now used to super smooth and quiet 4 cylinder motors. Like the one in the Malibu/Aura, or Accord and Camry.
Even the one in the Altima is fine until you push it.
But in the Mazda6, that 4 cylinder “Buzz” is just more present. It’s not that bad. But it’s there. At least, unlike the Nissan engine, it never gets coarse or too loud when you push it.
Plus, there is a small vibration at around 1000RPM. And you always go through 1000RPM, especially in traffic.

The worse is when you go into reverse. For some reason, that’s when the engine does a great impression of a good diesel.
It’s almost weird…

This engine just feels like it belongs in a smaller, cheaper car. (Must be great in the 3) .
I was also surprised by the lack of pick up.
170hp should be fine. But it feels much slower than about any other mid size car I’ve been driving lately.

At least gas mileage is good. It was easy to get between 18/19 MPG in just city driving. And I reached 34MPG cruising at 65 on the freeway.
Not bad for such a roomy car.

The 5 speed auto is fine. Smooth , and pretty responsive. I just don’t like these gated shifters. This is so “last century”.
They just make no sense, dating back when manufacturers were all trying to copy Mercedes’s weird idea.


I really enjoyed my time with the new Mazda6.
I loved he “old one”. It was more special. It kind of had that “fit like a glove” feeling.
And the smaller engine had a really nice sound to it.

The new, much larger one seems like it should be a “Mazda7, or Mazda8.

So it is hard to recommend it to someone who does want something a bit sporty. And people looking for a luxury ride would do better with a Malibu.
I usually always recommend the smaller 4 cylinder engine over the larger, more expensive V6 option.
But in this case, I am not so sure. The buzz from the 4 could be annoying for some.
(I will be driving a V6 version soon and will report on that).

The model I was driving retails for $26 800 .
A Malibu LTZ is $27 500. A Camry XLE is $28 000. All with similar equipment.

It is pretty much a matter of choice.
The new 6 is a great looking car that will stand out in a sea of Accords and Camrys.
It feels very good to drive, if you don’t mind a little more engine noise than in most of the competition.

Conversation 8 comments

  1. I had a ’91 Mazda Protege that I expected to replace with a Mazda 6, 4 cylinder in late 2003.

    When I tested cars then, the Mazda 6 with the 4 cylinder engine handled and braked very well, but acceleration was sluggish with a distinct lag for the first couple of seconds–really unresponsive and not as quick off the line as the old Protege!

    I think the engine was sufficiently powerful, but I’d guess that Mazda tried to save a few bucks by installing an old, 4 speed Ford automatic transmission with gear ratios not suitable for the Mazda’s 4 cylinder engine.

    The Mazda’s first gear was probably too tall causing the car to lug a bit on take-off–at least that’s what it felt like.

    Mazda later began using a better, 5 speed A/T, so I’m surprised the new Mazda 6 isn’t as quick as it should be. Maybe they’re still saving money using a badly-matched, Ford A/T?

    In any case, the Mazda’s throttle lag was a deal-killer, so I bought an early ’04 Honda Accord EX-L with the 4 cylinder engine instead.

    The Accord is very responsive–no need for a V6–and remains satisfying to drive. I like Mazdas, but I think there might be too much Ford in them now.

  2. I think Mazda screwed the pooch on this car by making it so mainstream. The spy pics looked exciting and indeed the JDM version Atenza looks great, but when I saw the new USDM Mazda6 I was radically underwhelmed. The write-ups seemed to confirm the lack of sportiness compared to the prior, and everything I have seen or heard of this car screams “please soccer-moms buy me instead of a Camry” – it is that vanilla.

    I am really worried the new Mazda3 will be the same. Guess I’m going to have to pray that the Focus, new Fusion, or new Taurus are fun because Mazda made a wrong turn down the road to suckiness.

  3. Hey, Vince,
    Think you’ve seen the euro Mazda6 in person, right?
    But I don’t remember if you said you’d driven one…

    What I’d like to see is the euro Mz6 hatch brought to the U.S. as a new MX-6 !!!

    Wonder if you’d agree?

  4. How does this car make any financial sense? For $25,500 you can get a loaded Sonata Limited 4 cylinder with full leather, roof, everything. For the price of the Mazda6 you can even add navigation. Then subtract $2,000 rebate. May not be as sporty, but for most drivers it is a better deal than this 6.

  5. “Anonymous said…

    How does this car make any financial sense? For $25,500 you can get a loaded Sonata Limited 4 cylinder with full leather, roof, everything. For the price of the Mazda6 you can even add navigation. Then subtract $2,000 rebate. May not be as sporty, but for most drivers it is a better deal than this 6.”

    You know, I might have to agree with this. Due to the financial downturn you can get a Sonata Limited V6 for about 23K OTD. I honestly would rather pocket the extra cash and get a better warranty, and have a smooth V6.

    Mazda has made the new 6 too much money.

  6. I’ll agree with everyone else posting about getting a Sonata instead.

    I had a Sonata with the 3.3 V6 as a rental for a week on my last trip to Chicago and I absolutely loved it!

    I had a new 6 for about the same length of time when I was last in Tucson, and while it was sportier, I honestly can’t say I liked it more than the Hyundai. If you factor in the price of purchsing one for yourself then things get even more clear. I have seen a ton of 2009 Sonatas on the road, but not so many new Mazda 6s at all.

  7. does mazda offer any other interior colors with the new 6 yet? for me, it would be a deal breaker if it only came with a black interior

  8. New 2009 Mazda6 Receives its first Recall

    Approximately 29,000 MY2009 Mazda6 cars are being recalled in the States due to a problem with the outer door handles that may not latch correctly allowing the door to open while the vehicle is in motion. In an official announcement, Mazda said that its U.S. dealers will inspect the 6’s door handles and if necessary, repair or replace the handles free of charge. The recall is expected to begin before the end of February. Concerned owners may contact Mazda for more information directly at 1-800-222-5500.

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