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November 2005
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Walk around the outside and inside, drive behind the wheel, watch the Mazda 6 drive by.  Click Here

 

2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Sport Wagon

The Good  Smooth and quiet ride.  Lots of space. Excellent looks for a wagon.

The Bad  Needs better nav system.  Sunroof should be bigger.  No height adjustment for front passenger seat.  No automatic headlights.

Download Apple QuickTime viewer here.  Walk around the outside and inside, drive behind the wheel, watch the Mazda 6 drive by.  Click Here

 

            Mazda, is slowly heading for a great future, changing its cars and its old ways.  Many new vehicles have come out of this manufacturer recently like the four door 3, the new RX-8 and the all new Miata.  Mazda's are increasingly being test driven by customers who would otherwise flock to Honda, Toyota or Nissan.  Recently, dealership improvements have been scheduled which will likely draw in numerous buyers, our main complaint for the last few years; this improvement was much needed.  The Grand Sport Wagon tested here offers some changes for 2006, continuing a great run with more than 70 awards thus far.

            "The mechanical improvements will further improve the customer's perception of style and quality," says Eiji Oyama, MAZDA 6 vehicle line manager for Mazda North American Operations. "The MAZDA 6 's unique competitive advantage is its sports-sedan position, and updates for 2006 further emphasize that advantage over the competition. Thanks to three different body styles, and the availability of four-cylinder and V6 engines, manual or automatic transmissions, the car that delivers the sportiest driving experience in its sector is even more desirable."

            Designed in a sleek and performance inspired fashion the Mazda 6 for 2006 is beautiful.  There are two MAZDA 6 models: the four-cylinder i version and the V6-powered S. Each is available in one of four different packages: entry-level, Sport, Grand Touring and new for 2006 Grand Sport.  New to the Mazda 6 are changes to bumpers, headlights and taillights, side sills and rear trunk spoiler.

            From the nose the slatted front grille in matching silver color is recessed back forming the beginning of a very slender and futuristic body.  A four beam front headlight system is unique with the main xenon beams at the outer edges in the fender, giving the Mazda 6 a even wider appearance in other driver's rearview mirrors.  Wrap around front bumper and built in flush mounted grille as well as fog lamps offers a clean front end design.  Headlight and taillight housings are colored in an aggressive dark grey color.  Large 18-inch wheels with minimal body wheel gap are the perfect accessory.  From a lower stance up front to a higher stance towards the rear the Mazda 6 is ready to pounce.  Windows are slightly narrowed at you approach the rear and a mid line curvature ads to the clean appearance of the exterior.  From the rear the Mazda 6 is substantial with a nicely shaped rear bumper and sleek styling with dual chrome exhaust tips.

            The interior of the Mazda 6 is comfortable, well built, quiet and roomy.  All these qualities are required in any car you are going to like for the near future.  Gone are most silver plastic parts which are not real aluminum (a few remain).  The use of leather look material on the upper dash and doors is great.  Most of this material feels softer than old hard plastic.  A nicely sized steering wheel offers leather wrapping along with shift knob and parking brake handle.  Ventilation outlets are large for our tastes leaving gaping holes in the dash. 

            The instrument panel features a good quality dark metallic finish with piano black material around the stereo controls and silver colored dials around the ventilation controls.  New redesigned switches are features for 2006.  The old red LCD style display is still used on top of the center console showing information far from the button you push to ask for it.  A flip open screen shows DVD navigation information.  To use it a remote control is placed neat the shift gate and can be removed for in your hand use.  The system is not as great as the Audi system we just tested but is good enough to get you to places quickly.  We would like to see it have a brighter screen in the future as it was hard to see during the day.  Voice control of the system is difficult to get right and needs improvement. 

            Xenon headlights are of mediocre quality when compared to the best, these however can be adjusted for height should you offend drivers in your neighborhood.  Electroluminescent gauges that black out when the vehicle is off are only available on the Mazda 6 Grand Touring and Sport model.  Instrument cluster dials are surrounded by chrome rings for a high end appearance.  A simple trip mileage memory for 2 trips is also located in the instrument cluster however no trip computer is available showing gas mileage. 

            Both front doors offer ergonomic controls such as automatic window switches located in front of you, and grab handles for the passengers that fit your arm resting on the door armrest.  Front windows when lowered stop at 1 inch for a venting position.  The stereo on our model was a Bose system with good quality speakers.  Even Bose is now making different quality products as we did not find the sound quality in this system to be up to the quality of the Bose system in our just tested Audi so watch out and make sure you know what you are buying as a option.  Six CD disc changer is built into the dash and the system can also easily have Satellite radio and alternate media hookup.  Outside mirrors are heated for better visibility in rain and snow but are not dimming.  Interior ambient and footwell lighting is non existent making for a dark environment, some light in the footwells would be nice.  We would like to add automatic headlights to the feature list. 

            New front seats for 2006 offer greater comfort and support.  Seating surfaces are in leather of good quality with inner portions being perforated leather.  The driver's seat is comfortable and angles for a cradle position and is height adjustable.  The passenger seat is not powered and is not height adjustable which is a serious flaw.  We always felt we were sitting too high for comfort.  Five large adults can sit comfortably in the cabin.  37 Cubic feet of cargo space is available with the rear seats in normal position.  More than 60 cubic feet of space is available with the rear seats folded flat.  Front doors also contain bottle holders and a large space in the center armrest for your goodies.  Overhead is a small sunglass compartment.  Rear seat legroom is quite nice with a good seating position as well.  Headroom is very good and width is also quite normal.  All door feature perforated leather panels for a higher end look.  We also love the quick release rear seatbacks which, with a pull of one lever, fold completely down quickly and easily.  There is plenty of room to carry all that you can think of in this car. 

            A 3.0 liter V6 engine is standard delivering 215 horsepower and 199 lb.- ft. of torque.  It offers a smooth powerband and can come on strong and loud when you depress the accelerator suddenly.  The six-speed transmission delivers unnoticeable shifts and adjusts shifting pattern to the current driving style automatically.  Move the lever to the right of the D position and you can shift gears with a forward movement downshifting and a backward movement shifting gears from 1 to 2 and up.  We think this movement should be reversed as in most cars moving the lever forward moves gears to a higher number gear.  Mileage is rated at 20 city and 27 highway. 

            A smooth ride is the best feature of the Mazda 6 Wagon.  The interior is quiet on well paved roads and wind noise as well as engine noise is very limited.  The Mazda 6 shows behaved mannerisms with the help of a rigid body structure.  Body sway is still noticeable however not something to complain about.  Body dive is noticeably improved.  Suspension is a good balance between firm and soft with low noise.  Steering feel is also quite good and the enjoyment of driving can be conveyed through to the driver well.  Being a front wheel drive car, lurching and pulling is noticeable under heavy acceleration and we prefer rear wheel drive cars for their handling ability.

The Mazda 6 has tested well in safety getting the highest ratings in frontal crash tests.  Side airbags for the front seats and curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers are standard.  Traction control systems are particularly helpful in daily driving for safety and are standard on the Mazda 6.  Four wheel disc brakes with antilock system and electronic brakeforce distribution with brake assist to apply full pressure in emergency situations are all standard as well.  A anti theft alarm and remote keyless entry system with panic button is also standard.

            A 48 month or 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty is provided.  24 hour roadside assistance is also provided with a loaner car program, something you do not find in this class of vehicle. 

            Our test car started off at $27,910 for the Mazda 6 Grand sport wagon in metallic silver and gray interior.  A six speed sport automatic transmission adds $950.  California emissions add $100.  The voice activated navigation system ads $2,000.  Delivery of $560 makes the total $31,520.  A option we would have liked would be the auto dimming rearview mirror and Homelink for only $250 and a cassette player for $100. 

 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 25,757 27,910
Destination 560 560
Automatic, 6-Spd w/Overdrive & Sport Mode s Base, s Sport & Grand Sport 827 950
Engine Start, Remote Control 280 350
Mirror, Inside Automatic Day/Night 140 175
Navigation System i & s Grand Touring & Grand Sport 1,600 2,000
Radio Equipment, Satellite Feature 344 430

 

COMPARISONS

  2006 Mazda MAZDA6
s Grand Sport 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
LTZ 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
2006 Dodge Magnum
SE 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
2006 Subaru Legacy
2.5 GT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/Black Int. (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
2005 Volkswagen Passat
GLX Fwd 4dr Wagon (2.8L 6cyl 5M)
Pricing MAZDA6 Malibu Maxx Magnum Legacy Passat
MSRP $27,910 $24,755 $22,430 $31,195 $30,790
Invoice $25,757 $22,898 $20,857 $28,695 $28,017
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V6 V6 flat 4 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.0 liters 3.5 liters 2.7 liters 2.5 liters 2.8 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
12 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
30 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 215 hp @ 6000 rpm 201 hp @ 5600 rpm 190 hp @ 6400 rpm 250 hp @ 6000 rpm 190 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 199 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 221 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 190 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 250 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 206 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm
Tires P215/45VR18
all season
P225/50R17
all season
P215/65TR17
all season
P215/45ZR17
all season
P225/45HR17
all season
Wheels alloy rims
18 x 7.0 in.
chrome alloy rims
17 in.
steel rims
17 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.0 in.
Premium Steering Wheel Trim leather-wrapped leather-wrapped leather - Optional leather-wrapped leather-wrapped
Traction Control Standard Standard Optional Not Available Standard
Stability Control Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available Standard
Xenon Headlights Standard Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Premium Brand Audio System Bose Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
CD In-Dash 6 CD player single CD player single CD player 6 CD player single CD player
Turning Circle 38.7 ft. 38 ft. 38.9 ft. 35.4 ft. 37.4 ft.
Length 187.8 in. 187.8 in. 197.7 in. 188.7 in. 184.3 in.
Width 70.1 in. 69.8 in. 74.1 in. 68.1 in. 68.7 in.
Height 57.3 in. 58.1 in. 58.4 in. 58.1 in. 59 in.
Weight 3404 lbs. 3476 lbs. 3847 lbs. 3500 lbs. 3499 lbs.
Wheel Base 105.3 in. 112.3 in. 120 in. 105.1 in. 106.4 in.
Ground Clearance 5.1 in. 6.1 in. 5.6 in. 6.1 in. 5.8 in.
Front Headroom 38 in. 39.4 in. 38.4 in. 38.7 in. 37.8 in.
Rear Headroom 38.6 in. 39.4 in. 38.1 in. 37.1 in. 37.9 in.
Front Shoulder Room 56.1 in. 56.7 in. 58.7 in. 54.4 in. 55.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.9 in. 55.5 in. 57.6 in. 53.7 in. 54.6 in.
Front Hip Room 54.7 in. 53.5 in. 56.2 in. 51 in. Not Published
Rear Hip Room 54.1 in. 52.4 in. 55.5 in. 52.6 in. Not Published
Front Leg Room 42.3 in. 41.9 in. 41.8 in. 44.1 in. 41.5 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.5 in. 41 in. 40.2 in. 33.9 in. 35.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 33.7 cu.ft. 22.8 cu.ft. 27.2 cu.ft. 32.1 cu.ft. 39 cu.ft.

 

  2006 Mazda MAZDA6
s Grand Sport 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
2005 Volvo V50
T5 Fwd 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 6M)
2005 Saab 9-5
Arc 2.3T 4dr Sport Wagon (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
2006 Audi A3
2.0T 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
2005 Saab 9-2X
Linear 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Pricing MAZDA6 V50 9-5 A3 9-2X
MSRP $27,910 $27,610 $37,050 $26,140 $22,990
Invoice $25,757 $25,990 $34,653 $24,370 $21,841
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 inline 5 inline 4 inline 4 flat 4
Base Engine Displacement 3.0 liters 2.5 liters 2.3 liters 2.0 liters 2.5 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
20 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
Horsepower 215 hp @ 6000 rpm 218 hp @ 5000 rpm 220 hp @ 5500 rpm 200 hp @ 5100 rpm 165 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 199 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 236 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm 228 ft-lbs. @ 1900 rpm 207 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm 166 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm
Tires P215/45VR18
all season
P205/55R16
all season
P215/55VR16
all season
P225/45YR17
all season
P205/55RR16
all season
Wheels alloy rims
18 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
16 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
16 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.5 in.
alloy rims
16 x 6.5 in.
Air Filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration Not Available
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional electrochromatic - Optional Not Available
Reading Lights front and rear reading lights front and rear reading lights front and rear reading lights front reading lights front reading lights
Vanity Mirrors dual illuminated vanity mirrors dual illuminated vanity mirrors dual illuminated vanity mirrors dual vanity mirrors dual vanity mirrors
Premium Steering Wheel Trim leather-wrapped leather-wrapped leather-wrapped leather - Optional leather - Optional
Xenon Headlights Standard Optional Optional Optional Optional
Turning Circle 38.7 ft. 34.9 ft. 37.1 ft. 35.1 ft. 35.4 ft.
Length 187.8 in. 177.7 in. 190.1 in. 168.7 in. 175.6 in.
Width 70.1 in. 69.7 in. 70.5 in. Being Researched 66.7 in.
Height 57.3 in. 57.2 in. 57 in. 56 in. 57.7 in.
Weight 3404 lbs. 3269 lbs. 3620 lbs. 3329 lbs. 3070 lbs.
Wheel Base 105.3 in. 103.9 in. 106.4 in. 101.5 in. 99.4 in.
Front Headroom 38 in. 38.9 in. 38.7 in. 38.1 in. 39.7 in.
Rear Headroom 38.6 in. 38.1 in. 38.2 in. Being Researched 37.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room 56.1 in. 55.2 in. 56.9 in. 54.3 in. 52.7 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.9 in. 54.1 in. 56.5 in. Being Researched 52.9 in.
Front Hip Room 54.7 in. 53.7 in. Not Published Not Published 53.3 in.
Rear Hip Room 54.1 in. 50.7 in. Not Published Not Published 51.9 in.
Front Leg Room 42.3 in. 41.6 in. 42.4 in. 41.2 in. 42.9 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.5 in. 34.4 in. 36.6 in. Being Researched 33.7 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 33.7 cu.ft. 27.4 cu.ft. 31.4 cu.ft. 13.1 cu.ft. 27.9 cu.ft.

 

 

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