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2006 MazdaSpeed 6 Grand Touring

 The Good :) Sharp bird like styling.  Powerful engine. All wheel drive. Roomy interior.

 The Bad :( Stiff clutch and shift gate. Engine is not free flowing. Some road noise at high speeds.

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           Comfort and speed are hard to come buy together at a low price point.  Sure you can spend $100,000 and get a German sedan full of every gadget and 500 horsepower but what is the normal guy to do when he too wants to feel some G forces on the highway on ramp every now and then? 

            Mazda has the answer for those seeking a family sedan that packs a punch as well.  Aggressively styled exterior treatment and high horsepower along with good gas mileage and a comfortable roomy interior all describe the MazdaSpeed 6.  From the Ferrari like front and rear aprons to the built in scoop in the hood, the Mazdaspeed 6 says fast by just looking at the exterior.  We especially liked the rear lower apron with a deep set black lower portion and a eye catching design.

            "The Mazdaspeed name is synonymous with amazing agility and road holding and the Mazdaspeed 6 doesn't disappoint," says Kevin Mori, Mazdaspeed 6 vehicle line manager for North America.   

            Two versions are available in the Mazdaspeed 6, a sport version and the Grand Touring version tested here with leather trimmed seats and a 8 way power driver's seat with heated front seats and mirrors and the keyless entry system.  The price difference between the two models is about $2,000.

The Direct Injection Spark Ignition engine is the first in the US which also adds a turbo charger.  Most of the 15.6 psi of boost from the turbocharger is available at 2,500 rpm.  Emissions are also kept low allowing the M 6 to meet LEV-II state regulations.  The 2.3 liter DISI engine makes 274 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 rpm.  This is coupled to a six speed manual transmission.  No automatic is available in the Mazdaspeed 6.  Power is sent to all four wheels by an Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive system. 

Real time data is taken from steering angle, yaw rate, lateral G force, and engine status to determine driving conditions.  Torque is transferred between 100:0 front/rear and 50/50. 

The Mazdaspeed 6 also rides lower than a standard Mazda 6.  A 1mm increase in the front stabilizer bar diameter and 2 mm increase in the rear bar as well as stiffer spring rates give the car a more stable feeling.  Body lean and sway is very low. 

Behind the wheel the Mazdaspeed 6 exhibits good mannerisms while still having its faults.  The Mazdaspeed6 is a very stable vehicle with the all wheel drive system giving the driver much more confidence than a front wheel drive setup.  You can always stop on the gas and have the entire vehicle push forward without any slippage.  The low height of the Mazdaspeed 6 allows you to have a road hugging feeling. 

We found that the four cylinder engine offers a bit too much noise and strains at high speeds even with the turbocharger.  Road noise is high at fast speeds as well making your trip into autobahn speeds difficult.  The heavy clutch pedal detracts from effortless driving and a rather long shift gate makes quick shifting difficult.  We would like to see the shift gate made less notchy and smoother as well as have the clutch pedal be more soft and flowing, giving more feel to the driver.  Stability control and antilock brakes with brake force distribution and traction control all are standard on this model giving you everything you may need in any sticky situation.

The interior is comfortable and uses high quality parts throughout.  We liked the overall flow of the interior giving a nice feeling to the passengers inside.  Heated and leather trimmed front bucket seats offer a sporty yet comfortable design.  Perforated leather inner portions add a touch of luxury.  The dual color scheme of the seats and door panels brings a good flash of change to an otherwise boring interior.  A quality leather look material is used for the upper dash areas and door panels.  Open the doors and you find ribbed aluminum entry sills.  Aluminum pedals with dotted accents give a race car feel.  Aluminum trim can be found in many parts such as the shift gate and edge of the center console.  Also impressive are the instrument cluster dials with large aluminum colored rings. 

Lacking are interior door handles in aluminum, something you touch each time you leave the car.  We found the sunroof to be of dated quality not offering simple one-touch controls.  Auto dimming rear view mirrors are also on the missing side of the equation.

            The driver's seat is fully powered with 8 way adjustment.  The front passenger seats lacks power movement and also lacks height adjustment which is something we have been asking for from Mazda for a long time now.  The rear seats are comfortable with a nice angle for a cradle position.  There is loads of thigh support and every seat offers a nice wood trimmed grab handle in an ergonomic position giving you something to hold onto in sporty driving.

            The instrument cluster is nicely lit in red during both day and nighttime driving.  There was no trip computer showing miles per gallon consumed, only a miles driven meter in the instrument cluster.  The multifunction steering wheel is nicely wrapped in soft leather and has controls for stereo and cruise control. 

The stereo system is feature packed with satellite radio built in and a button for alternate media.  The Bose speakers were excellent giving heart thumping bass.  A 6 disc CD changer is built into the unit in the dash.  Volume is automatically adjusted based on speed as well.  The awkward thing in all Mazda vehicles is the display for the climate and stereo located high up on the dash a bit far away from the controls themselves.  While easy to see when you are driving, it does take getting used to.  For example, the controls on this stereo system were not as intuitive as those on the VW we just tested.  Climate controls are automatic but again having to look at what you are pushing and then at another screen on top of the dash was not intuitive.  The automatic climate system does work very well and the dials themselves feel very good.  The ribbed dials with silver colored accents and backlight red lighting at night were designed nicely.  Floor mats are carpeted with a Mazdaspeed 6 logo. 

            The advanced keyless entry system is a great feature to have in this price category.  A credit card sized card is just kept in your wallet and a touch of a small button on the door handle lets the person carrying the card open the door.  Then you just turn a knob and the Mazdaspeed 6 comes to life.  When leaving, touch the button on the door handle for locking the vehicle as well.  We liked the system very much and loved its ease of use. 

            Hid Xenon headlamps also were featured in our vehicle.  They can be lowered in three stages to not offend oncoming drivers in your area should you find this happening.  The light beams are not as bright as those tested on some German makes however they are better than standard halogen lamps. 

            A large 7.5 inch screen displays the Navigation system which is another great feature to have in any car today.  The system works easily for the whole country with many points of interest and locations searchable by telephone number.  We did not like the safety features like the initial screen asking you to OK a safety message or the lack of use while driving.  If a person wants to be distracted a book or computer or the stereo can be just as distracting as the navigation system so why make it harder to use?

Safety and security features include the standard antitheft engine immobilizer alarm system.  Side airbags and side curtain airbags as well as the dual front air bags are offered.  Seatbelt pretensioners all around and 24 hour roadside assistance offer the basics in this price range.  A 48 month 50,000 mile warranty is included.  A loaner car program is also standard giving you the same benefits that cars costing much more offer. 

Our test car has a MSRP of $29,925.  Added to this is an optional cargo net for $40.  Wheel locks add $40 more.  The power moonroof is $700.  The in dash navigation system adds $2000.  White leather replaces black leather on the seats at no charge.  Add a $560 for delivery and the total comes to $33,265. 

The Mazdaspeed6 grand touring has 95% of its parts coming from Japan.  The final assembly point is Hiroshima, Japan.  Both the engine and transmission parts are from Japan.  The window sticker also states 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.  

The Mazdaspeed 6 is a car which does deliver in its promise to give a sports car feel while retaining the comforts we all like in a sedan.  For the sticker price of $33,265 we could get a BMW 3 series or a Audi A3 or A4 which would provide a better ride and more road feel with a overall vehicle that feels better built than the light weight Mazdaspeed 6.  Although you get more in the Mazda, such as Xenon lights, navigation system, more horsepower, and all wheel drive, somehow the Mazda just doesn't deliver the power in a way that feels great.  Improvements in the drivetrain to make it smoother and more noise free at high speeds would make this car vastly better in its overall choice for a buyer. 

 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 27,608 29,925
Destination 560 560
Moon Roof, Power Glass Mazdaspeed6 609 700
Navigation System, Voice Activated 1,740 2,000

 

  2006 Mazda MAZDASPEED MAZDA6
Grand Touring 4dr Sport Sedan AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 Dodge Charger
RT 4dr Sedan (5.7L 8cyl 5A)
2006 Nissan Altima
3.5 SE-R 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6M)
2006 Subaru Legacy
2.5 GT Limited 4dr Sedan AWD w/Ivory Int. (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
2006 Volkswagen Passat
2.0T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
MSRP $29,925 $29,720 $29,650 $28,795 $23,900
Invoice $27,608 $27,418 $27,421 $26,782 $21,985
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders inline 4 V8 V6 flat 4 inline 4
Base Engine Displacement 2.3 liters 5.7 liters 3.5 liters 2.5 liters 2.0 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Variable Valve Timing Standard   Standard Standard  
Compressor turbocharger     turbocharger turbocharger
Horsepower 274 hp @ 5500 rpm 340 hp @ 5000 rpm 260 hp @ 5800 rpm 250 hp @ 6000 rpm 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque 280 ft-lbs. @ 3000 rpm 390 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 251 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 250 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 207 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm
5 Speed Manual       Standard  
5 Speed Shiftable Automatic   Standard      
6 Speed Manual Standard   Standard   Standard
Driven Wheels all wheel drive rear wheel drive front wheel drive all wheel drive front wheel drive
Tires P215/45YR18
performance
P225/60HR18
all season
P225/45WR18
all season
P215/45ZR17
all season
215/55HR16
all season
Upholstery Type leather leather leather premium leather leatherette
Premium Shift Knob Trim leather leather leather leather  
Xenon Headlights Standard   Standard    
Watts 200 276 150 120  
Navigation System DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional      
Turning Circle 36.8 ft. 38.9 ft. 40 ft. 35.4 ft. 35.8 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 12 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 11 cu. ft. 14 cu. ft.
City 20 mpg. 17 mpg. 20 mpg. 20 mpg. 23 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 25 mpg. 28 mpg. 26 mpg. 32 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity 15.9 gal. 19 gal. 20 gal. 16.9 gal. 18.5 gal.
Length 186.8 in. 200.1 in. 192.5 in. 186.2 in. 188.2 in.
Width 70.1 in. 74.5 in. 70.4 in. 68.1 in. 71.7 in.
Height 56.3 in. 58.2 in. 57.4 in. 56.1 in. 58 in.
Weight 3589 lbs. 4031 lbs. 3335 lbs. 3365 lbs. 3305 lbs.
Wheel Base 105.3 in. 120 in. 110.2 in. 105.1 in. 106.7 in.
Ground Clearance 4.9 in. 5.1 in.   5.9 in. 5.2 in.
Front Headroom 38.7 in. 38.7 in. 40.8 in. 37.5 in. 38.4 in.
Rear Headroom 37.1 in. 36.2 in. 37.6 in. 36.5 in. 37.8 in.
Front Shoulder Room 56.1 in. 59.3 in. 56.3 in. 54.4 in. 55.7 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.9 in. 57.6 in. 56 in. 53.7 in. 54.6 in.
Front Hip Room 54.7 in. 56.2 in. 53 in. 51 in.  
Rear Hip Room 54.1 in. 55.5 in. 54.5 in. 52.6 in.  
Front Leg Room 42.3 in. 41.8 in. 43.9 in. 44.1 in. 41.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.5 in. 40.2 in. 36.4 in. 33.9 in. 37.7 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 12.4 cu.ft. 16.2 cu.ft. 15.6 cu.ft. 11.4 cu.ft. 14.2 cu.ft.

 

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