We’ve long been advocates of the Mazda brand here in The Garage, from the Protege5 that does the daily grind here in Ontario, to Team CBR who have had tons of success racing the RX-7 out on the west coast. Long time readers may recall that I fell in love with the previous generation Mazda6 wagon a couple of years ago. It made sense then, that with all of the sedans we’ve driven lately that we should sample the newly redesigned 2009 Mazda6.
The first time I saw one on the road, I was surprised at how the corporate DNA has been infused into the new 6. The front end has been heavily influenced by the RX-8, while the interior just feels indescribably like a Mazda.
Unfortunately, an incredibly busy week leading up to the Tall Pines Rally meant that I didn’t have time to do my usual prep for photos with the 6. Instead I managed to get a few grimy road trip shots following a snowy drive up to Bancroft. As you can tell, our tester was a bright white and it looked great. The only problem is that the incredible curves designers have given the new sedan just don’t show up all that well in photos when the model is posed in front of newly fallen snow wearing a coat of white. Trust me, the new Mazda 6 is truly sexy, without any of the risky weirdness that Nissan applied to the new Maxima.
While Mazda has taken some chances with the curves on the outside, they’ve played it safe on the inside. Sort of like that cute hockey mom you might see at the rink: She spent some time on the hair and makeup before going to the rink, but her maternal side is in overdrive as her little ones strive to be the next Gretzkey. The interior is by no means dull, it is just a nice comfortable place to be with no shocking surprises. Fit and finish is excellent for an entry level sedan and all the surfaces have a nice quality feel to them. The cloth seats are attractive and comfy if not supportive enough for a track day. Rear seat legroom is excellent for a mid-sized sedan, with enough space for actual adults.
As always, the 3 hockey bag test is our standard of trunk measurement here in The Garage and the 6 passes with flying colours. 3 full hockey bags, a water bottle carrier and a huge first aid kit all fit with ease. If there was any complaint with the trunk space, it was the lack of a load through opening in the back seat. To accommodate a Dad sized hockey stick, one must fold down one of the rear seats. Ok, so its a bit of a quibble, but it does affect the kid and hockey bag carrying quotient.
All of the other sedans we’ve tested lately have been fully jammed, big horsepower machines that are lots of fun on the road. While the ponies are hoot, the reality is that if we were in the market for a new sedan here in The Garage we’d more likely be looking for a something a bit more economical yet fun. Our tester was a GS model powered by Mazda’s twin-cam 2.5 liter 4 cylinder which puts 170 horsepower through the front wheels via a smooth shifting 5 speed automatic. The combination does it’s job nicely, though it would be a heck of a lot more entertaining with the standard equipment 6 speed manual.
The 2009 Mazda 6 offers enough Zoom Zoom that the members of AJAC voted it the best new family car offered from $22,000 to $30,000. The really well equipped GS with comfort package and the 6 speed manual tranny retails for just $24,190 here in Canada. It really is a lot of car for the money, one that would be a great fit for the family that is fed up with the minivan lifestyle.