First two years, great car, fun to drive, great looks, everything. Then the car starts to idle roughly, which triggers check engine light. Take it in for a diagnostics test, and it says to replace camshaft position sensor. Did that, only to have the car get worse. Take it into the dealer, who states that the car's engine has suffered a catostrophic failure. Oil burned up fast due to the cylinder head rings cracking. That resulted in the pulleys breaking off. Funny thing was, oil was replaced 4K before this happened, and no oil light ever came on throughout the entire ordeal. Fought with Mazda hard, but they never budged, so I got stuck with paying 3K left on a car that I don't even have.
I bought my Mazda6i brand new when it came out in '03. It performs great and it sure is pretty. But the build quality is a bit iffy. First a spark plug cable had to be replaced. No big deal, except that it took 4 trips and about 8 total hours for the dealer to figure out that was why the check engine light was on. Second, the transmission's inner shaft and axle had to be replaced at 20k miles after the car just died on me. I've had no other mechanical problems with the car so far. It now has 30k miles on it. But now my interior ceiling lining is actually falling off. There is no excuse for that. A $25k car's interior lining should not be falling apart after 4 yrs.
The design. Handling. Luxury features when fully loaded. Leather steering wheel with stereo controls standard.
Mazda should really figure out how to keep their cars interior lining from falling off after only 4 years. Everybody else did a long time ago.
I purchased a 6s after driving a number of competing cars including Maxima, Passat. The 6s was well equipped, less expensive, better styled and drove like a much more expensive car. In the four years I have owned the 6s, the car has remained interesting. I have not grown tired of the driving or looks. After some warranty repairs on brake rotors, fans, and a "reflash" of the transmission, the car drives better than new. Mazdas are clearly driver-oriented cars and their design and performance confirm that philosophy. My daughter recently became primary driver of the 6s and she raves how well it drives. She receives frequent positive comments on the style and sportiness.
Handling, driving pleasure, styling, practical design. Warranty was good (4 year 50k miles) and issues were fixed by the dealer.
First year of production did have some issues with brakes, transmission shifting and some minor adjustments. Once these items are fixed (hopefully on warranty) the car is a keeper.
I've had this car 3 1/2 years and I don't know how I could be happier. It's fun to drive, economical (I get rated 25/32 mpg), + 18 gal tank, 425+ miles/tank easy on road trip. A very comfortable road car, and has a very large trunk for midsize class. Haven't had any problems, other than stock Michelin tires were not good in snow, but were quiet and good summer tires. Mine is 5 speed manual and 4 cyl. Sometimes wish it had a 6th gear for over 75 mph to lower rpms, but the engine is so quiet at speed I've had to tell my sister to shift into 5th on highway because the engine doesn't "tell" you it should be shifted, like on other cars. Heat and air are very powerful.
Gas mileage, good looks, sporty/fun to drive factor. Not a generic car. Safety features (air curtains for back seat too). Big trunk with fold flat 60/40 seats with simple lever activation from trunk.