2005 Mazda 6 s Grand Touring 4dr Sports Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
Going into my fifth year (at 92000 miles) with my 2005 Mazda6S GT, I'm still enjoying the driver oriented experience baked into this car from day one. Only reliability issues I've encountered are the headlights burning out and a strut bearing causing noise.
Otherwise, taking good care to replace general maintenance items has kept the car in good working condition, and I don't baby the car. The relationship between driver and car, in regards to seating position, steering, throttle, and general feel is fantastic. Refinement could be better (2006+ models are noticeably more refined), but I enjoy this car every time I drive it. New sport shocks, springs, and larger rear sway added.
Steering - Could have a little less slack, but the information on what the tires are doing makes hard driving easy and fun. Feels like a sports car.
Transmission - While the 6-speed Aisin automatic is not buttery smooth (especially when cold) like newer automatics, it is well geared for the engine, holds revs to fuel cutoff, and for the most part is very direct and connected.
Chassis - While lacking refinement, the car simply transmits plenty of what it is doing to the driver through the seat and wheel, enabling you to take advantage of the very sporty nature of the cars suspension.
Interior - Mine has held up well, is functional and looks sharp.
Engine - V6 is strong and smooth when revved out (also fun and sounds great), but could use more low end torque.
Weather - The car is fun to drive, but its quick responses can make driving in the snow and rain difficult. Solved this by just having excellent tires; Michelin Pilot Super Sports for summer, Bridgestone Blizzack WS-70 for winter.
Shocks - My car, not sure if all '05 6's, needed better shock damping. I replaced the stockers with Koni FSD dampers, huge difference. 2006+ models felt better than the 05 stock.
A/C - Could be stronger.
Going to replace coolant after winter, will reevaluate then.
Refinement - A bit of road noise, and more suspension noise than I'd like.