2009 Mazda MAZDA6 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Mazda 6: Blind Spot Monitor Redux

January 04, 2010

UPDATED 1.4.10 @ 1800

I did a post previously on our long-term 2009 Mazda 6's Blind Spot Monitor system.
But that was before youtube, or more accurately, before I got an account and figured out how to use it.

The Mazda 6's blind spot detection is radar-based with the sensors both in the mirror housing and at the leading edge of the rear bumper. The mirror housing sensors help locate target vehicles as they pull alongside. The icon in either of the side mirrors lights up when there's a car in your blindspot. If you flip the turn signal when a vehicle has been acquired, the icon flashes with an auditory alert.

It works fine, and I like knowing if a vehicle is in my blindspot, but the auditory alert can get a little annoying if you're cutting in and out of traffic.

The Audi blind spot detection in our long-term S5 has no auditory alert, which I prefer.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 23,560 miles

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2009 Mazda 6 GT: Can do easy

December 30, 2009

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I'm used to getting around 300 mi fuel range in most vehicles; that's my expectation.
And I don't like to go much below a 1/4 tank, just in case.

Our long-term 2009 Mazda 6 has a 2.5L I-4 EPA rated at 21 City, 30 Hwy, 24 Combined (but only has 170 hp).

400 miles on a tank? Can do easy.
I actually got 410 mi on one tank of my Vegas holiday -- pretty good, huh?

What are your expectations for fuel range?

(North Strip pic overlooking the Wynn golf course for those of you snowed-in.)

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 23,000 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: O Christmas Tree

December 14, 2009

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It's been a rainy few days here in Southern California but the Christmas tree needed to be bought despite the wet weather. I had our shiny red Mazda 6 for the weekend so we headed over to our local OSH to pick out a nice tree. We usually get a 6-foot-tall Noble fir but this year I wanted to go a little higher without cutting it too close to the ceiling in my living room.

We picked out a lovely 7-ft Noble fir and the tree guy informed us that he couldn't tie it to the car but he could provide us with some twine. I had brought along a sound blanket to protect the Mazda and we carefully placed the tree on the roof. But once I had it on top of the car, it looked so small. So I dropped the rear seats in the Mazda 6. It's easy to do once you release them from inside the trunk. I spread the sound blanket in the back and the car swallowed up the tree with no problem.

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2009 Mazda 6: Details, Details

December 10, 2009

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With nearly 22,000 miles on the odometer, our 2009 Mazda 6 was due for a little love at the local detail shop.

Those miles have been good to the 6, which truly still looks like new.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 21,796 miles

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2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring: Feels Like My Own Car

December 07, 2009

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Today marks the sixth day in a row that I've been driving our long-term 2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring. Six days! Short of taking a real road trip, that's about four days longer than you can ever hope to spend driving one long-term test car.

And it's especially nice when it's a car you would choose for your very own.

That's how I feel about the Mazda 6. It's spacious, comfortable, and has all the features I would require when putting down my own hard-earned money.

It's not that I don't loooooove the BMW M3, but with a base price of just over $26K, the Mazda is a car I could actually afford to buy.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 21,538 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Stopped at the Gate

December 04, 2009

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Early this morning I drove a friend to the airport, and for first time in many months, the security guard at the entrance to LAX motioned for me to stop.

Uh, oh, I thought. Driving a Mazda with California license plates, just me and Stephanie in the car, what could be the reason for the stop?

I rolled down the window and wished the heavily armed officer a good morning. He peered into the car, and asked, "Is this a 3?"

"No, it's a 6," I responded quickly.

"Huh," he said. "My daughter said she's considering buying a Mazda 3. I'm not sure I know what one looks like. But if it's anything like this, I'm good with it."

He waved. I waved. Steph breathed a sigh of relief.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 21,389 miles

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2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring: I Don't Want to Use the Word "Vanilla"

December 01, 2009

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In the early years of this century, I never could understand why some people would dismiss all family sedans as vanilla cars. The Altima (2002 --) had just gotten fun; the Passat (1998-2005) and Legacy (2005-2009) were as good as they'd ever been before or since; and the Mazda 6 (2003-2008) was the entertaining new 626 replacement.

In 2009, though, I find myself looking around and wondering where the fun sedans went. The Subaru and the VW bore me now -- they're bigger, heavier and less engaging. I still like the Altima's total package, but it hasn't really moved on dynamically -- it's just quick thanks to its 3.5-liter V6 and CVT.

And the 2009 Mazda 6. I haven't wanted to like this car, because it doesn't do anything particularly interesting. But over the long weekend, I decided it has the best ride quality in the midsize sedan class. It's not the softest ride. But it always, always composed. And it is never, never harsh. I never complain. My passengers never complain.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 21,128 miles

P.S. When I returned to the 6 after four rounds of karting, it felt perfectly natural to start driving the Mazda again. But I did wish the seat heating continued all the way up the seat-back cushion (instead of stopping the lumbar zone) to soothe my bruised back.

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2006 Mazda 6: Navigation Issue Resolved

November 27, 2009

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Our 2009 Mazda 6 made its final trip to the dealer for service on the navigation screen. We are hopeful this is the last time.

Long Beach Mazda was more thorough now than during our last visit. This time the GPS screen was physically removed, which uncovered the problem. One of the wires from the loom was not soldered properly. The ineffective solder-job was touched up and now we're back in business. Our navigation system works like new.

So what did we learn from this process? Ford of Orange was a disappointment. It took them 4 months to order and incorrectly replace the nav-screen. We would use Long Beach Mazda again. Yes, the first repair attempt failed, but the folks there were always pleasant. And in the end they do get credit for fixing the problem.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,613 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Auto Headlights, Auto Dark Screen

November 26, 2009

CotW_05.jpgwhere did the nav go?

Besides dust, what do you see on this nav screen? Nuthin', right? Me neither. Believe it or not, the navigation system is on. If you look very, very closely at the bottom of the screen, you might be able to make out part of the word "Venice," but it's quite faint.

This is what happens when you have the Mazda 6's headlights set to "automatic" during the day. The nav screen automatically darkens and is basically unreadable (even when it's not in direct sun). I haven't been able to figure out how to counter this (if anybody has any ideas, I'd love to hear them), so I end up turning the headlights to the off position during the day, which sort of negates the benefit of having automatic headlights, doesn't it? I recently picked automatic headlights as my contribution to Edmunds' Top 10 Features We're Thankful For article, but if the Mazda 6 were my personal car, I might have reconsidered.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Mazda 6: Compare Specs

November 25, 2009

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You asked how the Mazda 6 compares to its competitors.

I ran this simple calculation through my favorite tool on the Edmunds.com site. I went to the 2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring page, then clicked on Compare Popular Models. Then I opened up all the fields.

Edmunds offers up the Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry. If these aren't the cars you want to see, you can swap them out for any car on our Web site.

You can compare dimensions, engine specs and more all in one chart.

Happy reading.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Mazda Mazda6 in WA is:

$164 per month*
* Explanation
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