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: 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: 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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2009 Mazda 6: When Zoom-Zoom Goes Mainstream

November 23, 2009

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I can never drive our Mazda 6 without feeling the pain of Mazda product planners, engineers and marketers. Their challenge: To capture the performance-oriented sensations promised by the "Zoom-Zoom" corporate positioning and also make a family sedan with sufficiently broad appeal.

In other words, how do you take Zoom-Zoom mainstream?

It's easy with a Miata or Mazda 3. Make 'em taut, sharp, not too isolated, and you're there.

With a family four-door, you run the very real risk that the potential audience will all call it too stiff and go buy an Accord or Camry. (Which they do, in droves.)

Personally, I'd like a sedan that purports to be driver-centric to be truly rewarding to drive. The steering should feel accurate and well weighted, suspension action should be firm but compliant, the ride should talk to me about the road surface, the brake pedal should barely move. And I know it doesn't require BMW pricing to get all this.

In the Mazda 6, I can feel the tension. The steering is heavier than in a Camry, yes, but not by a whole lot. The ride is a bit stiffer and noisier than in an Accord, perhaps, but I don't feel a dramatic advantage in control and response in return. So what are we getting? A sedan that is truly sporty and spirited to drive? Or one that is just a little stiff and noisy? I'm sure there are folks (both within Mazda and without) who would say the car has gone too far and others who think it hasn't gone far enough.

And I don't have the answer.

It's certainly a pleasant, effective four-door to drive around in. Not particularly quick, but spritely enough. And pleasingly fuel efficient. Handling is settled and predictable. I like the seats, the dash layout is fine and small controls are problem-free. In fact, the Mazda 6 gives me nothing at all to complain about. (I don't care for the Blind Spot Monitor system, but it's easy to shut off.)

But is this car sufficiently crisp and sharp to support a philosophy that tries to say, "Our customers are serious drivers, and they know how a car should work"?

Nope.

I guess that puts me in the "not far enough" camp.

Kevin Smith, Editorial Director @ 20,603 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Not So Different from the World Car

October 15, 2009

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In August I was walking around Tokyo while on vacation, and I spotted this red Mazda Atenza. Now I know the world-car version of the Mazda Atenza/6 is Mondeo-based and, so far as we know, nothing like our Mazda 6, but in that moment, the resemblance to our North American-market long-term Mazda 6 was striking. The shape of the headlamps is oh so close, and even the red paint looks similar to the mix used for our long-termer.

I peeped inside, and sure enough, it even had a similar looking light interior and an automatic transmission. Straw seat mats must be a JDM-only option.

Of course, I then got all wistful: I miss the Mazda 6 wagon.

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2009 Mazda 6 Grand Touring: Headlights seem to be working

September 22, 2009

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I had our long-term Mazda 6 last night and thought I'd check out the headlights that JRiz said could possibly be on the Fritz. When I left the gym after work it was already dark out and they came on with no problem.

This morning, it was a bit dark and gloomy when I drove in. The headlamp telltale in the meters (lower portion of tach) wasn't on and I also verified that the lamps weren't on when I saw no lamp reflection in the dark Suburban ahead of me at a stoplight (the light turned green just as I was able to whip out my camera.)

All of this was with the headlamp switch in the Auto position.

So they seem to be working now.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 17,800 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Not Many On The Road

September 11, 2009

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Have you seen many new Mazda 6 sedans on the road yet? I haven't. As editor Riswick mentioned in an Edmunds comparison test recently, the 6 hasn't exactly been lighting up the sales charts. So far from the beginning of the year through August, Mazda has sold 23,514 6s. In comparison, Toyota's sold 238,612 Camrys and Honda has moved 200,543 Accords. A few others: Ford Fusion: 123,766; Chevrolet Malibu: 108,516; Volkswagen Passat/CC (combined): 21,395; Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 34,432.

Of course, the whole point of the "go large" 2009 redesign was to make the car more appealing to the masses. Given that we're pretty fond of our long-term Mazda 6 and owners seem to like it, too (it has a better Edmunds consumer rating than both the Accord and Camry), what's the cause for the comparatively low sales? Lack of awareness would be my guess.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Mazda 6: Managing the Heat

August 31, 2009

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With temperatures in the triple digits in some parts of the Los Angeles area this weekend, I had a chance to test the limits of the Mazda 6's AC. The system functioned just fine, and did a good job of cooling the cabin.

One thing that took some getting used to is the fact that the HVAC display screen is so, so far away from the HVAC controls. Since the HVAC control knobs don't bear any notches to let you know how far they've been turned, you have to check the display screen for the status of things -- and it's all the way at the top of the center stack. A setup like the one in the Hyundai Sonata, for example -- where the HVAC display screen is beneath the nav screen and directly above the HVAC controls -- would have worked better.

Which car's HVAC setup do you like best?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 16,144 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: This One's Just Right

July 20, 2009

I spent another weekend searching for houses. Our 6 hit the top of my list of vehicles to drive over the weekend because of its nav system. I've learned more about the streets of LA in the last two months of house searching than I have in the last 10 years of living here.

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I've always liked the 6, even the previous generation. I felt it was a great car that gets overlooked for no other reason than everyone is attracted to the Accord/Camry like moths to a flame. At least that's true here in SoCal. But how does it stack up to the new Taurus?

I recently got to spend some time in the new kid on the block: the 2010 Ford Taurus. While I did like the Taurus quite a bit, it didn't feel nimble, it didn't feel fast for having a powerful engine, and like everyone keeps saying, it's BIG. You don't get a good feel for how big it is in pictures, but in person it's really tall to a short guy like myself and the seating position looks down at just about every non-truck/suv/crossover vehicle out there. I felt like I was mini truckin' while driving the Taurus.

When I got back into the 6, my experience in the Taurus really gave me an appreciation for how "right" the Mazda feels to me. It's comfortably spacious without being huge. It feels light and nimble in the steering wheel and it's aesthetically pleasing to my eye. Ok, so the four banger we got in there doesn't do much to inspire passing confidence, that's it's biggest weak point for me.

If we had that V6 in our car, I'd say without hesitation that it's a solid car from tip to tail.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Mazda 6: Is it the best family midsize sedan?

July 20, 2009

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A Mazda 6 participated in today's family midsize sedan comparison test over on Edmunds.com. Like our long-termer, it was a loaded Grand Touring version, but unlike our long-termer, it featured the bigger V6 engine that comes on the 6 s (ours is a 6 i).

Put up against the Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, the 6 showed itself to be the best choice for enthusiast drivers and not a bad one for everyone else, either.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2009 Mazda6 i Grand Touring: Cutline Collage

July 15, 2009

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As you can see from the various shots above, our Mazda 6 is a well-built sedan. I searched inside and out for a panel that wasn't lined up or a piece of trim hanging out of place and I couldn't find one. I even checked the now infamous sunroof crease and it looked pretty tight too. Good to see at 15,000 miles, nice job Flat Rock plant.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 15,402 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Family Fun

July 12, 2009

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Our 2009 Mazda 6 has been popular with our familied staffers. It's always a vacation choice with editors who have kids. When they want to escape for a weekend of family fun, the Mazda 6 fulfills their needs in style and comfort.

Here it is pictured at the water park with two of our editors.

We have featured all of our long-term cars except the Smart Fortwo and the Ford Focus and we figured you didn't care if we skipped them. The Honda Insight and Dodge Ram are too new. We'd like to give them a little breathing room before we tackle them as car of the week.

So, we're giving the Mazda 6 another go. Yee-ha!

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring: The Goods Minus Grunt

June 08, 2009

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They say familiarity breeds contempt, but I think the opposite may be true for cars. Spend enough time with any machine and you can't help but sense some beauty in its lines. Not that the complex curves of the Mazda 6 are heinous to begin with, but the subtlety of its shape is definitely starting to impress.

It's in some good company as well, as I thought I'd spotted a nearly identically prepped Sangria Red 6 getting a scrub in a neighbor's driveway, and it wasn't until I was close enough to wave that I realized it was a Jaguar XF in a remarkably similar shade. That lucky owner also did a double take as I rolled by, probably drawn in by both cars' high bustle.

The 6 is no XF, but our oddly luxed-out four-cylinder model continues on as a remarkably pleasant daily soldier, and even the normally unappealing arrest-me-red paint scheme continues to look rich and almost peppery. That spicy shade doesn't carry over into thrust, however, but many of us are probably focusing on what a bargain this machine must be with its four-cylinder mill, as there isn't a time I drive it that I'm not impressed by its content. Trying to adjust the front passenger seat from the drivers perch had me fumbling for a lever in front of the seat, then doubtfully reaching for the far side of the seat to be surprised again in finding power adjustments. In a four-cylinder? Wait, what's the sticker on this thing again? $30,340?

OK, scratch that. Our Mazda 6 is a loaded, luxed-out four door that gets sexier looking by the day. But topping $30K, it's got everything you'd expect at this price but motor. Jockeying for an upcoming turn lane, I had to dent the fire-wall to out-hustle a Prius. He was full-bottle too, but it was close. For the sticker, I'd want a little more accelerative breathing room. Though riding on the capable "old" 6 platform and not as slinky, you can tart up a 2010 Fusion SEL pretty well for $30K, including Sync and a 3.0-liter V6.

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 12,141 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Better than a VW CC 2.0T?

May 19, 2009

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Last night on Edmunds.com we published a comparison test between our long-term Mazda 6 Grand Touring and a Volkswagen CC 2.0T. It's a test I've been wanting to do for quite sometime. Two stylish four-cylinder four-doors that both cost right around $30,000 and prove that mainstream family sedans don't have to be boring.

I'm not going to tell you which car won it, but I will tell you that my personal hard earned money would be payed monthly for the better looking and more powerful VW. As much as I like the Mazda 6, I really like driving the CC. Plus, I'm a sucker for its Ferrari Daytona inspired leather upholstery.

Which would you rather have parked in your garage?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

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2009 Mazda 6i: Special?

May 18, 2009

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There's nothing really wrong with our Mazda 6i Grand Touring. Still, I'm amazed how many people get upset by statements like "It's just OK" or when we imply that the new Mazda 6 is a little more like a Camry than the previous version. Owners of the new Mazda 6 no doubt feel they have something special. I think I know why they feel this way.

Mazda clearly spent a lot of time getting the 6's interior just right. It's an area that's often overlooked but likely more important than any other aspect of the car. The interior of the car is where you spend ALL your time.

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2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring: Still a Secret

April 28, 2009

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So my friend Mitch comes across the street to see the new car the way he always does. He owns and runs Park Plaza Shell, where he already sees more cars than anyone in town. Here's what he said. (You probably can guess what I said.)

"So that's a Mazda?

"I can't recall seeing one before. It really looks great. Don't all cars looks great now?

"It's so big. What kind of Mazda?

"I remember the Mazda 6. This doesn't look anything like that.

"Better than an Accord?

"How much power? From the V6, I mean.

"The four-cylinder is better?

"Fuel economy is that good?

"Think they'll turbocharge it?

"That much power in racing?

"I don't think I've see one before. Better than an Accord?

Yes, the Mazda 6 is still a secret. But the secret is slowly getting out.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 10,555 miles

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2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring: Hits 10K During Morning Commute

April 22, 2009

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Early yesterday morning, our long-term 2009 Mazda 6 i Grand Touring passed the 10,000-mile mark during a commute into Southern California's Inland Empire. At the time, I was cruising at 75 mph and enjoying the big red sedan's nicely damped ride -- it's controlled over the bumps but never too harsh. I was also listening to Morning Edition, so I wasn't fretting over the lack of bass and separation from the optional, and underwhelming, Bose audio system ($1,760 when bundled with the moonroof).

When the Mazda 6 hit 9,998 miles, I searched for an exit so that I could safely document the approaching milestone. We ended up at this lovely funeral home in the Covina hills.

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2009 Mazda 6: How Good Would This Car Be With a Diesel?

March 25, 2009

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I know it's not going to happen anytime soon, but how good would our Mazda 6 feel with a diesel engine like our Jetta TDI? I'd really like to know.

I spent some time in our Jetta TDI recently and I couldn't get over how much I actually liked to drive it. It's torque curve is perfect for squirting around town and merging in and out of traffic. The car has no brakes, but that's another issue.

So last night I get into our Mazda 6, flat foot the gas pedal and all I get is a bunch of noise and a rather modest shove in the back. And this from one of the better four-cylinders in the segment.

Now it's entirely possible that the much bigger Mazda 6 would suck with the Jetta's pint-size turbo diesel, but Mazda has its own 2.0-liter diesel in Europe which makes 265 pound-feet of torque - 20 more than the Volkswagen motor. Seems like enough to me. Then again, with that motor our Mazda 6 would probably cost $35,000 too, so there's that.

Ed Hellwig, Edmunds.com @ 7,765 miles

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2009 Mazda 6: Childish Puddle Fun

March 06, 2009

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This is the result of boredom when it's combined with a 6th grade reading level.

More pictures and video on the next page.

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2009 Mazda 6: Keyless Ignition

February 09, 2009

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Keyless ignition/entry is a great modern convenience, and our long-term 2009 Mazda 6 Grand Touring has it (it's included on the Touring or Grand Touring trim levels). Like some other cars in our fleet (BMW X5, for instance), the 6's lock/unlock operation utilizes a sensor in the door handle. If the 6 is locked and you approach the car with the fob and lightly touch the back side of the exterior handle, the door will unlock. Pushing the black button locks the door.

Our 6's system can be a bit finicky, though, and the interior integration isn't perfect.

The finicky bit: If you touch the handle and pull too quickly, the car will beep but won't actually unlock the door. Further touching and pulling does nothing. So you either have to push the button to lock the door and try again, or just use the buttons on the key fob.

Interior: The integration of the push-button starter isn't as cleanly done as in other cars. Almost all Nissan Altimas, for instance, come with keyless ignition/entry, so the starter button has been nicely integrated on the dash. The Mazda 6's button, however, is lower down on the center stack, and the normal ignition cylinder has been blanked off. The faceplate that houses the button and seat heater switches looks a bit JC Whitney, and it covers what would otherwise be a small (though useful) storage cubby on non-Touring Mazda 6s.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$130 per month*
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