2009 Mazda6 i Grand Touring: 800-Mile Roadtrip
December 17, 2008
After wheeling our long-term 2009 Mazda 6 from LA to Phoenix and back last week, I've garnered enough driving impressions to fill three road tests. I'll be brief, though. Suffice it to say that although the 6 has grown up, Mazda has not succumbed to the vapid JD Power-obessed blandification that some of its competition has in their mainstream midsize offerings.
Most notable are the Mazda's precise steering and firm brake pedal. These two driving interfaces alone really separate the 6 from its CamCordBu competition, allowing the Mazda to wink and nod at car enthusiasts. Think of a grown-up Mazda 3 and you're on the right track.
It makes you wonder why don't other manufacturers execute them like Mazda has in the 6. Right, the JD Power thing. To score well there, you must not offend the whiners with "vibrations" such as actual steering feel or "hard" brakes that respond with confidence-inspiring initial bite and linearity. What you get with fixation on JD Power numbers is a Toyota Camry.
Oh, and since I can tell you're champing at the bit for some highway fuel economy numbers, I'll relent. Cruising at 75-82ish mph, air off, the 6 averaged 29.3 mpg.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 2,541 miles.