2009 Mazda 6 i: Fuel Economy Test, Plus Deep Thoughts on Bluetooth
April 20, 2009
Last Friday a couple of your favorite Edmunds.com editors conducted a 222-mile fuel economy test in the 2009 Mazda 6.
The drive route through Orange, San Diego and Riverside Counties was a roughly even city/highway mix -- and thus fairly true to the 55-percent city + 45-percent highway formula the EPA uses to come up with combined mpg ratings. Start and finish fill-ups were conducted at the same pump by the same editor; the climate control was set at 72 degrees; and wide open throttle use was prohibited. Lunch and a driver change came in Temecula, California.
The result? 27.8 mpg against an EPA rating of 21/30/24 for a 2009 Mazda 6 i with the five-speed automatic transmission.
Naturally, racking up over 100 miles in city traffic is time-intensive to the point that we spent 6 hours behind the wheel. That gave us plenty of time and opportunity to use the Mazda's Bluetooth.
The good news is that the Bluetooth connection itself works well. Callers come in clearly over the speakers, and for the most part, it's easy to be heard on the other side as well.
But I'm not a fan of the interface. A while ago, John commented that our Mazda 6's dash-top display has too much information. Yet for all the stuff crammed up here, designers found no room to show the number of bars for signal strength.
There's just a red telephone to let you know that you have a connection. If you want to see signal strength, you have to click the menu button on the nav screen and then scroll down to the phone menu. And don't even think about using the touchscreen to dial your phone while the car is in motion (the screen is active here because I was stopped at a light). I know, I know, I'm supposed to use the voice control to do this, but that's a hassle.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,345 miles