Mazda's matra is an enthusiastic "soul of a sports car." The new 2004 Mazda6 series comes in three emotion of motion wonderfully designed, manufactured, presentable machines in flavors 5-Door hatchback, Sport Wagon, and sports Sedan. Performance, versatility, and image are Mazda6's goals and each delicious flavor succeeds sweetly.
Driving the new Mazda6 5-door hatchback is effortless and predictable. Road noise is negligible for a machine of this class. Braking is strong and reassuringly present even in a parking-lot autocross dodge-the-cone maximum front suspension compression stand-on-it boy test.
Driver comfort exudes. Abundant leg, hip, and headroom for this 6'4" flyboy. Clutch engagement is strong and secured. Steering remains neutral through aggressive sweepers and docile on freeway lane runs. Never any twitching, over-steer or wandering that would take away from Mazda's its all about the drive experience.
It IS the cavernous gator-mouth hatchback that stands-up and shouts "fill me up dude" for this version of zoom-zoom which is a standout. Cubic feet numbers are hard to relate to real-world stuff. What is obvious once the hatch is wide-open and the rear seats are easily folded down is how square the space is presented to the user. I picture fender twin reverbs, marshall stack speakers, drum kit hardware and the roady stuff one needs for a night gig on the road show.
Kids, dogs and family equals the word wagon. The 2004 Mazda6 Sport Wagon reaches its target goals of performance, versatility and image. Driving a sports package wagon seems an oxymoron but after the first five minutes or aggressive sweeper, one realizes, " hey, even Mom needs the zoom-zoom too!"
The 2004 Mazda6 Sport Wagon's cargo area has the same effortless rear seat release latches on the side cargo area as 5-door hatchback version permitting 60/40 split seat retraction has. Also the cargo netting is movable from the backseat to behind the driver so your dog or child could snuggle up to you without lunging forward to try and make the next gear shift.
The 2004 Mazda6 Sports Sedan completes Mazda6 series models. Like its other flavors the 2004 Mazda6 Sports Sedan delivers performance, comfort and seemingly transparent accomplishments with curt elegant styling on top while the continued "soul of a sports car" breathes at every return to 4000 rpms on the tach.
I purposely pushed the envelope in Qualcomm's parking lot autocross cone circuit on the last left turn sweeper in third gear. Hard on the pedal, the I-6 cylinder engine remained at plus 4000 rpm while the front wheel drive 2004 Mazda6 Sports Sedan held the line round the left sweeper, pulling - pulling - sticking, sticking with 17" rubber tires. Smile to the face. " Can I go again" I sheepishly asked standout Mazda representative Will Bortz at the conclusion.
Mazda has begun a " drive center" centric task of offering Mazda dealers a make-over that emphasizes "It's all about the Drive"matra to the potential customer. Second floor glass storefronts with a vehicle on a lift makes it recognizable as a Mazda zoom-zoom dealership. Truly unique is Mazda's seven point test drive circuit where a salesperson and future Mazda driver can test drive the machine's capabilities.
Mazda cleverly designs and manufactures add-on, soup-up, trick-out products for the Mazda6 series machines permitting maximum customization for their already outstandingly featured/priced vehicles.
Tuners will buy a vehicle because they like the exterior look and the interior feel, but want to beef-up the engine. Mazda has successfully made a beautiful looking vehicle. The Mazda6 series vehicles will be bought by tuners who will have a go-fast, look-great factory manufactured customized selection of parts to individualize and rev-up their machines. It also helps the tuner that it can all be financed with Mazda instead of piece mealing it from paycheck to paycheck.
5-Door $20,795 - $22,895, Sport Wagon $22,225
My test-model at $69,954 had some rather interesting features that add to the pamper quotient. They included a touch screen navigation system with Bluetooth technology that allows the driver to make hands-free voice-activated calls, a rear camera for backing up that gives a wide angle view of what's behind you, rear seat swivel reading lamps, the Mark Levinson stereo with one-touch individual audio tuning for the driver, front passenger or rear passengers and a power rear sunshade. XM Satellite Radio also is available. The navigation system was more user-friendly than most, the graphics were clear, the guiding voice calm and I still got lost somewhere in the Bronx.