The MAZDA 6 is one of the hottest mid-sized sports sedans on the market, not to mention one of the most affordable. Strong performance, terrific handling and great style have made it a favorite with consumers seeking both space and sportiness.
The exterior design is now sharper and even sportier, while the cabin is more comfortable with even higher levels of craftsmanship. Mechanically, the V6 engine is more tractable and economical, while a new five-speed automatic transmission on the four-cylinder imodel delivers better performance and gas mileage. Suspension is retuned for even more dynamic handling, while new larger 18-inch wheels, for improved handling and road holding, are offered as well.
The MAZDA 6 is available in three body styles: Sports Sedan, Sport Wagon and 5-Door. It’s the most extensive line-up in the mid-size category and all three body styles benefit from the 2006 upgrades.
“The freshening and mechanical improvements will further improve the customer’s perception of style and quality,” says Eiji Oyama, MAZDA 6 vehicle line manager for Mazda North American Operations. “The MAZDA 6 ’s unique competitive advantage is its sports-sedan position, and updates for 2006 further emphasize that advantage over the competition. Thanks to three different body styles, and the availability of four-cylinder and V6 engines, manual or automatic transmissions, the car that delivers the sportiest driving experience in its sector is even more desirable.”
The MAZDA 6 set new standards for performance, driver appeal and styling when it was launched three years ago. As a vehicle that married sports performance with refinement and practicality, it has proved a huge sales success and picked up more than 70 awards for automotive excellence.
There are two MAZDA 6 models: the four-cylinder i version and the V6-powered s. Each is available in one of four different packages: entry-level, Sport, Grand Touring and - new for 2006 - Grand Sport. Another new model for 2006 is the entry-level V6-powered s, giving value-conscious buyers the opportunity to drive Mazda’s superb V6 engine at the most affordable price ever.
Also new for 2006 is a top-of-the-line MAZDASPEED 6 sedan powered by a turbocharged 274-horsepower four-cylinder engine offering all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. (See separate release.)
No other manufacturer offers a more complete lineup of luxury and performance sedans, sport wagons and five-door models in the midsize class.
Customers loved the look of the 2005 MAZDA 6 , so Mazda designers were cautious about making too many changes.
The familiar pointed nose and sharp styling has been accented with a new sport grille on some models and angular new headlamps across the range. The headlamps on the Sport and Grand Sport packages use dark gray bezels. New for 2006 on MAZDA 6s Grand Sport package are High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps for superior illumination and lower maintenance. The front bumper also is new, and helps give even more edge to the styling. Foglamps are incorporated into the front spoiler. New side sills highlight the “hug-the-road” quality of the MAZDA 6 ’s style, while a trunk spoiler is standard on Sport and Grand Sport versions.
Revised tail lamps - using black bezels on the Sport and Grand Sport - and a new rear bumper on all models underline the sports-oriented changes. For the first time on a MAZDA 6 , 18-inch wheels are now available on the s Grand Touring and Grand Sport packages, further improving the sporty appearance and also improving traction and road holding.
With the 2006 model year also come three new exterior colors: Dark Cherry, Bright Island Blue and Tungsten Gray.
The range-topping 3.0-liter V6 engine has been noted for its strong performance and refinement, and now gets a torque boost from 190 to 199 lb-ft (at 5,000 rpm). The change makes the engine even more tractable and the car easier to drive, and also will improve off- the-line performance. In addition, fuel economy is improved by one mile per gallon on both manual and automatic vehicles. Because of changes to the exhaust system to boost torque, maximum horsepower is reduced slightly from 220 horsepower to 215 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm).
As before, the V6 is mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or six-speed Sport A/T automatic with manual shift. The MAZDA 6 is in the only vehicle in the class to be offered with a six-speed automatic transmission. The wide number of ratios improves performance, drivability, smoothness and gas mileage. The tall top gear also improves comfort and quietness on the freeway, while a short first gear gives aggressive off-the-line performance. These are all examples of MAZDA 6 ’s sports-first philosophy.
The 2.3-liter four-cylinder (I-4) engine used on the MAZDA 6i models continues as before, producing 160 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 155 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. This highly sophisticated engine is all-aluminum (like the V6 engine), uses double overhead camshafts and 16 valves (for excellent engine breathing and smooth revving). Smoothness and refinement are enhanced by the use of a balance shaft, helping make this four-cylinder engine almost as smooth as a reliable six-cylinder unit.
The 2.3-liter engine is specified with Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) equipment in the four states that require California emissions (NH, Mass., NY and VT). This makes the 2.3-liter engine 90-percent cleaner than the average new car. Evaporative emissions are completely eliminated by re-engineering the exhaust plumbing, repositioning the first catalytic converter and eco-friendly Electronic Control Unit (ECU) programming.
For 2006, i models are available with a new five-speed Sport AT automatic transmission with manual shift mode, replacing the previous four-speed unit. The extra gear ratio improves acceleration, cruising refinement and fuel economy (24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway - which is 1 mpg and 4 mpg respectively better than the 2005 model). Of course the MAZDA 6 i also is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Other improvements for the MAZDA 6 for 2006 include bigger ventilated front disc brakes - up from 11.1 inches to 11.8 inches - to further cut stopping distances, resist brake fade and improve pedal feel. Solid 11.0 inch disc brakes are used at the rear. As before, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard - to cut stopping distances, allow drivers to steer when braking hard, and to stop skids. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) automatically balances front-to-rear braking forces, irrespective of the vehicle’s load. Electronic traction control, which minimizes wheel spin in poor weather or slippery conditions, is standard across the range.
Secondary safety features include Triple-H body construction, which gives superb strength to the unitary construction body, front and rear side door beams, three-point seat belts for all five occupants, dual front airbags, and front and rear whiplash-reducing head restraints. Side airbags and side-curtain bags are standard on all models apart from the entry level iversion, on which they’re optional.
The keyless entry has remote locking/unlocking, automatic opening and closing of the front windows (a new feature for 2006), a trunk release and a panic button.