From A Boy To A Man: The 2010 Mazda6
There are cars out there that come out and you know, right off the bat, they are going to be the golden child. Then there are cars that are produced and people shrug their shoulders and say, "That’s average." Those "average" cars have to work hard and strive to become the automotive men that everyone vehicle hopes to be. The 2010 Mazda6 fits into the average category. The 6 started out as a nothing, a lowborn family sedan that came from the same platform as the rest of the sedans created by Ford’s legion of minions. After years of hard work things have begun to look up. How things have changed for the 6.
No longer a nobody, the midsize Mazda has grown up and moved away. Ford has cut its stake in Mazda to 13% and my, what it has done. This is no reflection on Ford, they make fantastic cars, but now that Mazda is free to create and produce what they please, the 6 has become a man.
The base model Mazda6 is nicely equipped with loads of power stuff and standard stability control; pretty much the usual things you’ll find on most midsize sedans. The price is even highly competitive at $19,220. Who wants base though, it’s like settling for second best. We chose the i Grand Touring, a seemingly luxury sedan with so many different options on it that it would take a while to describe them all. Hope you have time to spare. Our Mazda6 came with proximity-sensing keyless entry and push-button start; 17-inch alloy wheels; rain-sensing windshield wipers; auto-dimming heated outside mirrors with "puddle" lights; automatic Xenon headlights and LED taillights; leather upholstery; and a blind-spot monitoring system. Add the optional moon roof/navigation/Bose audio package and tax and title and you’re looking at one pricey ride.
It’s Mazda’s version of a Lexus, without the dull looks.
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There is something fun in the day-to-day driving experience of this super-Mazda. The car is just lovely, with a sleek, coupe-like design and a gorgeous set of lines that make the car flow from front to back. Yet, unlike the Hyundai Sonata – which stands out from miles away – the Mazda6 is modest and unassuming. Yet, we know and you know that this car is anything but modest. When you walk up to it, the doors unlock, when it gets dark the lights come on, and when it rains the wipers spring to life. We sit on soft leather seats and are able to enjoy the crisp sound of the Bose stereo. What a life this is.
We loved the old Mazda6, but not because it was a good car. It was small compared to the other midsize toasters, but it sure did drive well. It was sprung tightly and it followed Mazda’s ‘Zoom Zoom’ slogan to the tee. In a roundabout way, it could have been seen as a four-door Miata or a slightly older brother to the Mazda3.
Sure, like all cars, it had issues. Americans seem to prefer a boat-like ride, so the Mazda’s tight suspension wasn’t going to float their boats. As previously noted, it was small and didn’t offer the same sort of space that the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord did. Yet, where as those two sedans kept getting fatter, the 6 got better.
The new car has gained 6.1-inches from front to back and 2.1-inches from side to side. There’s no denying that this is a completely different animal compared to the old car. The trunk is massive and the cabin is roomy enough for even the biggest American rump. That being said, none of the Mazda-ness has been lost.
Inside the Mazda you will find a well-sculpted dash that is attractive and modern. The controls might seem complicated at first, but the people that are going to buy this car should be able to figure them out relatively quickly. We are slightly disappointed in some of the material choices, as some feel a bit cheap.
It might not be the half sedan half sports car that the old Mazda6 was, but it sure isn’t bad. With big sticky 17-inch tires, the car handles incredibly. Turn-ins are crisp and composed, body roll is minimal, and the car feels like it’s never going to let go of the pavement. Yet, when things calm down and you settle down, the Mazda becomes a nice, smooth cruiser. Well done.
Under the gorgeously sculpted hood is a 2.5-liter, 168 horsepower inline-four with around 166 pound-feet of torque. Despite the relatively boring numbers, the sound that comes out of the dual exhausts is quite pleasant. There are two transmissions on offer; a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. Sadly, we had the auto and it was all right, but not brilliant. The acceleration is smooth, but not quick. For a real thrill, get the V6.
Fuel economy is decent, but not class leading with 20 miles per gallon city and 29 on the highway. The massive 272 horsepower V6 gets 17 in the city and 25 on the highway and that’s not that great at all.
The Mazda6 is classy, refined, and one of the best midsize sedans on the market. We would have liked to see better mileage numbers, but it is what it is. Is it the best midsize sedan, probably not, as we like the Hyundai Sonata just a bit more, but it certainly is up there.