2010 Mazda6 GT I4 Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Mazda has used the "Zoom Zoom" tag tirelessly to promote their vehicles.  The emphasis of their marketing has always been that the Japanese automaker manufactures vehicles that offer tons of driving excitement, coupled with sensible value in the form of low prices for their cars.  If you've ever driven a Toyota Camry and a Mazda6 back to back, you'll quickly understand that Mazda's marketing is no mere hype.

The reason is the cars they offer compete well with sports sedans from Europe.  Not quite in the luxury department, but certainly in the performance and handling departments.  Case in point is a recent test vehicle, the 2010 Mazda6 four cylinder.

Four cylinder?  Compete in performance and handling departments?  Surely you jest Brian…

Actually, I'm quite serious.  Consider the Mazda3, the "base" model of the talented lineup from Mazda.  You can buy it in standard four-cylinder guise, or go trick with the factory hot-rod Mazdaspeed3, which has garnered accolades and respect from the all-important "tuner" crowd that battles in Honda Civics, VW GTIs, Subaru WRX', and Scion tCs.  These guys and gals know their cars, and are not afraid to punch the motors out so that they compete with and sometimes embarrass higher end machinery.

Now the Mazda6 four cylinder is no Mazdaspeed3 in terms of performance, but it certainly gets the job done. 

Power comes from a 2.5-litre four banger with variable valve timing that cranks out 170 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque.  Frankly, acceleration felt so brisk, I thought a V6 was under the bonnet.  Handling is sure footed. On a 160+ km loop near my home, I thoroughly put the "6" through the paces.  Off camber curves?  No problem.  Severe undulations?  Handled them without bottoming out.  Straights?  More than adequate passing power.  All of this while returning 11.2 L/100km city and 7.8 highway.  Not as fuel efficient as some other four cylinder cars, but my automotive writer colleague Les Jackson summed it up best:  "Mazda has always geared their cars to be performance oriented.  While the lower gearing is great for acceleration, it does compromise fuel economy a bit.  It's an excitement trade off that makes a Mazda a Mazda."  Now Les just bought a four cylinder Mazda6 for himself, and as a writer he, like me, has driven pretty much everything from every car company.  His purchase makes quite a statement in support of the Zoom Zoom philosophy.

Earlier in this review, I alluded to creature comfort and the lack of luxury in the "6."  To be clearer, the Mazda6 is well equipped; it's just not Benz or Audi well equipped.  Then again, the $23,195 base price tag and $28,695 tested price is thousands cheaper than a base 3 Series or C-Class.

For your money, you get as standard equipment: leather trimmed, heated front seats with 8-way power for the driver; HVAC climate control; automatic headlights; LED taillights; power and heated mirrors; leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio and cruise control; Bluetooth audio and phone; rain-sensing wipers, six speaker audio system that includes an audio input jack, 6 disc CD changer; 18" alloy wheels; fog lights and much more.

My tester was outfitted with optional goodies that included a $2,595 navigation system and $2,495 Luxury Package that featured proximity sensing keyless entry with push-button start, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, a powered 4-way front passenger seat; xenon headlights, multi-information display, LED ambient lighting, auto dimming outside mirrors and blind spot monitoring. The five-speed Sport mode automatic costs $1,200.

On the safety front, you get a full complement of airbags; electronic stability and traction control; various acronyms dedicated to making you stop better like BA, ABS and EBD; and Mazda's "Triple H" body construction.  With Triple H, there are three "H" type designs in the roof rails, side sills and cross members linked together to form an extremely strong frame and safe passenger-compartment structure.

All Mazdas feature a 3-year/60,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty, 5-year/100,000 km powertrain warranty, 5-year/unlimited km perforation warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Suffice to say, there's a lot that comes with the car for the money.  The difference here is the feel of the cabin.  The Mazda6 is well laid out and comfortable inside, it just doesn't feel upscale like the Audi or Benz.

But that's not really the mission of this road player.  It is programmed to seek out your favourite by-way and carve it up.  It's tuned to be subtle, yet aggressive in road manners, and it is focused on saving you money while it accomplishes it all.  The 2010 Mazda6 is quite an impressive package.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Mazda, 2010, Mazda6, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, Midsize,

Organizations: Mazda

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