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2009 Mazda6 Grand Touring Review

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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Mazda6, a cornerstone vehicle behind the manufacturer's success since it's introduction to the American market with the 2003 model, has been completely reborn for 2009 to keep up with the mass of competitors in the sporty sedan class.

I drove a 5-passenger 2009 Mazda6 Grand Touring with the 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 6-speed manual transmission. Standard on this trim were: 8-way power driver seating; alloy wheels; rain-sensing windshield wipers; heated power mirrors; heated front seats; trip computer; fog lights; leather-wrapped steering wheel; and Bluetooth. Total vehicle price came to $29,440.

The Mazda6 competes with a heavy-hitting vehicle class that includes the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu and the VW CC Sport, to name just a few.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: I do appreciate Mazda for one major reason: offering those many upgraded features mentioned above as free standards rather than pricing out each and every one for an extra fee. With that being said, the Mazda6 does understandably have some optional equipment for more money; the navigation system is $2,000 and the Moonroof and Bose audio package is another $1,780. The 6 features snazzy rear headlights and overall blossomed into a more appealing shape for drivers wanting increased space and comfort with a lot more style injected into their daily drive.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 6 was built a lot tougher this year, quadrupling the strength of its steel body frame to offer more rigidity, which incidentally delivered off-the-charts 5-star ratings for frontal, side and rollover impact.

Cost Issues: Here's how the Mazda6's price tag of $29,440 compares with similar competitors and appropriate trim levels: Toyota Camry Hybrid $30,990; VW CC Sport $29,325; and Chevy Malibu $29,050. In short, Mazda thought this one out and priced the 6 to sell units and steal business.

Activity & Performance Ability: The drive can be described as quietly aggressive. I experienced moments of remarkable (and surprising) outpourings of acceleration when shifting at high speeds. Apparently the 4-cylinder engine produces more power than major competitors like the Toyota Camry and Chevy Malibu. The Mazda6 also has a bigger 3.7-liter V6 engine. Brakes eased into stops, showing no signs of abruptness or overt sensitivity.

The Green Concern: The 4-cylinder engine with automatic transmission is rated as a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) while the manual I drove has received the EPA's SmartWay certification mark – in other words, noted for being a clean and efficient vehicle by government standards. The automatic 4-cylinder gets 20-mpg city/29-mpg highway driving for an average of 23-mpg. The V6 estimates drop considerably to 17-mpg city/25-highway – figures no driver really wants.

While I wouldn't necessarily say the Mazda6 stood out for me for any one single reason among the heavy competition, it definitely does two things: First, outshines it's former models; and secondly, is now a major competitor by offering affordability, sleekness and decent engine power.

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2009 Katrina Ramser