Stretching the possibilities
Page 1: Intro
For 2004, Mazda stretches the interior of its popular 6 sedan to form the 5-door hatchback. The thought here is to expand the customer base by applying hatchback functionality to an already existing sport sedan. Even further, the assault is double-barreled, as Mazda will also unveil the Sport Wagon version later this year. Three body styles of one model indicate Mazda's confidence in the 6, which was recently voted "2004 Car of the Year", in China.
Sedan and hatchback models are available with two engines - those badged 6i include a base 2.3-liter inline-4 that yields 160 hp. @ 6,000 rpm and 155 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Step up to a 6s, however, and you're rewarded by a 3-liter V6. Output is 220 hp. @ 6,300 rpm and 192 lb.-ft. of torque @5,000 rpm. That V6 includes continuously variable intake valve timing, known as VVT, that provides both smooth running at low rpm and higher output at greater revolution. Between the minimum and maximum levels of adjustment, the timing is infinitely variable, providing enhanced performance at any engine speed. On Sport Wagons, only the six is offered.
A 5-speed manual transmission is included in the standard equipment package, although two different automatics are also offered, depending on the engine choice. Four-bangers will bolt to 4-speed auto gearboxes, while V6s are backed by 5-speed units. Sport Shift manual control is included with both automatics.
Regardless of the engine/transmission combination, Mazda emphasizes the racy attributes of every Mazda 6 that leaves the factory. Fully independent suspension uses a double-wishbone setup up front and a multi-link unit in the back to provide, in Mazda's words, "sharp reflexes and maximum road holding." A standard front stabilizer bar and low-profile rear coil springs with angled shocks keep the vehicle flat and smooth.We drove this new model on highways and two-lane roads in the San Diego region, as well as on a high-speed performance track for more aggressive evaluation. Overall, the 5-Door handles just like the sedan, with plenty of power, great shift points, gear ratios, gas pedal feel-and a performance engine sound. We appreciated that it has a 5-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, and also enjoyed the 5-speed AT with Sport Shift. Steering has a good on-center feel and good feedback. Braking is even and smooth (no nose-diving), with good brake pedal feel. Particularly impressive is its flat handling in transition maneuvers and limited body roll , due to its rigid body structure.
Power rack-and-pinion steering uses a system that reduces assistance at high speeds, to improve handling qualities, by making the driver more sensitive to the wheel's actual input. Large 11-in. disc brake rotors, both front and rear, provide plenty of surface to grab, and 6s models arrive standard with ABS. Mazda 6i sedans and hatchbacks offer this electronic support, but do not include it normally. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution sends the appropriate amount of bite to each corner and responds, for example, to more weight in the back seat by increasing power in the rear brakes. Traction control is also included, with ABS, and it cuts torque when wheel slippage is sensed. For 2004, 17-in. wheels and tires are standard on all hatchbacks.
The chassis of the 6 is inherently rigid, again to provide athleticism. All the critical spots - the floor, body sides, and roof - are reinforced with H-shaped buttresses meant to both improve collision protection and stiffen the general ride. Mazda also says that the sides of the vehicle were stamped as one piece, assuring a precise fit and optimal aerodynamics.
Page 3: Standard
Standard equipment in the hatchback is plentiful - air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping wheel, cruise control, power windows/locks/doors, a split folding rear seat, keyless entry, and a CD player are all included in the 6i hatchback. Bump up to 6s status, and you find automatic climate control, a cargo cover, and an intermittent rear wiper. However, a couple additional packages provide even more amenities. A Luxury Package includes leather seating surfaces, an eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, heated door mirrors, and electroluminescent gauges that glow red at night. The Bose Audio Package adds a 6-disc CD changer and a subwoofer. A power sunroof can also be ordered.Dual front airbags with "smart" technology sense both occupants' seating position and accident intensity to determine the level of deployment. Seat-mounted airbags are also available and buffer the head, neck, and chest during impact. Curtain airbags are offered and provide lateral protection to passengers, both front and back.
Mazda's hatchback is meant to be a sport sedan with enhanced cargo-carrying capability. All of the design and engineering done by Mazda, when developing the sedan, has been applied to the more utilitarian form. The result is an inherently sporty vehicle, without so much spatial restriction.
Page 4: FAQs
What is the Mazda6 5-Door?
Built on Mazda's award-winning '6' platform, the all-new 5-Door is a hatchback variation that provides more cargo-carrying capacity than the sedan, with the ease of a 5-door for loading and unloading gear. Its looks are sportier than the wagon, and it fulfills Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom " tagline that advertises that all Mazda vehicles have the "soul of a sports car" .When does it go on sale, where is it built, and how many does Mazda expect to sell?
On sale now and built in Flat Rock, Michigan, Mazda hopes to sell 80,000 to 90,000 of the '6' vehicles overall, with 40 percent of sales as sedans, and a 30/30 split of Sport Wagons and 5-Door hatchback models.
How does it handle?
We drove this new model on highways and two-lane roads in the San Diego region, as well as on a high-speed performance track for more aggressive evaluation. Overall, the 5-Door handles just like the sedan, with plenty of power, great shift points, gear ratios, gas pedal feel-and a performance engine sound. We appreciated that it has a 5-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, and also enjoyed the 5-speed AT with Sport Shift. Steering has a good on-center feel and good feedback. Braking is even and smooth (no nose-diving), with good brake pedal feel. Particularly impressive is its flat handling in transition maneuvers and limited body roll , due to its rigid body structure.
Page 5: FAQs
What's its best feature?
Particularly noticeable is the sporty styling both inside and out of the hatchback, as well as its aggressive front and rear fascia, but its best feature is the versatility it brings with cargo space--22 cu. ft., with the rear seats up and 58 cu. ft., with the seats folded flat. What is the Mazda Test Drive Experience and how many Mazda dealers are there in the U.S.?
This Pilot Program is a carefully rehearsed and planned experience, over a customized driving route. Mazda believes that its vehicles that have been introduced over the past two years outperform the competition in five areas: steering, handling, braking, ride and acceleration. As a result, Mazda has designed a test drive, guided by its engineers that shows off Mazda's prowess in each of these areas. Mazda has some 700 dealers, with 171 exclusive dealers in the U.S.
Page 6: Writer's Notes
2004 Mazda6 5-Door Specifications:
Base price: $20,795
Engine: 2.3-liter inline-4 (160 hp @6,000 rpm, 155 lb.-ft. @4,000 rpm); 3-liter V6 (220 hp @6,300 rpm, 192 lb.-ft. @5,000 rpm)
Transmission: 5-speed manual; 4- or 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 105.3 in.
Length: 186.8 in.
Width: 70.1 in.
Height: 56.7 in.
Head/leg/hiproom: front: 38.7/42.3/54.7 in.; rear: 38.6/36.5/54.1 in.
Curb weight, lbs.: 3,166
Fuel economy: 19-24 city/27-32 highway mpg
Safety equipment: Dual two-stage frontal airbags; optional front side-impact airbags (seat-mounted); optional front and rear side air curtains; 4-wheel disc brakes with optional ABS; optional traction control