What's New For 2009? The 2009 Mazda 6 is all-new, with a larger interior, huge trunk and sharp styling that makes it stand out from the crowd. It also boasts the most powerful V-6 engine in its class, a classy and elegant interior design with high-quality materials, and even a manual transmission on the four-cylinder "i" model. After a generation of midsize sedans that were too small for most drivers, Mazda finally gets the size and performance equation right with the 2009 Mazda 6.
Why was the old Mazda 6 so small? The previous generation Mazda 6 was a good car, but built off an international platform. While the economics of doing this are simple – one car for many markets – it resulted in a competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry that was significantly smaller than both. It also had a few refinement issues that turned off buyers.
What else should I consider? If you're looking at the 2009 Mazda 6, chances are you're looking for a slightly sportier ride. Check out the Nissan Altima, which has a bit more character to its driving. Another alternative is the Honda Accord. Although it's softened a bit, the Honda Accord is still rewarding to drive.
Quick Look: 2009 Mazda 6
The all-new 2009 Mazda 6 addresses all the problems associated with the car it replaces, but manages to maintain the character and fun of the older car. With a stylish new exterior, a classy and upscale interior, and features uncommon at this price level, the 2009 Mazda 6 promises to bring new buyers into Mazda showrooms, without alienating the old ones.
The 2009 Mazda 6 comes in two different models, both available in three different trim levels. The Mazda 6 i is available in Sport, Touring or Grand Touring trims for $20,920, $22,375 and $25,480, respectively, including a $670 destination charge. A stripped-down SV version is available with manual transmission only for $19,220. The 2009 Mazda 6 i is powered by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine connected either to a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The 2009 Mazda 6 s comes with a 3.7-liter 272-hp V-6 and six-speed automatic in the same Sport ($24,800), Touring ($25,745) or Grand Touring ($28,930) trim levels as the i.
The 2009 Mazda 6 Sport models feature power accessories, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, an auxiliary audio port and stability control as standard equipment, regardless of engine choice. Move up to the Touring models and you add 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, pushbutton start, an 8-way power driver's seat and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. The Grand Touring models get -- inhale -- full leather upholstery, xenon headlights and LED rear lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, driver's seat memory, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth hands-free telephone and audio -- exhale. Options are limited to a handful of packages, and even then only to the Touring and Grand Touring models: A Moonroof and Bose package adds a moonroof and upgraded audio system for $1,760, a Convenience package adds leather and cloth seats, blind spot detection and other up-level fittings to the Touring trim for $1,610, and a navigation system is available on Grand Touring models for $2,000.
Overall we're impressed by the 2009 Mazda 6. It offers the satisfying blend of performance, style and comfort of the older car, but in a much roomier and elegant package. Arguably, rear-seat passengers benefit the most thanks to additional leg room. If the 2009 Mazda 6 isn't on shopping lists everywhere, it should be.
By Keith Buglewicz
Photo credit: Mazda