Mazda 6 -- 2004 Review: Touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell are the five senses each of us relies upon to navigate our environment. However, a sixth sense exists, one that speaks to the visceral, the world of imagination. This sixth sense is intuition, which tells you to look beyond the rational and sensible and go with what appeals to the heart.
When conversation turns to family transportation, the list of usual suspects reels off the tongue like some to-do list: common sedans, minivans, and SUVs like the Honda Accord, Toyota Sienna and Ford Explorer come immediately to mind. However, new alternatives occasionally make their mark, vehicles that somewhat defy logic but nevertheless manage to earn recommendation because they make a strong emotional connection.
Mazda 6 a hit with critics
Consider, for example, the Mazda 6 triumvirate. When the Mazda 6 first debuted in sedan form as a 2003 model, it was met with accolades from the press for its combination of family-friendly utility and driver-friendly dynamics. Imbued with more than its fair share of the cliché-ridden “zoom-zoom,” it quickly garnered a place in the nook of driving enthusiasts’ hearts. Unfortunately, the 2003 Mazda 6 sedan wasn’t a breakout hit like the Nissan Altima, another sporty family sedan, when it debuted; the Mazda lacked ample rear seating to accommodate ample American bodies, for example, and its engine choices did not possess the kind of impressive-sounding, class-leading numbers that marketers so dearly love to tout. It doesn’t help that Mazda’s well of marketing dollars is significantly more shallow than Nissan’s.
New hatchback and wagon versions increase appeal
To increase the appeal of the Mazda 6 for 2004, two new variants debut which increase the usefulness of these stylish, fun-to-drive vehicles. Now, buyers can select from three different body styles of the Mazda 6; a sedan, a five-door hatchback and a station wagon. The new hatchback (Mazda prefers to call it the 5-door) and wagon (Sport Wagon, according to Mazda) offer added practicality without sacrificing their fun-to-drive nature, and cover segments ignored by Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
We recently had the opportunity to drive the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon and Mazda 6 5-Door back-to-back, and we’re happy to say that we came away as satisfied as Atkins devotees after a visit to the Outback Steakhouse.