Friday, September 26, 2008

New Mazda6 lives large


The new Mazda6 takes the zoom-zoom that Mazda is known for and adds some room, room.

The sedan, which enters a new generation, has gotten larger and better.

Mazda says it is now a formidable competitor against the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Malibu, and we couldn't agree more.

Start with the looks.

Mazda has maintained the sporty heritage that the brand is proud of, but also given the 6 some refinement.

Case in point: So we're driving this thing in South Florida, and we have to stop to, you know, get some relief, so we pull into a Walgreen's.

We come out, feeling much better, thank you, and right next to the Mazda6 is a Lexus ES sedan. The driver of that car wasn't around, so we felt like it was OK to take a long, close look at that car and the 6 we rode in on.

After a couple of minutes, we reached a verdict in our head - the 6 is way better looking.

Now some might say that's not saying much. Lexus has never really been known for exceptional design quality.

But remember, we're comparing that one with a car that probably costs $15,000-$20,000 less, and it didn't take us long to favor the cheaper joint.

That's not a diss on Lexus, that's a big up to Mazda.

The designers deserve serious props for producing something that is sporty, classy and just downright hot.

Performance-wise, we have nothing but good things to say after getting a couple of hours behind the wheel.

We drove both the six-cylinder and four-cylinder versions, and were equally impressed with the power in both.

Mazda says it expects the four-cylinder to account for 75 percent of the sales, and we can see why.

The power is terrific and the gas mileage is very nice.

Spend a little more, though, and enjoy the thrills of the bigger engine, with not a huge hit taken in mpg.

We'll get you more on this later, but for now just know that the new Mazda6 is the truth.

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