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2009 Mazda MAZDA6i Grand Touring Review and Test Drive

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The original Mazda6, first introduced for the model year 2003, made Zoom-Zoom the two most evocative words in automotive lexicon. The sport sedan was the first Mazda vehicle to benefit from the spirit of a true sports car infused in a five-passenger, 4-door sedan. Lessons learned from that car plus the award-winning Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers encouraged a clean-sheet approach to building this latest mid-size sedan from Mazda. Most importantly, though, this is the first Mazda vehicle designed, engineered, developed and manufactured in the U.S.

2009mazda6touringbeautyside01fixedsmallCompared to the original Mazda6, this new edition rides on a 4.5-inch longer wheelbase, with wider front and rear tracks. This larger package not only increases interior measurements, it moves the Mazda6 from the bottom to the top of the mid-size class as defined by SAE and EPA volume measures.

Two new powertrains rise to the occasion of moving the new Mazda6 with authority. The Mazda6 i’s new 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine generates 170hp while the new Mazda6 s’s 3.7 liter V6 makes 272hp, along with mpg gains ranging from 9 to 28%.

This next generation 2009 Mazda6, with its new platform, V6 and I4 engines, transmissions, suspensions, interior and exterior design, and a long list of standard and optional features makes this the most sophisticated, purpose-built machine that Mazda has launched in over a decade. Armed with evolved Zoom-Zoom, the new Mazda6 is ready to demonstrate its strengths and assume a leadership role in the thriving mid-size segment. This latest Mazda6 is truly better in every respect after test driving the 2.5 liter touring model for 7-days.

2009mazda6touringheadonleftturn01fixedsmallThe bold exterior design of the Mazda6 features a front fender reminiscent of the one found on today’s RX-8. Sculpture that flows from the front fascia, through the beautifully cut headlamp clusters, over the top of the front-wheel opening, and into the side surface ahead of the front doors achieves to aims-it accents the importance of wheels to the Mazda6’s athletic character and it visually trims the length of the front overhang.

The graceful S-curve that flows smoothly from the highest point of the roof to the subtle lip at the very end of the decklid’s top surface and the rear glass that melts into the decklid give the Mazda6 an exceptionally sleek appearance from any angle.

2009mazda6touringbeautyreartwo01fixedsmallThe harmony of sharp edges with richly curved surfaces adds to the Mazda6’s visual value. Powerful wheel arches, attached like wings to an airplane’s fuselage, create an athletic stance and instills a dynamic character to the car. Large areas of both doors are perfectly smooth and taut to show blank-space beauty. The rear windows end in a spearhead shape to further the flow, and other fine attention to detail is clearly evident in the taillights’ intricate LED components. All lights nestle jewel-like within their surrounding surfaces. The new look is sharp and unlike any other mid-size sedan on the market today. Wind-tunnel tests reported a final drag coefficient of 0.27, a 10% improvement over the original Mazda6, and a number lower than a Porsche 911. Very low lift at high speeds and in cross winds improves both directional stability and your confidence while behind the wheel of the car.

Mazda’s reputation for providing world-class powertrains-both engines and transmissions-is deeply rooted. Quick throttle response, strong acceleration, and outstanding flexibility are core to Mazda’s spirit. Guaranteeing that Mazda6 customers will enjoy the class-leading performance they expect, two engines are offered.

2009mazda6touringengine01fixedsmallA 2.5 liter engine is available and heads the mid-size class with 170hp at 6,000rpm and has a peak torque of 167lb.ft. at 4,000rpm that tops nearly all competitor’s engines. EPA fuel economy is 21mpg/city and 30mpg/highway. You have a choice of a 6-speed, close-ratio manual or a smooth shifting 5-speed automatic with sequential shifting.

The other engine offered is a 60-degree 3.7 liter V6 taken from the award-winning CX-9.
It generates 272hp at 6,250rpm and 269lb.ft. of torque at 4,250rpm, and tops all mid-size competitors. Mazda engineering tests show that it’s also quieter than its competitors at full throttle. It comes standard with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission or a new optional 6-speed automatic available on the Mazda6 s. One Zoom-Zoom feature inherited directly from the 2009mazda6touringdashboard01fixedsmallMazda RX-8 sports car is called Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) control. AAS senses winding road conditions and provides a gear ratio (usually third) with optimum acceleration response exiting a corner. During passing maneuvers following a merge into traffic, AAS holds lower gears longer to maximize acceleration.

In the roomier interior, it was a given that round instruments, a three-spoke steering wheel and a T-shaped center stack were to be included, new priorities call for an otherwise fresh approach. It is a winner with an added quality of execution to the highest level ever achieved by Mazda. Surface textures, gloss levels, parting lines, and decorative areas all received care attention. The interior needed an expansive feeling without losing its focus on fun to drive combined with comfort and safety for all passengers.

2009mazda6touringcluster01fixedsmallBlacked-out instrument faces with brighter metallic markings, and trim gives the Mazda6 interior an exquisitely detailed look. The front bucket seats are more highly refined with soft-look volumes combined with comfortable cushions and supportive side bolsters.
Attractively curved surfaces blend the console into the instrument panel.

Sculpted shapes combined with metallic-looking control panel areas achieve the desired contrast between dignity and celestial beauty. Crisp edges abut gently curved soft surfaces. Unique patterns and textures give the Mazda6 interior a fresh, original appearance. The use of black trim provides a rich, sporty look that’s unprecedented in the mid-size segment. High-mounted entertainment system and climate controls enhance functionality and ease of use. I was impressed with the new design, attention to detail and higher grade materials.

2009mazda6touringfrontseats01fixedsmallZoom-Zoom fun-to-drive pleasure is further heighted with the re-engineered and re-tuned fully independent suspension system. It really feels more nimble with quicker reaction time during maneuvering than that of the Mazda6 that I test a couple of years ago.

The new front suspension is an independent high-mount double-wishbone setup with gas-charged shocks, coil springs and stabilizer bar. The new independent E-type multi-link rear features gas-charged shocks, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. Light on it feet, the new suspension gives you the confidence to go faster when cornering, even for a front-wheel-drive sedan. The power-assisted, speed-sensitive, rack & pinion steering system is a perfect match with great on-center feel. The smaller, sporty, leather-wrapped, tilt-telescoping wheel felt great in my hands and gave me great maneuvering capability.
Helping to keep you on track during spirited driving times is standard traction control and electronic dynamic stability control, which, of course, can be turned off.

Quickly and safely slowing the new Mazda6 down from speed are larger steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.8in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, and 11.0in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers, in the rear. Braking control and power are further enhanced with ABS and electronic brake force distribution.

The all-new Mazda6 i touring with the 2.5 liter engine Mazda6 comes standard with 17X7in. alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17in. touring tires, while the 3.7 liter V6 model comes shod with 18X8in. alloy wheels and are wrapped with 235/45R18in. tires.
Further keeping you and your passenger’s safe is Mazda’s outstanding safety systems that have received ‘Five Star’ ratings for front, side and rollover crashes, the highest in the industry.

2009mazda6touringrearseats01fixedsmallWhen a collision cannot be avoided, the new Mazda6 has been engineered with energy absorbing and intrusion resistant zones in its body structure. Double load paths along both sides at the front of the car help absorb head-on collision energy. The integrity of the cabin area is bolstered by a substantial dash-support crossmember braced by two driveline tunnel reinforcements. A special stopper device keeps the brake pedal from moving rearward and into the driver’s survival space in the event the engine and transmission are dislocated during an accident. The fuel tank is mounted ahead of the rear suspension and surrounded by high-strength-steel side rails and two crossmembers capable of resisting crush and leakage in the event of a high-speed or offset rear impact.

A special triple-H structure consisting of roof rails, door pillars, sill structures, and floor crossmembers does an excellent job of resisting side-impact intrusion.

Front doors have dual reinforcement beams and energy-absorbing material built into their trim panels. You also get side-curtain airbags that cover all the front and rear door glass to minimize the chance of injury, front airbags, side-impact airbags, 3-point safety belts with pretensioners/load limiters, child safety rear doors, and the LATCH system for child seats.

2009mazda6touringbadge01fixedsmallThere are several trim levels available with the new car and my Mazda6 i grand touring model came with these items standard-halogen headlamps, A/C with pollen filter, power door locks, and windows, tilt-telescoping wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, two 12-volt power outlets, dual map lights, pull-down rear armrest/dual cupholders, center console with dual cupholders, gated shifter, storage bin armrest and thick-cut pile carpeting. The Mazda6 grand touring adds an auxiliary audio input jack for connecting audio gadgets, cruise-control with steering wheel mounted buttons, remote keyless entry, brightly finished dual-exhaust outlets, foglamps, electroluminescent gauges, leather trim for the seats, steering wheel and shift knob, push-button engine start/stop, a trip computer, sliding center console armrest, Xenon headlights, LED taillights, auto-dimming outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, Mazda’s advanced blind-spot monitoring system automatic dual climate control, leather trimmed and heated front seats, memory adjustment for driver seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth connection, Homelink remote controls, SIRIUS satellite radio, power moonroof, and a premium Bose surround-sound AM-FM audio system/6-CD changer with MP3 capability

The all-new 2009 Mazda6 is a step up for Mazda’s ‘flagship’ mid-size sedan with crisper styling, a larger, more comfortable interior, more power, better handling and the latest in high-tech convenience and safety.

COPYRIGHT: 2009: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

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SPECIFICATIONS

Price: MSRP $25,810
Type: Midsize Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Midsize Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 193.7 in.
Width: 72.4 in.
Height: 57.9 in.
Wheel Base: 109.8 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in.
Curb Weight: 3309 lbs.
Gross Weight: 4400 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 39.4 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 57.3 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.3 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56.5 in.
Rear Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.5 in.
Rear Leg Room: 38 in.
Luggage Capacity: 16.6 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2.5 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 170 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 167 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4000 rpm
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 35.4 ft.
0-60mph: 8.0 seconds (4cyl auto)

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 21 mpg / 30 mpg / 24 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 388.5 mi. / 555 mi. / 444 mi.

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