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  1. Join Date
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    #1
    [size=5]Tested: Mazda 6 2.3[/size]
    [size=4]Now a perfect ten for Mazda’s new 6 with five speeds and a big four.[/size]

    [size=2]Published by Yehey! Motoring: http://www.yehey.com/lifestyle/motoring

    By Marvin Tan; 7 September 2005[/size]



    Mazda’s flamboyant 6 sedan has been trying valiantly to get the attention of the market for over a year and a half now. Too bad that its dapper shape has been largely ignored by savvy buyers unsatisfied with a weakling drivetrain and a decidedly plebeian interior, especially compared to the smash-hit heavyweights Camry and Accord, no matter that the 6 undercut everyone else in this segment at the price list.

    Well, this tired contender has suddenly found the Fountain of Youth midway through its life cycle. The Mazda 6 blitzes through puberty and emerges the suave and athletic jock it should have been from the start. A bigger heart, enlarged from 2.0 to 2.3 liters, combined with a new five-speed automatic with sequential manual override (“Activematic” in Mazda-speak), dramatically propels the Mazda 6 from the bottom of the midsize heap straight to the top of the four-cylinder midsize slugfest.

    We drove the old 2.0-liter Mazda 6 back-to-back with the reborn 6 on the winding mountain roads of Tagaytay Highlands and Tagaytay Midlands, where Mazda formally presented its newest baby to the press. Sad to say, there are hamsters instead of horses under the hood of the old 6, and on steep hills, the 130 gerbils simply give up and play dead on their wheel. You’ll have to leave the tranny in first if you want any semblance of acceleration uphill. On really steep inclines, even floorboarding the accelerator in first gear results in absolutely zero throttle response.

    No such exasperation with the 2.3-liter mill with variable valve timing and variable intake inlet length. The hamsters give way to 164 kicking thoroughbred horses and 153 lb-ft of torque under the hood and the added ponies now make molehills out of mountains. Sure, you’ll still have to keep the engine boiling in the upper reaches of the tachometer to get going, but the 6 goes like stink when the tach needle swings briskly past “3” or “4”. Below that threshold, the motor is relatively tepid, but punching the accelerator in low gear now shoves your back deep into the leather-clad power seat like the old 6 never did. While a proper clutch and stick would have stirred enthusiast hearts even more, the new five-speed slushbox delivers smooth and immediate downshifts when you want to break the sound barrier but defaults to higher gears for improved fuel economy at gentle throttle openings. The “Activematic” sequential manual gear control feels somewhat laggy and slow to respond, but at least it’s there. In first gear, there’s remarkably strong engine braking to utilize on long, steep declines. Mazda has wisely taken the brute force method in addressing complaints about the 6 being underpowered. No need to hide from Accords anymore -- unless, ah, the trunklid says “V6”.



    While a V6 option would surely have been nice, the 2.3-liter is a practical decision in the age of drying oil wells and puts out enough power to finally give the beautiful 6 the moves to match its dashing looks. Speaking of looks, the first 6 easily scored a perfect ten in styling, yet Mazda has somehow managed to improve on perfection with blacked-out lights, fog lamps, sill extensions, resculpted bumpers, more prominent dual exhaust tips, a more subtle lip spoiler, a redone grille, and 17-inch tires with aggressive rubber. Side by side, it’s remarkable how much these changes add up to make the new 6 far more aggressive than its predecessor.

    There are more significant updates inside. The old 6 was hopelessly chintzy compared to the class leaders, and Mazda seems to agree. Gone are the shoddy gray fabrics that damned the 6 before, with black leather finally adorning the seats and sidings. Interior trimmings and switches, including the gearshift lever, now look and feel much better, and the 6 takes a gargantuan step forward in making its owner feel rich and special. Even the door slams sound better. With electroluminescent dials, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, an eight-way-adjustable power driver’s seat with three-preset memory, a tilt-and-telescoping wheel that greatly helps finding a comfortable driving position, a standard sunroof and soft-touch paneling on the dash top and window sills, the 6 is finally a great place to be in. Don’t let the sports-car shape fool you: the cabin of the 6 is roomy and comfortable front and rear and will hold its own against the limousine-spacious Camry, Accord and Hyundai Sonata.

    Besides those, there are the nifty details that are easy to appreciate: a strut-actuated trunklid, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks that fold at the pull of convenient releases in the trunk, a large and well-carpeted trunk, a tidy tool tray and a three-point belt for the middle rear passenger. The 6 now oozes with quality and insightful engineering, too bad that there’s noticeable orange peel on the trunklid paint, though, and only a space-saver spare is fitted.

    The great thing about the 6 is that you don’t have to be too rich and special to be able to buy one. Mazda will happily sell you a Mazda 6 (there’s only one fully-loaded trim level available) for the bargain price of 1,365,000 Rizal-head coins. If that sounds high, take a glance at the spec sheet that includes anti-lock brakes, automatically-activating and automatically-leveling high-intensity discharge headlamps, electronic traction control, four-wheel disc brakes, front, side and curtain airbags, electronic climate control, six-disc in-dash CD-changer and rain-sensing wipers. Or alternatively, take a look at how much the Camry 2.4V sells for and how many features standard on the 6 are missing from the Accord 2.4 VTi-L. Only the new Sonata offers better value for your money, arguably.

    You’ll save even more money if you do as Mazda dares and fire your chauffeur. And why not, what with the Mazda’s beautifully balanced handling and amazing appetite for curves? It doesn’t feel large in a way the Accord does. This is a car that truly lets you enjoy driving, and the tighter the curves and the longer the straights, the better. Pointing the restyled snout down corners is made pleasant indeed by the direct and precise steering. It’s quick and perfectly weighted and registers the minute twitches and shudders that tell you about what the tires are feeling. However, the steering is a tiny bit loose-feeling just a millimeter off-center compared to the old 6, which felt just the tiniest bit more direct. Hurtling down your own version of the Akina Downhill reveals a marvelously balanced chassis. There’s minimal body roll, and grip is abundant. No understeer to speak of whatsoever while carving mountain roads at irrational speeds. The Bridgestone Potenzas just seem to dig in and hang on to the pavement at speeds that would find most other front-drivers understeering all the way to the guardrail. Braking hard downhill into a bend slides the tail out, but it never feels like this car will spin out uncontrollably on you; very confidence-inspiring. The brakes are breathtakingly strong, and the ABS pulses are clearly palpable. Mazda has a point. Your chauffeur can’t have all this sinful fun. Go ahead and fire him.

    Surely that athletic persona comes at some cost to ride comfort, and the Mazda 6 clearly rides more firmly than most of its rivals. There’s also considerable road noise filtering into the cabin, and bump impacts are heard more clearly and jolt more violently.

    But surely too such is a small price to pay for such a brilliantly executed sports car for the family man. Quite simply, the new 6 pole-vaults from being a miserable under-qualified has-been to competing for the best in its class.

    [Size=4]Specifications[/size]
    Vehicle type Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
    Price P1,365,000
    Engine 2261-cc 16-valve inline-4 DOHC EFI with variable valve timing and variable intake inlet length, gasoline
    Max. Power 164 bhp * 6500 rpm
    Max. Torque 153 lb-ft (207 Nm) * 4000 rpm
    Weight/power ratio approx. 19.34 lbs per hp
    Tranmission 5-speed automatic with sequential manual selection
    Dimensions (LxWxH) 183.9 x 70.1 x 56.5 in. (4670 x 1780 x 1435 mm)
    Wheelbase 105.3 in. (2675 mm)
    Curb weight approx. 3172 lbs (1442 kg)
    Chassis type Monocoque
    Front suspension Independent; double wishbone control arms, coil spring, anti-roll bar
    Rear suspension Independent; multiple links, coil spring, anti-roll bar
    Last edited by mbt; September 11th, 2005 at 02:59 AM.

  2. Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    #2
    [size=4]Second Opinion[/size]

    "It was raining on that Wednesday afternoon when I had the chance to drive the new Mazda 6 2.3. As I hop inside the new 6, I was delighted with the upgraded interior. Everything is so beautiful inside and out. Seats are now wrapped with leather, front driver seat can be adjusted with a push of a button, door inserts looked awesome than the previous model, steer mounted audio controls is now included and the center consul looked sportier than ever with. I really admired the exterior design of the Mazda 6 ever since it was launched more than a year ago. But now, it looked lovelier with 17-inch rims, smoked tail lights, HID headlights and aggressive looking grill. Driving it was challenging because the road was slippery and steep. The automatic wipers and headlights helped a lot during the hard down pour but I decided to abort my test drive and wait till the rain stops because I felt that it will be dangerous driving on the steep and slippery road. The rain stopped and I hopped again into this beast. I decided to open the windows and sunroof to let the cool breeze of Tagaytay in to the car and feel the power rush of this beautiful beast. I felt like I was a five years younger again driving this sumptuous car. I placed the shift to “D” and started to test rigidly the car that captured my soul. Steering was responsive as I make turns to the hair pin road of the highlands. Acceleration uphill is fun and taxing at the same time because I have to place the gear low and rev it high in order to ascend the hilly road. The sports-tuned suspension is a bit harsh and noisy when passing over uneven roads.

    This car is definitely the one of the best cars that I have driven in my entire life. It suits my age and my active lifestyle. I just hope that it would capture the hearts of the Filipino buyers soon. At P1.365M, it is a bang-for-your-buck!"

    [size=4]- Carlo Sapera ("carlocaraddict")[/size]
    Last edited by mbt; September 15th, 2005 at 07:56 PM.

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    Compare the interior of the new 6 with that of the old 6 (below):

  9. Join Date
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    This review and test opportunity has been sponspored by Yehey! Motoring, http://www.yehey.com/lifestyle/motoring

    If you find these reviews helpful, send a check for a million bucks to Yehey! Motoring hehe

    for a zany, wacky, horrendously off-topic initial discussion about the new Mazda 6 2.3 that only tsikot.com can have, take a look at http://tsikot.yehey.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22211

  10. Join Date
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    #10
    love the gauges! but the whole dash doesnt seem inviting..very conventional but much better than the accord or camry's dash.

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Tested: Mazda 6 2.3