Mazda6 that dropped two digits from its designation last year and italicized the
remaining one is more than a pretty facelift. To prove a point, it won a breathtaking
number of honors -- some 60 in all following its debut. With that to chew on,
can anything but praise follow?
sedan that replaced the previous, less notable 626 model wasn't meant for the
tentative driver who hugs the slow lane while munching on a donut. Mazda has never
been that ho-hum. Rather, this hands-on vehicle is a toast to the "zoom zoom"
tradition the Japanese auto maker is building as a staple into all of its vehicles.
taut "driver's car" like the Mazda6 might suggest a few compromises,
less rear seat legroom for one and that's what you get. You might want to save
that golf foursome for the new, 5-door or wagon models this Spring if all players
have oversized golf bags. But the stronger-structured, athletic body style, more
international in character than some competitors, has a "no apologies"
attitude. That's what owning the road is all about. Mazda coined the phrase "emotion
in motion" to characterize the feeling.
2004, Mazda6 adds an "s" version (lower case, please like the companion,
base-model "i"), with sporty, 17-inch alloy wheels standard. Optional
for both are a new Luxury package including leather trimmed seating and heated
front seats, and a Security package with braking enhancements, side curtain airbags
and perimeter anti-theft. In true sports-driving tradition, the available short-throw
stick shift is meant for performance rather than penny pinching. Put the Mazda6
on top of its 3.0 liter, V-6 (or 2.3 liter I-4) and you get an exciting sports
sedan when the daily car has to serve both fun and function.