Pros Styling, tech features, comfort, economy, performance - Beats all it competitors hands down
Cons No auto door locks, dash lighting in low light conditions (near sunset, but not after dark) needs improving - Otherwise, a great car
Summary Having downsized from a SUV to a mid-size sedan, I did a thorough study of many cars in the Mazda 6 class before deciding on the Mazda. In fact, I didn't originally consider the Mazda 6 in my analysis until near the end of my study, which I think points out Mazda's single biggest problem - lack of exposure to the public when compared to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Chevy. However, when compared side by side to other cars in its class, almost all auto experts have come to the conclusion that the Mazda is a class leader, regardless of what I consider to be a very biased, poor review by C/Net.
In my analysis of 5 cars I considered (Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, and Chevy Malibu), I took almost 2 months of research, reading, and test driving before I came to a choice for my car. Two cars, the Altima and the Malibu, were quickly eliminated for numerous reasons, especially after test driving them. I eliminated the Camry next for the reason given above by C/Net, as I found the Toyota totally devoid of any character, a boring, Cutlass like everyman car that excelled in nothing other than banality. I felt that my analysis was leading me to the Accord, and was ready to go with one until I checked out the Mazda 6. Everything changed then, and I think C/Net needs to compare these 2 autos at the same time, and see if they stick with their current review of the Mazda 6. I don't think they could justify it if they did a side by side test.
First of all, styling-wise, for C/Net to call the Mazda "boring" compared to the bulbous Accord is laughable. In fact, to give the Accord a 9.0 for styling is a joke. Perhaps the C/Net reviewers have overdosed on their Geritol. Dimensionally, both cars are very comparable, both inside and out. The Honda has about 1/2" more front headroom, but other than that, these cars are pretty much the same. The Mazda really excels over the Honda with a much bigger truck that much more usable (no rounded wheel well intrusions and non-intruding trunk lid hinges), and Mazda's split folding back seat is much more versatile than the Honda non-split folding back seat. Inside, both cars are comfortable and inviting, but again, the Mazda edges out the Accord in several important areas. While the gauges on both cars are great, the center stack of the Honda is a confusing mishmash of almost 70 buttons that are far from intuative and require constant studying to learn how to use. The Mazda dash is much cleaner and easier to use and lack nothing that the Honda has - it is simply better executed in the Mazda. I also believe that the interior style of the Mazda is nicer in terms of better leather and style than in the Honda. The Mazda sound system is also vastly superior to the Accord, both in terms of sound and ease of use. The Mazda aslo beats the comparably priced Accord in features, offering Bluetooth audio (not just phone), blind spot monitoring system, xenon headlights, push button start, and rain-sensing wipers, all of which Honda does not offer.
Performance-wise, both cars are very similar. The Honda beats the Mazda slightly in MPG ratings, but at a cost. When test driving both from the same dealership, I found the Honda to have more road noise, especially at highway speeds. While Honda boast the variable cylinder management system (6,4, or 3 cylinder operation depending on your needs at the time), I found their claims that "when the switching occurs, it is virtually seamless" to be far from true. Especially when going from less cylinders to more, the hesitancy on 4 Hondas I test drove was very noticeable to the point of being a litlle scary. Maybe I just test drove some poorly tuned vehicles, but I really wasn't impressed, as I have always found great quality in other Honda products (I own Honda outboard motors, lawn mower, snow blower, and jet-ski). The Mazda was slightly louder in accelerating from a stop, but was quieter overall in all other ways. Road handling on both vehicles were similar.
In summary, design-wise, feature-wise, and style-wise, the Mazda 6 was clearly superior to the Accord. Performance-wise, it was much closer, with both performing well, but I founnd the VCM system on the Honda to be a little quirky to the point of being irritating.
I, more than anyone, was surprised how well the Mazda 6 did compared to the Accord, as I never thought I would end up buying a Mazda, but I did. I have owned it for over a year now, with 30,000+ mile on it, and have had absolutely zero problems to date.
Do yourself a favor and check out the Mazda 6 if you are interested in buying a car in this class. You won't be disappointed. Please do not let C/Net bland review deter you. Test drive one and see for yourself.
Pros I have the 4 cylinder, manual shift, sport package. It has been fun and a pleasure to drive. After one year not one problem.
Cons Some noise from rear and hear gas slosh from time to time
Summary I paid a modest amount for this vehicle and got a lot of car for the money
Pros I now have my second Mazda6, now a 2010. I bought the Touring Plus model with the 4cyl engine and 5-speed automatic. It has met or surpassed all my expecations. It's sleek, comfortable, quiet, fun to drive, roomy and overall a great road car.
Cons Would like to see a headrest added to middle position of backseat. Also, adding a USB port would be nice.
Summary I like the fact that the roads are not clogged with the Mazda6 like Camry's and Accords. They are fine vehicles too, to be sure, but I've never wanted to drive a 'generic' car that everybody else has. The 2010 model does have automatically locking doors (above 12 mph) and the Grand Touring (GT) model is available with the 4cyl. I think the Cnet review overall had a bias against midisized 'family' sedans ("a boring segment") and also was focused too much on only the high tech electronics aspect of it, such as the navigation system. As far as I'm concerned that's an option that is way to expensive to buy installed on any car. I'd much rather have a $200 Garmin than drop $1500 from the car manufacturers. The reviewer did like the Mazda's blind spot monitoring system and I like it a lot too. A truely useful safety feature that none of the competition offers, yet he classified the tech features of this car as 'mediocre'. I also like the bluetooth hands free phone system (again on par with competition) and ability to sync wirelessly to my phone for music. I was able to import my phone contacts, though only one at a time. If you're looking for a reliable , safe (5 star all around), fun to drive car that stands out from the competition, I'd strongly suggest you drive a Mazda6 before you buy a mid sized sedan.
Pros The 4 banger has plenty of pep and is good enough for most people. Bose stereo is great. Bluetooth audio and voice activated phone. Push button start and keyless door handles. Bose stereo has great sound. Best looks and sportiness in class!
Cons Navigation could be better...I'd rather use my Garmin any day. 4 cylinder doesn't offer the GT package..you have to get the V6 if you want that.
Summary In short I have had the car for over a year and have not had to take it back for any reason. Build quality is great. Fit and finish is superb. Mazda used to be thrifty with their paint. Not anymore the paint definitely gets high marks. Not only for better durability but better finish. I have the V6 GT model but I drove the 4 cylinder and it has plenty of power to get you around. I love my Mazda 6 and I get compliments on it quite a bit. Also unlike the Camry, Accord, Fusion, Altima and Malibu I don't see a Mazda 6 on every corner. That is fine with me because I enjoy being a free thinker and know Mazda quality is just as good or better than all of it's competition.
I love the way my Mazda 6 drives and the last car I owned was an Audi A6 S-Line with a twin turbo that was chipped (a little over 300 HP) but my Mazda is just as quick and the numbers are about on par with my Audi. Sure the interior and overall luxury of the Audi is better but my Mazda 6 when driving feels almost just like the Audi. I feel firmly planted and it corners nicely without a lot of body roll. I'm not saying it's a corvette but when it comes to the competition in the family car class you better believe it blows the rest away. All this and it still has very nice dampening to the suspension (ride quality is nice but sporty at the same time).
And there is plenty of room compared to the Accord. Seeing that the Accord is about 1 inch longer then the Mazda 6. Did you know the Mazda 6 is the 2nd largest in class? By the way auto experts rate the Mazda you would think it was a foot shorter then the Honda. The trunk is the largest and unless you have a ruler you would never know it was short on creature comforts compared to all the others (we are talking only fractions of an inch here).
The Bose sound system, the Bluetooth audio and phone, the most powerful engine with a very nice shifting 6 speed automatic, push button start with automatic keyless doors, plus having style whereas most of the others besides the Altima have any sportiness at all. These are all reasons why I drive the Mazda 6 because like the car I am not boring and I don't follow a nameplate (aka Honda, Toyota) and believe just because of the name that their car will be bullet proof. Did you know the reason why Toyota especially has such a great name? It's because they don't share their quality issues like all the other automakers. Not saying that Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc. are bad cars (in fact they are all fine) they just aren't any better then Mazda and in my opinion they don't offer what the Mazda 6 can.
I won't be disappointed if everybody sticks to the same rule...buy what everybody else likes or just buy something because it has the illusion of being 10 times better quality wise. Either way I'll be happy being different and drive a car that gives me what I want. These are the other cars I thought about getting (G37s, Maxima, BMW 335i). I could afford to buy one of the others but realistically I can't justify spending that much more money for something equal to or performance / luxury wise on the next level up. But I have to admit if I was buying this year I would probably get either a Camaro or Mustang, V8 6 speed of course! But then again they aren't sedans.
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