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Old 09-25-2003, 13:29   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:One-Year Test Update: 2003 Mazda 6

By Scott Mead
Photography by John Kiewicz
Motor Trend

FROM THE LOGBOOK
"There's more than zoom-zoom in the Mazda6. With content and creature comforts of a $35K car in this $25,000 sport sedan, the 6 is an incredible value."--Scott Mead

We've eagerly awaited the arrival of Mazda's 626 replacement ever since our first glimpse of the 6 at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. The all-new 6 delivers willing powertrains plus a comfortable and feature-rich interior encased in sexy bodywork--all for about five grand less than you might expect to pay.

Our Lapis Blue Metallic S model came with all the right trimmings: A 3.0-liter/ 220-horsepower V-6 with five-speed manual tranny (the sportiest offering, though the new 160-horse four is no slouch), leather seats ($860), power moonroof ($700), Bose audio package ($635), and side airbags and curtains ($450). We also added the $860 Sport Package, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust, sport side skirts/ airdam/spoiler, foglamps, and electro-luminescent gauges, and the $220 Comfort Package (heated front seats and outside mirrors). So far, we're impressed with the car's taut suspension, smart-shifting transmission, and well-contoured front seats. We wish Mazda had thrown more ponies into the powertrain (or perhaps just lower gear ratios), but the extra punch comes along with the Mazdaspeed version in the works for next year.

2003 Mazda 6
Base price $21,120
Price as tested $25,445
Vehicle layout Front engine, fwd, 4-door, 5-pass
Engine 3.0L V-6, DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Hp @ rpm 220 @ 6300
Torque @ rpm 192 @ 5000
Transmission 5-speed manual
0-60 mph, sec 7.0
EPA mpg 20 city/27 highway
Total mileage 2765
Average test mpg 21.4
Problem areas None
Non-warr cost $0



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