It started with Mazda’s ok-selling 626 sedan. With the 626, Mazda had a small-midsize car to compete with the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Though it did not fare so well, it eventually evolved into the Mazda-6, which did sell well enough for Mazda to stick with the name for its third generation of the model.
Mazda has really stepped up the game with this new 6 and it shows. The styling is more dynamic and mature and the car has a feeling of presence that its predecessor lacked badly. The old one looked and felt like it was built on a budget, because it was.
One thing that didn’t need changing was the previous car’s chassis. It was a wonderful blend of taunt-controlled feel and supple comfort. Engineers say they’ve only improved an already stellar package. The ’09 Mazda 6 will be powered by a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with an optional 3.7-liter V6 adapted from the CX-9 crossover. The four-cylinder engine can be ordered with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox, while the V6 offers only a six-speed automatic with manual-shift capability.
When it comes out early next year, the Mazda 6 will come in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. A sportier Mazdaspeed model is expected shortly after the car hits dealers.
The new 6 could prove to be a ten.