Sport sedan grows up, gets a great new look
It's tricky business updating a car like the Mazda 6, especially with the original's reputation as the sportiest and most energetic model in its class. It offered handling, style and entertainment value at above-par levels, not to mention a great look and very sporty driving characteristics. If BMW made a front-drive car, it would probably drive just like the last-generation Mazda 6.
With no premium brand for owners to step up to, Mazda's sedan had to follow its owners up market. The 6 is now larger and more accommodating than the previous car- with more storage, a larger trunk and an elegant new presence created by its longer, wider physique.
Getting aboard is easier, and the slight snugness to the interior has been replaced by a sensation of roominess. The new 6 is bigger in every dimension.
It's more sophisticated in every dimension, too. Outside, the gleaming, sleek body wore 18-inch wheels, LED tail-lamps and xenon projectors. The RX-8-styled fender bulges look great, and a few touches of metal and chrome on the body further the high-end appearance. Though priced just over $29,000, it could pass as a premium model any day of the week.
A completely fantastic interior
Same deal inside- and the big story on the latest 6 is its new interior. The tester came with a Bluetooth phone, Bose audio, CD changer, auto dimming rearview and side mirrors, powered and heated leather seats, keyless access with engine start button, and automatic climate control.
It's all bolted to a super-modern looking dashboard with incredible accent lighting. It looks great in the daytime with contrasting colors and textures, though it has to be seen at night to be fully appreciated. The instruments look gorgeous when illuminated, displaying deep hues of blue and orange that blend into one another.
The colors will remind drivers of a beautiful sunset- though the dials can look a touch busy and should probably be a smidge larger. Regardless, once you've experienced the 6's cabin, the Accord, Camry and Altima may just put you to sleep.
Controls are easy to find and operate, and there's adequate storage too. Complaints? Rear-corner visibility isn't the car's best attribute, the seats are a touch on the hard side for this correspondent's backside.
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