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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
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Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

2004 Mazda6
It's Definitely a 10
By Steve Litscher

(Friday, July 2, 2004 9:00 PM EST)

2004 Mazda6

2004 Mazda6 Dash and Instrument Cluster

Mazda6 Interior

Mazda6 Door Panel

2004 Mazda6

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Mazda USA
One of the most crowded automotive categories is that of "mid-size sedan," and it's one that Mazda is quite familiar with. The 626 sedan competed for years against the likes of the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, but it was never able to steal anyone's thunder. Until now.

In case you haven't noticed, car prices have been on the increase. It wasn't too long ago that a $20,000 car was "expensive." But take a cruise through your local dealership and you'll be hard pressed to find a car for less than 20-large. Now, Mazda has managed to do the unthinkable: Build an awesome car that's fun to drive, "cool," and give Honda and Toyota a run for their money - all while keeping the price below $20k.

Well, ok, the price does eek it's way past $20k if you get happy with the option list, but as we discovered, the 6 doesn't require a lot of extras to keep the "fun needle" firmly pegged. Our 2004 Mazda6i stickered at $19,975 (including destination charges) and featured a 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4), a great "Sport Shift" 4-speed automatic transmission, superb 4-wheel disc brakes, a competent suspension package that was neither harsh nor vague, and a handful of nice interior amenities.

The first thing that you'll notice (as will others) about the Mazda6 is its looks. For some reason, the crowded mid-size sedan category has been cursed with a slew of drab, unexciting, "me too," vehicles that place a lot of weight in the 'ole mantra, "Form follows function." Mazda's designers have given the 6 a great shape - one that drew looks from other motorists, and had our office staff praising the athletic, performance-inspired body lines.

More praise was garnished on the Mazda's interior. While our 6i was fitted with budget conscious cloth upholstery, it didn't spoil our opinion of the interior. Gauges were large, well placed and easy to read. Controls for the radio, climate control, lighting and cruise control were also perfect. Everything was easy to operate and felt completely natural - a feat that few cars can boast.

Front seat room was ample - our lanky 6-foot-plus editors had more than enough leg and head room. The seats were comfortable and supportive, without being overbearing. Rear passengers commented that the seats offered abundant leg room, but some reported feeling a little crowded in the head and shoulder area. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 manner to provide more space in the already massive trunk. The trunk is wide, deep and easy to load. For those that require more space, Mazda introduced the Sport Wagon and 5-door models earlier this year.

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