First I was a little shocked when the Mazda showed up in the driveway. Tom Cooney of STI, the press car company, pulled up at dusk and the Mazda Soul Red paint job blazed like the setting sun (which was taking place). The 6 looked bigger than a mid-size from a competitor; Honda Accord, for instance. But they are identical in size and weight (192”/3,300#). The alloy wheels (19”) with ten spokes were attractive, as were the front fenders and rear end treatment. Tires on the Mazda were Dunlop SP Sport 5000 245/45R19 all season radials, dual chrome exhaust finishers peeked out from under the rear of the car, and a dainty tailfin was mounted on the trunk.
Second On Friday morning, it’s time to go to KELS FM radio to discuss the red Mazda and show it to the DJ’s. It’s a pretty big hit, and Matt comments that the trunk is mammoth (14.8 cubic feet – I guess that like the car, it looks bigger). He also guesses the sticker price to be $40,000+. M.S.R.P. is actually $30,865, including freight, with only deluxe paint and a cargo mat as additions to the base price of $29,495. The five passenger Mazda had black leather seating, pushbutton start with proximity key setup, hand brake on the console, and an 11 speaker Bose stereo. Options that you would expect on a car named “Grand Touring” were present, to include blind spot monitor, moon roof, navigation system, and paddle shifters on the steering column.
Third It’s Saturday morning, and a trip is planned to see the daughters, go to the Denver County Fair, and see the Rockies play Pittsburgh. After trying Interstate 25 and getting tied up in traffic, Ruth and I moved over to U.S. 85 and entered Denver through Commerce City. Ride of the Mazda6 is great, as is guidance and handling. With the tires I described earlier, I feel the car takes bumps pretty good, and is quiet and responsive. Acceleration of the 6 is reportedly zero to 60 in 7.5 seconds, and is provided by a four cylinder, DOHC, 2.5 liter engine (184 hp/185 lbs. ft.). The front wheel drive car has a six-speed automatic with manual control and burns regular unleaded gasoline. The tank holds 16.4 gallons and EPA ratings are 26 city/38 highway, 30 mpg overall. I observed 31.6 mpg during my time with the Mazda. A V-6 would fit into the 6 really nice, and is available from Mazda (it could have had a V-8! – not really).
Fourth Today is an around-town day with errands and shopping. I kick the 6 in the pants a little bit and find the acceleration to be OK. I note that the engine makes some extra noise when started and cold, but it dissipates rapidly. With the electric power steering and 36.7’ turning radius, driving around and parking was easy. So was taking pictures, with such an attractive subject.
Fifth Today is the last day in possession of the Mazda, and we will run the 6 to DIA early tomorrow. It will be a great ride, but the car will not be waiting for us upon our return from Chicago. It would be nice if it was.