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ADDING MORE VERSATILITY TO THE ZOOM

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Oct 30, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

ADDING MORE VERSATILITY TO THE ZOOM By HARVEY SCHWARTZ

For late 2004, Mazda adds a new model to its already popular Mazda6 line: The Mazda6 five-door sedan. The new Mazda6 five-door offers consumers more cargo carrying versatility, with the same bold Mazda6 styling and all of the power and performance of the Mazda6 sport sedan. This new Mazda6 is the only midsize five-door hatchback offered here for sale.

You can order the Mazda6 five-door sedan with either the 2.3-liter DOHC in-line four-cylinder engine that pumps out 160 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 155 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, or the optional 3.0-liter DOHC V6 making 220 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 192 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. Both engines are mated to the standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic. Both the 3.0-liter V6 and 2.3-liter feature DOHC valvetrains, with continuously variable intake valve timing (VVT). My test vehicle came with the 2.5-liter I-4 mated to the five-speed manual transmission, which I'll get into up ahead.

This model is about having additional cargo-carrying versatility, with the same zoom of the Mazda6 sport sedan. When you open the glass liftgate of the five-door, you'll see a covered cargo compartment with 22 cubic feet of space - nearly 50 percent more than that of the sedan. Also, the opening is so expansive that oddly shaped items, which would not fit through normal trunk openings, can easily slide through. With the rear seats folded, cargo space expands to 58.7 cubic feet - near the same amount of several sport utility vehicles. Cargo tie-downs and two hidden compartments in the side panels allow you even more options for stowage.

All Mazda6 five-door sedans come with 17X7 aluminum alloy wheels wrapped by P215/50R17 all-season radial tires, and a sports package that includes aggressive front and rear fascias, integrated fog lights, side sill extensions, rear wing, body-colored sport grilled, rear window-wiper, and two polished stainless steel oval-tipped exhaust tips. Sporty handling is assured with the same Mazda6 sedan's front independent double-wishbone suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, while the rear suspension features the sedan's independent setup with E-type multi-links, coil springs and stabilizer bar. Crisp response to your inputs is exhibited with Mazda's great power-assisted rack & pinion steering system.

The new Mazda6 five-door sedan quickly and safely stops with the same Mazda6 sedan's 11.1-inch vented discs up front and 11.0-inch solid discs in the rear. ABS is standard with EDB braking optional with the 2.3-liter engine. I tested the 2.3-liter engine and was impressed with the quick launch when mated to the five-speed manual that I used. When in high gears I had to downshift one gear to get the same brisk acceleration as the 3.0-liter V6 when passing. The plus-side for this potent I-4 engine is the higher gas mileage, 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway (according to the EPA). Inside comfort, convenience, luxury and safety was the same as I experienced when I tested last year's new Mazda6 sedan. I really like the comfortable front bucket seats, easy to see instrument cluster with red-glowing light, polished aluminum-look center stack and the powerful Bose audio system. New this year inside is titanium-look power window switch panels.

For those consumers looking for a sporty looking, powerful and great handling midsize sedan with extra cargo carrying ability, the Mazda6 five-door sedan should be test-driven. © All text and photos by Harvey Schwartz

For more information on Mazda products, go to www.mazda.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2004 Mazda6 five-door Price of vehicle: $24,020.00 with optional 8-way power driver seats, side-airbags/side-curtain airbags, amplifier, subwoofer, two tweeter speakers Engine type: 2.3-liter DOHC, Inline 4-cylinder aluminum block/heads, continuously variable valve timing. Horsepower: 160 at 6,000 rpm Torque: 155 lb.ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission type: five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic with Sport Shift A/T manual mode Front suspension: Independent double-wishbone with coil springs and stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Independent with E-type multi-links, coil springs, stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 17X7 aluminum alloy wheels/P215/50R17 all-season radial tires Brakes: Front: 11.1-in. vented discs Rear: 11.0-in. solid disc with ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution optional with 2.3-liter I-4 Overall length: 186.8 in. Overall width: 70.1 in. Overall height: 56.7 in. Curb weight: 3,166 lbs. EPA mileage: 24 mpg city / 32mpg highway

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