FUN-TO-DRIVE FAMILY TRANSPORTATION
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 Tue, Dec 6, 2005
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ
Mazda introduces another well-designed configuration for the great Mazda6 platform, the Sport Wagon. This fun to drive four-door wagon can easily take care of all your family and personal needs. You get great Mazda6 styling, a 220 horsepower V6 engine, available six-speed automatic transmission, a sporty, fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes riding on 17-inch wheels and tires. The Mazda6 Sport Wagon is thoroughly modern transportation for a typical family of five, or an active couple or single person. The new Sport Wagon has Mazda's 'Zoom-Zoom-Zoom' driving characteristics, plus a versatile and very functional rear section that has almost as much cargo space as a mid-size sport utility vehicle. Mazda6 styling is seen up front with the signature Mazda grille, jeweled headlamp clusters behind clear lens that seem to be carved into the front bumper, and three big air-intakes below that are protected with a lattice backing. The silhouette is very sleek, with a low front end, a steeply raked windshield A-pillar, and a gently sloping roof that ends with the rear spoiler. Below the beltline are flared fender arches, pull-out door handles, body-side moldings and deep lower side extensions - giving the Mazda6 Sport Wagon a more aggressive stance.
The rear features big, wraparound tail, brake and backup lamps, a dark-tinted fixed rear glass hatch with an indent at the bottom for your hand to grab (to make it easier to close it), and a big rear bumper with dual two-and-one-half-inch polished stainless steel exhaust tips nicely spread out underneath. The new Mazda6 Sport Wagon has the unique Mazda look and the triple-rated zoom to back it up. That extra zoom comes from great Mazda engineering that enables the new Sport Wagon to perform like the Mazda6 sedan, quick and nimble. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine with variable valve timing. This high-output engine cranks out 220 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 192 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. You have a choice of transmissions: A standard, smooth shifting five-speed manual, or an optional six-speed automatic with sequential shifting (arguably, the first six-speed automatic in its class). My test Sport Wagon came with the five-speed manual that is fun to use and helped me get the most from the 220-horsepower engine. This test vehicle was the 'sport' edition. So, besides the five-speed manual, my Sport Wagon came with a sport-tuned suspension. Also available is the 'touring' edition, with the six-speed automatic and a slightly softer-tuned touring suspension.
The unique, fully independent suspension features double-wishbones with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar up front. The rear is an independent E-type multi-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. My test Sport Wagon came with the 'sport' suspension that was tuned with slightly stiffer springs, but giving a smooth ride over poorly paved road surfaces. This sport suspension was a perfect match for the standard power-assisted rack & pinion steering system. I always experienced quick response to my inputs. The front suspension really tracked nicely in and out of turns, and remained rock-steady at highway speeds. The steering wheel has good on-center feel with excellent feedback from the road. Keeping you on track is the traction control system, which keeps wheel spin to a minimum allowing you to maintain control on slick road surfaces. All Mazda6 models ride on 17x7 cast aluminum wheels wrapped with 215/50R17 all-season radial tires. This combination gives excellent traction and a very compliant ride over all types of road surfaces. The brakes are strong, power-assisted steel discs at each corner - 11.1-inch vented discs up front with dual-piston calipers, and 11.0-inch solid discs in the rear with single piston calipers. All Mazda Sport Wagon models come with standard ABS, EBD (electronic brake force distribution) and traction control to enhance safety and control.
Mazda's great engineering and styling is not lost inside. The designers carry the Mazda 'sport' theme inside the roomy and quiet cabin. All four doors open wide, and there are grab handles above all passenger door for easy entry and exit. The doors feature triple-seals to keep both noise and dust out. The sporty front bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive, with leather trim and heated power-assisted side-mirrors optional in the leather package. The dashboard and door trim materials are textured and have a soft touch. The bold, titanium-tone center stack has easy-to-use dials and buttons. Just above is a screen with readouts of the time, radio station selected, outside temperature and compass direction. Just above the screen is a pop-up storage bin that can hold a lot of your favorite items. The tilt and telescoping, leather wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands. This sporty, three-spoke wheel has buttons for the audio system, cruise-control and mute button. The instrument cluster is straight-ahead and easy to see, with amber-glowing lights on the big, chrome ringed 140 mph speedometer, 8,000 rpm tachometer and smaller fuel/engine coolant temperature gauges. Bright LED readouts warn of safety or system problems. A line strip of faux carbon fiber trim runs through the center of the dashboard and adds a sporty look. You'll notice real chrome door handles inside, and a chrome tip at the end of the hand brake. There is storage in the deep and wide closing center console, in the dual cupholders, in each door bottom and in the locking glove box. The rear 60/40 split-folding rear seats feature a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders. The rear cargo section is very roomy: 33.7 cubic feet with the seats up, and 60.4 cubic feet with the seats folded. Each seat folds flat pushing a lever in the rear. The cargo section comes standard with a security cover that lifts-up with the rear hatch, and can be easily disengaged to load tall cargo, a cargo net, four chrome tie-downs, and a woven retractable cargo barrier net that easily attaches to the headliner.
Standard features in the new Mazda Sport Wagon include thick-pile carpeting with floor mats, delayed auto-off headlamps, variable intermittent wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer/defogger, automatic climate control, power windows/door locks, AM-FM stereo radio with CD player and six-speakers, eight-way power adjustable driver seat, magazine pocket behind the driver-side seatback, remote keyless entry, anti-theft alarm and immobilizer, dual map lamps and rear reading lamps with theater dimming. Options include the leather package with heated side mirrors, Bose audio with a 200 watt, and 7-speaker system, and a power moonroof. Standard safety features include front and side airbags up front, five-passenger three-point safety belts with pretensioners/load limiters up front, front and rear crush zones and steel side curtain airbags for the rear, front and rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, LATCH system for car seats and child-proof rear door locks. The new Mazda6 Sport Wagon is the class act of mid-size station wagons, giving you great value for your money. For less than $30,000, the Mazda6 Sport Wagon arguably has the best combination of sporty styling, power, performance, comfort, safety and versatility in the mid-size stationwagon segment of the marketplace. Prices start at just $24,025.00, while our loaded model is priced at $27,260.00, including destination fees.
Â© All photographs and text by Harvey Schwartz For more information on Mazda products, go to www.mazdausa.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be viewed at www.autofotos.com. SPECIFICATIONS Name of Vehicle: Mazda6 Sport Wagon Price of vehicle: $24,205.00 Engine Type: 3.0 liter DOHC V6 Horsepower: 220 at 6,300 rpm Torque: 292 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine, front-wheel-drive Transmission type: 5-speed manual, optional 6-speed automatic Front suspension: Independent double-wishbone, gas-charged shocks, coil springs, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Independent E-type multi-links with gas-charged shocks, coil springs, stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 17x7 aluminum wheels/215/50R17 all-season radials Brakes: Front - 11.1 inches vented discs, dual-piston calipers Rear-11.0 inches solid discs, single-piston calipers Total length: 186.8 in. Total width: 70.1 in. Total height: 56.7 in. Curb weight: M5 - 3,287 lbs A6-3,347 lbs EPA mileage stats: M5 - 19 mpg/city, 26mpg/highway A6 - 21mpg/city, 28mpg/highway