2009 Mazda6 is Zoom-zoom evolved

Despite building a very good midsize sedan, Mazda knew it needed to undertake a significant model makeover in order to keep up with the “Joneses” of the CD-segment, namely Accord and Camry. With the new 2009 Mazda6 it has done that and more.

Their mantra? Zoom-zoom evolution.

From the beginning Mazda knew it had three key areas to improve on before it would be ready to release a new model: Quality, power and size. These were areas where midsize buyers had been rejecting the current Mazda6 in favor of the competition.

And Mazda is so proud of its accomplishments in the new car that during the recent press launch in California, the company brought out some of its key competitors’ vehicles for us to test the ’09 6 against, most notably the Honda and Toyota products as well as the Nissan Altima.

The makeover is so complete that the only item carried over from the first-generation Mazda6 is the firewall panel, nothing else. Body panels, engine, transmission, suspension, steering, interior – it’s all new.

For 2009, Mazda will concentrate on one body configuration only – no coupe, wagon or five-door models as some of the competition offers in this segment. The new Mazda6 offers the best of what the others produce and it will arrive in one basic body.

Following a day of testing all iterations of four- and six-cylinder Mazdas against the same from the segment leaders we believe that Mazda has succeeded in these endeavors.

This new car features impressive quality, more power and just the right size for the midsize sedan segment. Initial Quality Score improvements are targeted at a 65 percent improvement to lead the segment and the new V-6 offers class-leading power while the new Mazda6 is larger than Altima and the new Chevy Malibu.

The 2009 Mazda6 will be offered in three trim levels across two-powertrain platforms. Their new 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder and 3.7-liter V-6 engines are both offered across the sport, touring and grand touring packages. The four can be mated to either six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions with the six backed solely by a six-speed automatic gearbox, and all variants are front-wheel-drive.

Walking up to the new 6 you are immediately drawn to its muscular stance up front with a long hood/short trunk design that have it looking “fast forward” even while sitting still. Sure there are some familiar design elements depending on which angle you view the Mazda from, but all work well together to combine for an attractive, modern package that won’t leave drivers embarrassed to say they drive a midsize sedan.

Stomp the accelerator and the Mazda6 springs to life, willing to offer a smooth, enjoyable driving experience whether just running to the store or taking that road trip you’ve been planning for some time now.

Mazda6 seats up to five and offers class-leading combined front and rear seat legroom while not cramping rear passenger headroom. And the trunk offers plenty of space for luggage or groceries.

By the numbers, the 2009 Mazda6 I-4 offers 170hp with EPA estimates of 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The six-cylinder cars produce 272 ponies achieving 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

Pricing begins at $18,550 and goes to $28,260 base MSRP for the loaded V-6 car.

The CD-sized segment accounts for some two million unit sales each year and Mazda is on track to take a much bigger bite of that pie with the improvements made to this new Mazda6.

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