By KBB.com Editors
The most horrible day in a driving enthusiast's life is when he or she realizes it's time to trade-in the beloved coupe for a traditional family sedan. Few companies understand this angst better than Mazda, which is why it created a fun-to-drive four-door family sedan with racy good looks and a budget-friendly price tag. The 2008 Mazda MAZDA6 is in the same market category as the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry, but offers a much more flavorful driving experience, not to mention a wide and varied lineup that includes a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. Although not as roomy inside or as large outside as the Camry, the MAZDA6 is a more satisfying daily driver, with more than enough room to accommodate a family of four.
If you need the practicality of a midsize sedan, but you'd really like the driving involvement and performance characteristics of something with more personality, the 2008 Mazda MAZDA6 makes for the perfect compromise.
For 2008, a tire-pressure monitoring system is made standard, while Touring trims receive a Bose audio system and the i Sport models receive new 17-inch alloy wheels. Sadly, the wagon model has been dropped from the line up.
Driving Impressions The thoughtful ergonomics of the MAZDA6's interior, with the tilt and telescoping steering wheel, multiplicity of seat adjustments and variable lumbar support, make finding a comfortable driving position quite easy....Once settled behind the wheel, you can enjoy the exceptional driving experience. The MAZDA6 turns into corners with the level of response and precision you would expect from the best sports sedans; this is the kind of car that can have you searching for the long way home. The rear suspension is what Mazda calls "E-Type" and, in addition to contributing to the excellent handling, it also eliminates the conventional rear strut towers that intrude into the cargo areas of other designs.
Smart Hatchback Design
The five-door's clever design offers the functionality of a hatchback with the profile of a sedan.
Standard Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel
We appreciated the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls.
As is becoming typical of Mazda products, the interior appearance, functionality and quality of materials is quite good. The door panels alone are lessons in design and assembly precision, with overlapping shades, differing textures and fabrics and tasteful chrome. The instrument panel is highlighted by a wide center stack, with a nickel finish, that contains the large knobs for the audio and climate functions. A narrow readout atop the dash displays information for the sound system, CD and outside temperature. The instrument cluster is composed of an oversized speedometer and tachometer flanked by the fuel and temperature gauges, all backlit in a constantly glowing, easy-to-read deep red light.Exterior
The sleek MAZDA6 stands in stark contrast with the rest of the midsize family sedan field. Its sensuous body shape, striking 17-inch alloy wheels and prominent grille make a definite performance statement. The five-door models add versatility without interfering with the car's attractive appearance, disguising the hatchback so that it appears to be a conventional rear window and trunk lid.
The MAZDA6 i is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission, and includes air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, front and rear cup holders, tire pressure monitor, rear defroster, illuminated keyless entry, cruise control, power windows, auto-off headlamps, dual power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, split-folding rear seat, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls and 17-inch wheels. Choose the MAZDA6 s and receive a potent V6 engine, a six-speed manual transmission (Sport only) and some other features. Grand Touring models include automatic climate control, automatic transmission, leather seating, heated front seats and a 200-watt Bose audio system with a six-disc MP3-compatible CD changer, subwoofer and seven speakers.
Options vary by trim level and include an in-dash six-disc CD changer, power glass moonroof, heated mirrors, fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, a rear spoiler and several other packaged and individual features. An option exclusive to the Grand Touring is Mazda's voice-activated navigation system.
Considering its modest displacement, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine of the MAZDA6 i is a strong performer, but only when operating in the higher engine speed ranges. Fuel economy and a lower price are the primary reasons to choose the four-cylinder alternative. Enthusiasts will want the 3.0-liter V6, which features improved low-end torque, more power and a smooth, quick response. The V6 can also be matched with the slick-shifting five-speed manual, an uncommon feature among V6 sedans in this market segment.
2.3-liter in-line 4
156 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
154 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 21/28 (automatic)
212 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
197 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (manual), 18/25 (automatic)
By tessiebob on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 111,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles great"
Cons: "Parrts can be expensive/ unnecesssary wheel locks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the best car we have ever had. It drives great and holds plenty of stuff. The leather seats have held up well. It has lots of power and looks pretty sharp for a wagon."
By JC on Friday, September 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought the car new and it has been the single most fun, reliable, and good looking car I have owned. Go with the S it has a 6 cylinder and I found my leather seats are much more comfortable than cloth. If you arent heavy on accelerator you will get great MPG!"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By JP on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks sporty. And... that's about it."
Cons: "Poor gas mileage, maneuvers awkwardly"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"We purchased this car used because my wife thought it was 'sporty'. While it has a respectable kick to it when you press on the gas, overall it is a truly disappointing car. The cockpit is small, with your knees constantly banging against the steering column, and the cloth seats simply uncomfortable. Long drives not recommended in this car! Equally disappointing are the following: - Gas mileage. While it boasts a 'combined' 24 MPG rating, with a 15 gallon tank, one should be able to drive much more than 360-370 miles. The truth is, 24 MPG is the norm, and woe be unto you if you are driving it in the city! - Turn circumference: Don't try and do a U-Turn on a two lane street. You will have to back up and crank the wheel to the left again, or drive up on the curve. Tanks have a better turn ratio than this. - A 2007 WITHOUT a USB/MP3 port? SERIOUSLY? - Space: the trunk is long, but not deep, so fits very little. Moreover, using the back seats for storage is equally disappointing with large objects. I actually had to use my father's Ford C-Max to move because that compact car could actually carry MORE. -Desperately needs a 6th gear. If nothing else, it would help the gas mileage. Overall, completely disappointing, and now that paid off, I am getting rid of it ASAP."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Kris K on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "No major mechanical problems. Still going strong"
Cons: "cheap interior build. CHEAP interior build!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I have owned this car since it has been new. Had a slight jerk changing gears from day 1. Dealer could never duplicate. 8 years later and I thought the tranny was going to go. Jerked really hard between 2 and 3. Had to drive in manual mode to control shock. 3 years later a indicator light came on to check throttle body. Cleaned and the car drives pretty smooth again. Mazda had a service bulletin on this and I am frustrated it took so long to diagnose. Interior falling apart. Headliner, glove box clip, ect.... Has been reliable though. Never left me stranded and still looks fairly new."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Birdman on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 151,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great to drive, good power & brakes and handling"
Cons: "Reliability of engine, so-so interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Handling, ride, power, amenities are all excellent, especially for the price. May be the best handling front drive car I have ever owned. Body style is good, interior quality is just OK. Only problem I have with this car is the V6 Ford engine it came with - makes good power (220HP) has excellent throttle response, but I don't see the engine lasting 250,000 miles like other Mazdas I have owned."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Lady Raspberri on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,111overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, acceleration is excellent."
Cons: "Cupholders could be a little larger."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am the 2nd owner of this vehicle. I love the rack n pinion handling on curves, in inclement weather (heavy rain and snow). I like the gas mileage...that's great. I like the look of my sporty model and fantastic paint job with little silver flecks. Never owned a Madza before, but I would probably another one."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful