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 Rich on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gets me from point A to Point B"
Cons: "Will it get you from A to B?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Will never even consider Mazda again as my car of choice. No one should have to worry about what might go wrong next every time they drive their car. I owned a Honda Accord for 17 years and no matter how cold the day, it would always turn over right away. I've owned the 2004 Mazda6 for 2 years and you would think with all of the cranking I should just take it out back to put it out of its misery. Have already had to replace the transmission. Seat fabric already ripping. Rust on wheel wells. Headlights and wiring unreliable and expensive to replace. Headlights should be a simple job, but its basically something a shop has to do for you."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By JoJo on Friday, November 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "the style, roomy, can sleep in the seats so comfy"
Cons: "ash tray, lighter, place for trash bin"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Three things that I thought didn't stand up to par were the steering is not as sharp as it could be, the exhaust rusted out before it should have, and (not sure what it's called) the clip-piece that the computer reads when you shift into park...shortly after I purchased the car, it went bad, it may have been going bad before my purchase, to find out many of the mazda6's have the same issue, tried to find recall info, none, so I just start it in neutral as does everyone else with the same problem. :)"
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By 2Timz on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "appearance, HP, MPG, dual exhausts, sport package"
Cons: "no back air vents (at least in mine - 2003)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I drive a 2003 Mazda6s and seriously fell in love with this car due to quick acceleration, slick appearance, and overall value. I can't get another car besides the Mazda line now. Take one for a test drive and you'll see what I mean... Zoom-Zoom. I really push my car to the limit so I get about 17mpg, but when I drive easy I get about 26mpg (remember V6)."
9 people out of 19 found this review helpful
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."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
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!"
12 people out of 22 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."
5 people out of 13 found this review helpful