Driver's car that's practical and reliable
By Save The Manuals! on Monday, June 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Fun, very reliable, practical, manual available"
Cons: "road noise, factory tires lack grip"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my Mazda 6i Sport new in 2009. I needed a roomy, reliable, affordable, and relatively efficient car, but being an enthusiast, I refused to buy an automatic or anything that wasn't fun to drive. The 6 fit the bill. It's neither fast nor underpowered, but the chassis loves a good twisty road workout, especially with good tires. The factory 16" tires were apparently designed for low rolling resistance and do not have the grip to do justice to the chassis. 18" aftermarket wheels and UHP tires make a huge difference. The body doesn't roll much, the steering is direct, and the car responds to throttle adjustments. The shifter is direct with light but positive throws, and snicks through the gears with little effort. The ratios are close and somewhat short--great for enthusiastic driving, but I wonder if a taller 6th gear would improve highway mileage. 3000-4000 RPM on the highway does mean I don't often have to downshift, and the engine is smooth enough that it's not intrusive.
At 6'2", I have plenty of room, and can comfortably fit in the back without moving the driver's seat forward. Controls are well laid out, and the seats are supportive and comfortable, even on 500-600+ mile days. The car has been extremely reliable: Besides normal maintenance, very little has gone wrong:
-The low beam headlight bulbs burn out more quickly than I'd expect, and are a pain to change (you have to remove a panel and reach up through the wheel well; you can only access the high beams through the hood).
-I had to replace the clutch pedal assembly to get rid of an annoying squeak, but the clutch itself still works well.
-I had a few rattles fixed when the car was under warranty.
Besides normal maintenance, that's it; nothing else has gone wrong in over 100,000 miles.
Here are the other downsides to the car:
-As another commenter mentioned, the air vents tend to blow warm air when the air conditioner is off. I often put the windows down when the outside air is in the upper 50s. The A/C itself could be stronger, but given enough time, it does make the cabin comfortable when it's hot outside. Also, it would be nice to have vents for the back seat passengers.
-There's a fair amount of road noise, which becomes intrusive on textured pavement. There's very little wind noise and the engine is fairly quiet.
-More power would be appreciated, especially with a load and/or at higher altitudes. It feels fairly quick in 1st and 2nd gears and adequate in most situations. The engine isn't particularly special; it doesn't rev quickly or sound great, although it's fine for a family sedan.
-Gas mileage ratings are considerably lower than some new cars in its class. If memory serves, it was rated at 20/29 city/highway. I usually see 26-28 in mixed driving and 30-32 with mostly highway driving. With mostly in-town, short trips, it's usually 24-26.
Overall, I'd highly recommend this car to buyers looking for a sports sedan without German prices and ownership costs, or for anyone looking at mid-sized sedans. Six years in, people still occasionally comment on the styling, and some think it's a new car. I didn't buy it for the looks, but it doesn't hurt that it's aging gracefully."
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