"I bought my NEW 2004 Mazda 6S the last week of Jan 2005. I got a great deal on it since it was a previous model year still on the lot. Paid ~$5700 below sticker.
Overall, I really love this car, but I'll start with the cons just to lay them out.
Cons: I have the 3.0L V6. It's more sluggish than I'd expect from a 6-cyl. The low end torque just isn't there. The gear ratios for 4th and 5th aren't where I'd like them either. I usually skip 4th because it's not much use. 5th should bring the RPMs down farther at highway speeds... cranking >3500 at 60mph.
Pros: The 5-speed is really fun to drive. Like most Mazdas, the engine really likes higher RPM's. Great pickup with RPM's 2500+. Tight steering and nice engine tone really make the car feel like it has more under the hood than it really does. The Bose stereo is decent. Leather seats are really comfortable. The car has been really solid. No problems to speak of aside from a squeak in the clutch & brake pedal that was fixed under warranty (degraded brake fluid TSB). The engine compartment is laid out well so it's fairly easy to maintain. My Mazda6 is silver with tinted windows and sports package w/spoiler. Looks great.
If you want a reasonably-priced, fun-to-drive, anti-Accord sedan with Zoom-Zoom and room for the family too, this is the car for you."
Pros: "Fun to drive, sporty, reliable, good value."
Cons: "6 cylinder V6 has cooling issues on rear side."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been very reliable over the 13 years I have owned it. The only engineering flaw I found is that the engine is mounted transversely in a small engine compartment and rear spark plugs are not easily servicable. The heat on the rear side of the engine has caused a few of the coils on the spark plugs to fail causing a reduction in power. Fortunately, 5 cylinders still would work and get you through to the repair shop, but the repair is costly since they need to remove the valve covers to get to the rear facing spark plugs (and rear facing coils). Overall though, the transmission (manual) and clutch has been flawless. The electrics have only had minor issues (cooling fan heat sensor issue). The suspension has had no issues in 13 yrs. Tires last from 30 to 45000 miles depending on rubber softness you like. There is some road noise but it isn't too objectionable. On the pro side, the car handles very well and predictably with great cornering ability and little body roll. I've replaced the front brake pads only once and the rear pads are original (pretty long lasting). I would highly recommend Mazda as they seem to make quality durable vehicles. This is my second Mazda and my family owns three at this point. I am probably going to buy a new Mazda since this one has been pretty good."
"I bought this car 3 years ago used and it has been very dependable. I went shopping to find a new car last week for my wife and when I came home and saw my blue mazda6s (With the spoiler of course) i thought "Man the new cars just dont look as cool as this car". I would definatly buy this car again. Not sure what im going to buy someday when mine dies.... nothing compares."
Cons: "Could use a little more room in the back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This was my first "New" car got it with 12k on it in 2007, It has taken me to Texas several times as well as several trips to New Mexico never a single issue and decent on gas! Never thought I would fit in a mid size car as I am 6 foot 7 but it is very comfortable, it is at 78k miles now and I have yet to do ANY major repairs save for a small factory recall. Resale is good!"
Cons: "Gas mileage could be better, LARGE turning radius"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Every time I am about to say goodbye to a car I like to do an "exit interview" to evaluate my time with my vehicle. For the majority of the years I've owned my Mazda6, my daily commute was a little over 2 hours roundtrip, mostly city driving. In the 6 years I've owned this car, it has been very good to me. Never had a single mechanical problem. Of course, I was pretty on top of my routine maintainence, as anyone should be, but I have very little to complain about this car.
I like to get the bad stuff out of the way first. The gas mileage could've been better. This is the main reason I am saying goodbye to this car. I averaged about 20 mpg and with an 18 gallon tank, it really sucked money out of my wallet every week to fill up. Mine was just a 4-cylinder and I expected better gas mileage. My other complaint is the turning radius. I was forewarned about it prior to buying it, but it really was a nuisance sometimes. Can't make a U-turn at an intersection without going into 3 lanes of traffic. This car also made parallel parking impossible. Other than those two things, I have nothing but good things to say about the car.
I'm going to just gloss over the good things since there are so many. The looks and styling have aged very well. In 2014 the 3rd generation Mazda6 will be arriving but the 1st generation Mazda6 still looks sharp to this day. Long daily commutes have proven that the seats are more than comfortable enough and are very supportive. The interior is pretty spacious, though it feels closer to a compact car than a midsize by today's standards, which to be quite honest, is fine with me. One more thing I thought stood out was the quality of the stereo. The speakers and cd player are phenomenal, especially considering it's factory installed (and is not the BOSE stereo).
All in all this was a great car that got me through the majority of my 20's. I can't say the same for all of my cars but I will be sad when I say goodbye to this car for good (which is mere days from now at the time of this writing). Mazda has been making exceptional products within the last ten years and I can't recommend this car or the company highly enough!"