Bah, go for the real engine ;-)
http://www.examiner.com/x-2102-Denver-Autos-Examiner~y2009m2d28-2009-Mazda-6i-Review(“i” as in i DIG the Mazda 6i) Corny – no?
All my foolishness aside, I hope to impart to you how fantastic a ride this machine is. Several months back, I reviewed the Mazda 6 with the 272 horsepower 3.7 liter V6 and I truly enjoyed it (http://www.examiner.com/x-2102-Denver-Autos-Examiner~y2008m12d29-2009-Mazda-6-Review).
The Mazda 6i is a very different machine. In many ways, it reminds me of the spunky old Mazda 6. With a peppy 170 horsepower (making 167 lbs feet of torque) 2.5 liter 4-cylinder, the 3258 lbs Mazda 6i is no drag racer – still, this is a rev-happy engine that’s fairly refined. The 5-speed automatic (a 6-speed automatic is for the V6 only) is smooth and mellow with a hint of sporting pretentions. Now, pair that engine to an easy shifting 6-speed manual and you have something.
Cornering, commuting, highway comfort and economy are the Mazda 6i’s forte in that order. Seriously, I did not expect the Mazda 6i to be much of a handler with the 4-cylinder. Driving through the back-roads on the beautiful Lariat Loop, I was pleasantly surprised how much this vehicle is a driver’s machine.
Did I mention it still has snow tires on?
Yup, it’s a real hoot even with heavy Blizzak Snow tires.
Just like its beefier brother, the Mazda 6i is very roomy with a class leading trunk and split (60/40) fold-down rear seats. I consider the cockpit more sport-like than luxury with excellent ergonomics. My heavy 6’2” frame fits easily and my sister’s miniscule 5’1” works just as well. What impresses many is the back seat comfort as this was a major issue with the former Mazda 6.
I know my average 0 to 60 times of about 8 and ½ seconds can be bettered with street happy tires. I hear the automatic is actually a hair faster, but for me that’s about as exciting a prospect as preparing taxes. I mean, if you have a car that has a front end that reminds people of the awesome Mazda RX8, why be boring?
Even the base model Mazda 6i SV comes with several amenities. Starting prices are around 20K with my Mazda 6i Grand Touring tester (complete with leather, sat/nav satellite radio, sun roof, and nice 17inch wheels) coming in at just under $26,000.
All in all, with the competition coming from the 4-cylinder, manual transmission versions of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord EX-L, I feel the only real competition for the Mazda 6i’s is the Honda. In terms of appearance, the Mazda 6 is better looking than the lot.
That’s what it comes down to in my estimation. The overall smooth styling and playful character makes the Mazda 6i a lot more invigorating than the Honda Accord. Don’t get me wrong, the Accord is an excellent, reliable machine – but it is too sedate for me.
If the gods of Mazda are listening, please take this great starting point, add the amazing 263 horsepower, 2.3L Direct-Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbocharged 4-cylinder engine – Ooooh, now that would be SOMETHING. YEEHA!
As is, the Mazda 6i is a great car at a great price.