2010 Mazda6 Sedan and 2010 Mazda CX-9: No Identity Problems Here

5 Jul 2010 | 2,405 views | No Comment
Consistency and a solid brand identity are crucial these days for survival in the auto industry. Arguably one of the car companies that does the best job of knowing themselves and their image well, is Mazda. Everybody knows it’s the “zoom zoom” brand, and little kids can be heard humming the theme. From its Mazda5 minivan to the CX-9, each is imbued with  a sense of sporty affordability and a strong sense of individuality in styling and content. They are what they are, and thank goodness for that, in a market of lookalike, drive-alike transportation. 2010 mazda 6 Our first model was the Mazda6, a svelte, powerful family sedan that has some of the boldest styling on the market. Mazda6 has always been a terrific car, but  until this generation came along, they didn’t sell in numbers rivaling the top family sedan brands. That, we believe, has changed. We saw new Mazda6 sedans all over the place while we test drove ours, and we think we know why. First, the sedan is larger and much roomier than the last generation Mazda6; thus, it competes quite well with the family class leaders. We found plenty of stretch-out room front and back, with a sporty dash that flashes a friendly “Hello”: when you get into the car. Secondly, the styling update speaks well for the brand. It has a very aggressive front end--and given the power behind the car, this isn’t without merit.  You’ll be reminded of many much more expensive sedans when you see the sloping roof, and the full wheel cutouts on the car. But a bit of advice here: This is one cool looking sedan, and yu want to see every curve and detail. Go for red, silver or some other brighter shade.  Ours was dark blue, and though it was pretty, it didn’t really show off the terrific styling to the best effect. Our test car had the 3.7 liter 272 horsepower V-6, which responds instantly as soon as you hit the pedal.  The action is accompanied by pleasant, throaty sounds coming from the exhaust  system. Edmunds.Com, the respected auto website, says their test car hit 60 in only 6.5 seconds, and we believe them after our experience. We did think the engine was a bit thirsty, and the rating was 17/25, so if fuel economy is what you’re after, we strongly suggest you look at the 170 horsepower four which has ratings of 21/30 -- a significant difference from the V-6. Inside, the car is reasonably luxurious, but the interior design, which is only a year or two old, already could use some better, more striking materials. In the year or so since the newest Mazda6 came on the market, Ford’s Fusion, Mercury Milan, and now the striking Hyundai Sonata have moved the family car interior design bar further, and the Sonata especially is giving everybody a run for their money. Unfortunately, the Mazda6 interior comes off  looking a bit too sedate to anyone who’s seen Sonata’s newest model. Thus, a year or so after introduction, the newest Mazda6 could use   some updates to stay competitive. Handling is the Mazda6’s forte. We have yet to find a family sedan that can even approach the dazzle and brawn of the Mazda6. It really is a leader when it comes to sportiness, acceleration and overall fun to drive factors in the mid-sized car segment. The Mazda6 corners like a bobsled, and the brakes are both powerful and excellent. And while we are talking about a safety related part of the car, you’ll be happy to know that the Mazda6 got top ratings for frontal and side impact protection. All told, you would be wise to put the Mazda6 on your shopping list: Prices start at about  $18,600. Next up is Mazda’s CX-9 crossover, clearly one of the prettiest crossovers on the market these days, the CX-9 comers off as an elegant, more daring car than most of the competition, and, in terms of choice of materials and interior presentation, it’s quietly contemporary, definitely more Asian, and easier to live with than other crossovers we’ve driven. 2010 mazda cx9 There are graceful sweeping arcs of wood on the interior door panel, and the instrument panel has a clean, sporty look to it. The car has nice reddish orange numbers against a black background, which of course, shouts sportiness loud and clear. Controls for many things such as Blue Tooth, audio and other needs are conveniently located on the spokes of the steering wheel. But the CX-9 is still a Mazda, and that means sporty driving. This is where you see that the coherent sense of self that Mazda possesses clearly shows, and the car is lots of fun to drive as a result. The suspension tuning in particular is definitely sporty, but you never get the sense that the car has an unsettling ride. It always maintains its composure no matter what. Power comes from 273 horsepower 3.7 liter V-6 teamed to a six speed automatic, and the mileage ratings are 15/21 to 16/22 miles per gallon. The only challenge we encountered was using the third row seat. Mazda has one of the better systems for getting back there, but some of our older friends, and some of our children found it to be a bit tough to operate from time to time. Room, however, and comfort back there are still a notch up from other crossovers, once you get settled. The CX-9 comes in front wheel drive and all wheel drive, and standard equipment is generous, including all power accessories, aluminum wheels, variable speed intermittent wipers, a nice audio system, leather steering wheel, traction control and electronic stability control, and plenty of other items. Prices start at $28,635 and top out at $34,045.

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