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May 12, 2012 (10:14pm)
MAZDA6 FOR 2006: BETTER LOOKING, BETTER EQUIPPED AND EVEN BETTER TO DRIVE
May 13, 2012
IRVINE, Calif., - The MAZDA6 is one of the hottest mid-sized sports sedans on the market, not to mention one of the most affordable. Strong performance, terrific handling and great style have made it a favorite with consumers seeking both space and sportiness.
For 2006, a great car gets even better.
The exterior design is now sharper and even sportier, while the cabin is more comfortable with even higher levels of craftsmanship. Mechanically, the V6 engine is more tractable and economical, while a new five-speed automatic transmission on the four-cylinder i model delivers better performance and gas mileage. Suspension is retuned for even more dynamic handling, while new larger 18-inch wheels, for improved handling and road holding, are offered as well.
The MAZDA6 is available in three body styles: Sports Sedan, Sport Wagon and 5-Door. It's the most extensive line-up in the mid-size category and all three body styles benefit from the 2006 upgrades.
"The freshening and mechanical improvements will further improve the customer's perception of style and quality," says Eiji Oyama, MAZDA6 vehicle line manager for Mazda North American Operations. "The MAZDA6's unique competitive advantage is its sports-sedan position, and updates for 2006 further emphasize that advantage over the competition. Thanks to three different body styles, and the availability of four-cylinder and V6 engines, manual or automatic transmissions, the car that delivers the sportiest driving experience in its sector is even more desirable."
The MAZDA6 set new standards for performance, driver appeal and styling when it was launched three years ago. As a vehicle that married sports performance with refinement and practicality, it has proved a huge sales success and picked up more than 70 awards for automotive excellence.
There are two MAZDA6 models: the four-cylinder i version and the V6-powered s. Each is available in one of four different packages: entry-level, Sport, Grand Touring and - new for 2006 - Grand Sport. Another new model for 2006 is the entry-level V6-powered s, giving value-conscious buyers the opportunity to drive Mazda's superb V6 engine at the most affordable price ever.
Also new for 2006 is a top-of-the-line MAZDASPEED6 sedan powered by a turbocharged 274-horsepower four-cylinder engine offering all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. (See separate release.)
No other manufacturer offers a more complete lineup of luxury and performance sedans, sport wagons and five-door models in the midsize class.
A GREAT LOOKING CAR NOW LOOKS EVEN SPORTIER
Customers loved the look of the 2005 MAZDA6, so Mazda designers were cautious about making too many changes.
The familiar pointed nose and sharp styling has been accented with a new sport grille on some models and angular new headlamps across the range. The headlamps on the Sport and Grand Sport packages use dark gray bezels. New for 2006 on MAZDA6 s Grand Sport package are High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps for superior illumination and lower maintenance. The front bumper also is new, and helps give even more edge to the styling. Foglamps are incorporated into the front spoiler. New side sills highlight the "hug-the-road" quality of the MAZDA6's style, while a trunk spoiler is standard on Sport and Grand Sport versions.
Revised tail lamps - using black bezels on the Sport and Grand Sport - and a new rear bumper on all models underline the sports-oriented changes. For the first time on a MAZDA6, 18-inch wheels are now available on the s Grand Touring and Grand Sport packages, further improving the sporty appearance and also improving traction and road holding.
With the 2006 model year also come three new exterior colors: Dark Cherry, Bright Island Blue and Tungsten Gray.
CABIN CHANGES: IMPROVED QUALITY, MORE COMFORT, MORE SPORTINESS
The refreshed MAZDA6 sees the inclusion of new front seats on all models for greater comfort and support. Cabin quality also is improved by using new door panels (including door handles), new cloth fabrics and a new center-console design. Auto up/down front power windows with anti-pinch mechanism are standard. The redesigned center console now has a new dark gray surface and uses a separate piano-black radio/CD face with restyled switches. The instrument panel decoration is dark gray.
The sporty interior uses a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, offering tilt and telescopic adjustments along with fingertip cruise and audio controls. Instrumentation includes analog speedometer, tachometer, fuel and engine temperature gauges, as well as a digital readout for the outside air temperature.
Although the MAZDA6 is clearly a driver's car, it provides comfort for five adults. A six-speaker integrated AM/FM/CD sound system is standard on all cars, while upgrades for the entry level and Sport models include an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a cassette deck, an MP3 player or a MiniDisc Player. A 200-watt BOSE® sound system - standard on Grand Touring and Grand Sport models - also is available, comprising an in-dash six-disc CD changer, four 25-watt speakers, a tweeter mounted in the A-pillar of each front door, a 100-watt subwoofer and an amplifier.
The latest in limited voice-command DVD satellite navigation is available, for the first time on any MAZDA6, on the Grand Touring and Grand Sport models.
IMPROVED PERFORMANCE ACROSS THE SERIES
The range-topping 3.0-liter V6 engine has been noted for its strong performance and refinement, and now gets a torque boost from 190 to 199 lb-ft (at 5,000 rpm). The change makes the engine even more tractable and the car easier to drive, and also will improve off- the-line performance. In addition, fuel economy is improved by one mile per gallon on both manual and automatic vehicles. Because of changes to the exhaust system to boost torque, maximum horsepower is reduced slightly from 220 horsepower to 215 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm).
As before, the V6 is mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or six-speed Sport A/T automatic with manual shift. The MAZDA6 is in the only vehicle in the class to be offered with a six-speed automatic transmission. The wide number of ratios improves performance, drivability, smoothness and gas mileage. The tall top gear also improves comfort and quietness on the freeway, while a short first gear gives aggressive off-the-line performance. These are all examples of MAZDA6's sports-first philosophy.
The 2.3-liter four-cylinder (I-4) engine used on the MAZDA6 i models continues as before, producing 160 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 155 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. This highly sophisticated engine is all-aluminum (like the V6 engine), uses double overhead camshafts and 16 valves (for excellent engine breathing and smooth revving). Smoothness and refinement are enhanced by the use of a balance shaft, helping make this four-cylinder engine almost as smooth as a reliable six-cylinder unit.
The 2.3-liter engine is specified with Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) equipment in the four states that require California emissions (NH, Mass., NY and VT). This makes the 2.3-liter engine 90-percent cleaner than the average new car. Evaporative emissions are completely eliminated by re-engineering the exhaust plumbing, repositioning the first catalytic converter and eco-friendly Electronic Control Unit (ECU) programming.
For 2006, i models are available with a new five-speed Sport AT automatic transmission with manual shift mode, replacing the previous four-speed unit. The extra gear ratio improves acceleration, cruising refinement and fuel economy (24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway - which is 1 mpg and 4 mpg respectively better than the 2005 model). Of course the MAZDA6 i also is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Other improvements for the MAZDA6 for 2006 include bigger ventilated front disc brakes - up from 11.1 inches to 11.8 inches - to further cut stopping distances, resist brake fade and improve pedal feel. Solid 11.0 inch disc brakes are used at the rear. As before, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard - to cut stopping distances, allow drivers to steer when braking hard, and to stop skids. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) automatically balances front-to-rear braking forces, irrespective of the vehicle's load. Electronic traction control, which minimizes wheel spin in poor weather or slippery conditions, is standard across the range.
Secondary safety features include Triple-H body construction, which gives superb strength to the unitary construction body, front and rear side door beams, three-point seat belts for all five occupants, dual front airbags, and front and rear whiplash-reducing head restraints. Side airbags and side-curtain bags are standard on all models apart from the entry level i version, on which they're optional.
The keyless entry has remote locking/unlocking, automatic opening and closing of the front windows (a new feature for 2006), a trunk release and a panic button.
FANTASTIC HANDLING AND VERY WELL EQUIPPED
Double wishbone front suspension and 'E' type multi-link rear suspension give the 2006 MAZDA6 superb wheel control for excellent handling and ride. The wide track and standard stabilizer bars reduce roll and improve driver response. A long wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs further improve stability. The power-assisted rack and pinion steering has a very quick ratio - only 2.54 turns lock to lock - to improve handling nimbleness and ensure driver involvement. Yet its variable assistance means it is light and easy to use at parking speed, while firming up at higher speeds to give full feedback from the front wheels to the driver's palms.
EQUIPPED TO MATCH ALL TASTES
The MAZDA6 Sports Sedan is fully equipped no matter which trim level a buyer may choose. Entry i models are equipped with automatic headlight shut off, dual power color-keyed mirrors, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear window defogger, air conditioning, and power windows and door locks. From the outside, i models are recognized by their black mesh grilles and 16" wheels with 205/60R-16 tires.
Sport models include all this equipment and add an eight-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle, side airbags and air curtains, and a perimeter anti-theft alarm. On the outside, 17" alloy wheels with 215/50R-17 tires are fitted, along with a body-color sport grille, fog lights in the lower front bumper, side-sill extensions and a rear wing spoiler.
The i Grand Sport model adds leather trimmed seating, adds a BOSE audio system and electroluminescent gauges. The s Grand Sport is fitted with all features of the i model, as well as HID headlights, automatic climate control and 18" wheels with 215/45R-18 tires.
The i Grand Touring offers a five-speed Sport AT automatic transmission, power moonroof, heated outside mirrors and leather trimmed seats. On s Grand Touring models, a six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission is fitted, as are 18" wheels and tires.
5-DOOR HATCHBACK AND SPORT WAGON ADD VERSATILITY AND MAINTAIN SPORTY SPIRIT
Externally, the MAZDA6 Sport Wagon and 5-Door models differ from each other - and the sedan - only from the B-pillar back. The 5-Door is geared toward customers who want a sports sedan with increased cargo space. The Sport Wagon appeals to those who want even more space and versatility.
All MAZDA6 5-Doors come standard with a Sport Package and all come fitted with a rear wiper/washer. The 5-Door is a far cry from the unattractive design usually associated with hatchbacks. The slope of the 5-Door's roofline to the rear decklid is gradual instead of the typical flat hatch, giving the 5-Door a coupe-like grace.
The rear liftgate opens to reveal a vast covered cargo area with 22.0 cubic feet of space, nearly 50-percent more than the sedan's. Cargo space more than doubles when the rear seats are folded, providing 58.7 cubic feet of space. Rear 60/40 split seats fold with the pull of a lever, and there is no need to remove the head rests for a near-flat cargo floor. The expansive liftgate opening ensures that oddly shaped items, difficult to fit in the trunk of a sedan, can easily be accommodated. Options to stow items in the 5-Door include cargo tie-downs and additional storage available in two hidden compartments located in the side panels.
The MAZDA6 Sport Wagon also has the soul of a sports car, and provides multi-faceted cargo options. It rivals some SUVs with its impressive cargo capacity, but trumps them all with its sporty driving character. The rear compartment boasts 33.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and a generous 60.4 cubic feet when folded. The second-row seats also fold easily with the touch of a lever located near the tailgate. And again, there is no need to remove the headrests for a near-flat load floor. Tie-downs, a retractable cargo cover shade and a barrier-type net that emerges from the floor and attaches to the roof interior, all come standard.
A PACKAGE FOR EVERY APPLICATION
MAZDA6 5-Door models begin with the well equipped i Sport featuring all the appointments of the Sports Sedan i Sport package. MAZDA6 5-Door s Sport models add the V6 engine and automatic climate control, while s Grand Sport ups the ante with HID headlights, 18" wheels and tires, power moonroof, BOSE audio system, leather-trimmed seating and electroluminescent gauges.
MAZDA6 Sport Wagon begins with the s trim, with similar equipment to the Sport Sedan's s Sport package, except with a black mesh grille. Stepping up to the s Sport adds a roof-mounted spoiler, a sport grille, lower side-sill extensions, lower bumper-mounted fog lights and automatic climate control. The s Grand Touring model adds the six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission, 18" wheels and tires and a BOSE sound system. Finally, the s Grand Touring model adds a power moonroof.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information on Mazda vehicles, visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.