2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Sport Wagon – Test drive and new car review – 2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Sport Wagon

18 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Sport Wagon – Test drive and new car review – 2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Sport Wagon
Mazda 6

2006 Mazda 6 S Grand Touring Wagon Test Drive

Is the family station wagon making a comeback? I hope so — I’ve got fond memories of our old wagons. The 2006 Mazda6 S Grand Sport Wagon is poised to create some memories of its own.

With a base price of $27,910 ($28,570 as tested with CA/NY Emissions and Delivery Fee), the 2006 Mazda6 S Grand Sport Wagon carries a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty and a 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway EPA fuel economy estimate. Let’s throw some junk in the back of the 2006 Mazda6 S Grand Sport Wagon and go for a drive.

First glance: The mid-size with a sleek compact look

With globalization taking hold in the car business, design is one of the few ways that a car company can retain any brand identity. Mazda has done a great job at forging a look. The Mazda6 Wagon carries it off in style.

The Mazda look is slightly anthropomorphic to my eye – I can’t help but see a cheery face in the 6’s front facade. The corporate snout is a slightly bulbous one, with a big wide grin and impish high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps with multiple projectors. Along the body, a rising belt line makes for an assertive, forward leaning shape, with smaller rear windows than front.

18 alloy wheels sparkle in the big wheel wells. Like the Subaru wagons, the Mazda’s tailgate slopes toward the front of the car, giving the impression of aerodynamic sleekness and leaving a rounded, teardrop profile. Large wrap-around taillights provide good visibility from the rear, and a jaunty little visor crowns the rear gate.

Though it is a midsize wagon, the 6 retains a compact look as it glides by.

I’m not a big fan of body side molding – parking lot protectors – stuck to the doors of cars, but I understand their function. The 6 has moldings on each side, and they are unsightly on an otherwise clean design.

Continued below.

In the Driver’s Seat: Plenty of room for Big J

Mazda 6 wagon is comfortable and quite enjoyable to drive

#169; Jason Fogelson

Some cars really fit right — the Mazda6 is a perfect fit for my beefy 6’2 frame. The leather-trimmed driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive, with a great set of adjustments and built-in electric heat. The tilt and telescope steering wheel adjustments make finding the right performance driving position easy.

The substantial shift knob falls easily to hand in the center console.

As a midsize wagon, the 6 doesn’t have a lot of room in the back seat. Three adults will fit, but not for long. There’s no way back seat, as we used to call the third row in my day. But there is a very useful cargo compartment, behind the back seat, and it’s a breeze to fold down the 60/40 split second row to create a cavernous space, at least by mid-size wagon standards.

With the second row up, cargo volume is 33.7 cubic feet; with the second row folded, cargo volume is 60.5 cubic feet. That’s a lot of groceries. Forget about getting a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood in the 6, but you can squeeze a pair of bicycles in if you have to.

Mazda 6

The dash is modern and straightforward, with a circle motif dominating. Big round gauges sit above the steering wheel, round air vents and rotary climate controls balance out the center stack. It’s functional and attractive.

On the Road: A wagon with sporting aspirations

The last station wagon my parents owned was a 1976 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. It was gigantic, with a 127 wheelbase, room for a gaggle of kids in three rows of seating, and a 455 cubic inch V8 under the hood. Woohoo! The Custom Cruiser was a hoot to drive, and so is the Mazda6 — in a completely different way.

The 6 has sporting ambition. It handles very well, between its four-wheel independent suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and traction control system. Under the hood, the 3.0 liter 24-valve V6 cranks out 215 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, modest output in today’s horsepower war, but enough for some fun.

The 6’s five-speed manual transmission is slick and direct, connected to a light, easy to manage clutch. Weighing in at 3404 lbs, the 6 is a little on the heavy side, but carries its weight nicely, as they used to say about Jackie Gleason.

The level of standard equipment on the 6 S Grand Sport package approaches luxury levels. Leather seating, power moonroof, 6 CD Bose stereo with optional ($430) Sirius Satellite capability, power windows and door locks, front side air bags and side curtain airbags. A navigation system is a $2,000 option — I wouldn’t buy a new car without one.

Journey’s End:

Not the roomiest wagon, but what space it has is well-used

If you choose a Mazda6 S Grand Sport Wagon, you’ll get a lot for your money. Hopefully, you’ll be able to afford a few trips with your kids so that they’ll have some great memories of family togetherness. Ah, to hear my dad yell I’ll pull this car over if you kids don’t pipe down again.

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