Tuesday, October 2, 2007

1000 Mile Road Test of 2007 Mazda 6

2007 Mazda 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I've spent a month now with my new 2007 Mazda 6 and have driven it about 1000 miles. I feel I can comment pretty accurately on the car now, which is pretty exciting. This is my first car review.

Yes loyal readers, I bought a new car. Believe it or not, even as an indie documentary filmmaker and the "Classic Game Room" co-host, I do not get limousine service or have a Trans Am that drives itself. Nope, I gotta shuttle myself, my crap and my dog where I need to go.

Stella the Wonderdog!

So why did I buy a Mazda 6 of all cars? Don't they make those cheap, crappy cars that we used to make fun of? Apparently not! For starters I've been a loyal Nissan driver for about a decade. I've been through a '94 Nissan Maxima, a '98 Infiniti i30 (basically a Maxima) and a 2001 Pathfinder. My favorite was the 94 Maxima, which was awesome. That car ran to 80,000 miles without a single problem. To this day I'm not sure why I traded it in for a used I30 in '99, because the I30 was a complete piece of rubbish in comparison. It drove nice, but once the sunroof broke and electronics started going haywire, that was it for that car.

My 2001 Pathfinder, which was a year old when I bought it in 2002, when gas cost $1.50 a gallon, was a great vehicle with one major flaw. The gas mileage sucked beyond words. And the thing is, I never realized how bad it was until my first fill up when it went about 220 miles on a tank. I don't drive that much so in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a big deal, but still, it's the principle of the matter.

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The shot above is the day my Pathfinder, with 86,500 miles, was traded in for my new Mazda 6 with 70 miles. You can almost see the unhappy face on it (the Pathfinder).

I loved that truck and we went through many adventures together. Plowing through snow with reckless abandon, crushing slush and rain on the PA Turnpike with ease, running the EZ Pass booth and climbing sidewalks in Philadelphia (my wife remembers that day). After 5 years the miles did add up and the maintenance was starting to become an issue. I paid off the truck a few months early and spent the savings on new suspension parts and shocks. The muffler had been replaced. The tires were near the end. And through it all I watched our inept GOP leadership subsidize the oil companies by invading Iraq with taxpayer money (and the American people voted for this!?). Anyway, it was time to go. I hate paying for f%$@ing gas, and the Pathfinder got about 14mpg around town. I'd watch the little mile counter hit 200 around the time the gas light went on and drop nearly $60 on gas.

2007 Mazda 6

I had been searching for cars for a while and wanted another Nissan, they drive really well and for the most part have been reliable cars. I need something pretty big with a lot of storage space, but didn't want another SUV. I drove a 2004 Maxima and hated it. The Infinitis were overpriced, although that G35 coupe looks nice. Regardless, none of their other vehicles fit my needs and most of them get lousy gas mileage.

I test drove Audi A3 and liked it but couldn't figure out why it cost so much (Oh, it's German!), same goes with BMW. Great cars, but the exchange rate adds insult to injury. And again, I didn't want to spend very much on a car. I blew my fortune on beer, dog food and Xbox you know?

I didn't care for the brakes on Acura or Honda, don't like Toyota's styling or handling and couldn't quite afford that Lamborghini. After reading everything out there I ended up considering the Subaru Legacy and the Mazda 6.... the Mazda what? You think they could have named it better. Like the Mazda DESTROYAH.

I actually never really noticed the "6" before, then I started seeing them everywhere. I really like the look of it, especially the newer ones with nice wheels and body styling. I love the hatchback which is kinda like a station wagon. The Mazda dealer brought me over a Mazda 6 to test drive and I was hooked. Firm brakes, great cornering and really nice styling. Nothing fancy, which was fine with me. No sunroof to break. And the price was well below anyting I had considered. Combined with a 0% APR rate, I bought the car.

I've been rambling on and on here with my life story, so I'll get to the review of my 2007 Mazda 6 now that it has 1012 miles on it.

I drive a very short commute, but still need to drive around town. Just 2 days ago I lugged myself, a cameraman and tons of gear to a shoot with ease. The best part about the car is the way it drives. Very tight, great road feel and really firm brakes. The styling is slick in my opinion, and that's all that matters. My wife thinks it is ugly, but even she admits it drives well.

On the negative side the seats are a bit cheap and uncomfortable at first, I'm getting used to them, but they could be much better. I went with cloth because that's all they had in the silver hatchback, and the price stayed nice and lean.

Mazda 6 in the showroom

The stereo is a complete pile of junk. And to make matters worse they make it completely impossible to install a regular DIN style stereo into the car because of the convoluted size and design of the factory stereo. I had a great Alpine in my truck and can't use it. The Mazda iPod adapter is also complete garbage. Its taken me weeks to come up with an alternative stereo and iPod option which is on order.

Lets see, the AC isn't very cold on scorching days and the acceleration off the block was sluggish at first, but has since greatly improved. The acceleration on the highway and around town is outstanding for a 4 banger. I've averaged about 21 MPG around town and hope to see that improve. Haven't taken a road trip yet.

Each tank of gas now gets me 330 miles, and from a much smaller tank.

So that's my review. It's fun, looks great and sounds awful (the stereo, but I'm a stereo snob so take that with a grain of salt). The price was right and it's a great daily driver. Cheers to Mazda for making a great car. Although the black interior is now covered in white dog hair.