Although Mazda is Japanese and supposed to be reliable, beware. I have a 03 Mazda 6 2.3 sport. Yes I admit it was purchased as a second hand car direct from a Mazda dealership but didn't expect any problems as its a Mazda. Mazda 6 uses oil, and alot of it. The oil warning light doesnt work properly and you will soon find yourself paying in excess of £3500 for a new engine because YOU didnt check your oil, regardless of the fact that certain small parts that are essential to the car, dont work.
My Mazda is a 2006 56 model in which I have done 33k miles in 13 months so I'm pretty familiar with it. I like the engine - it's torquey, free-revving, powerful and quiet, but not the most economical - 41mpg overall from new (my calculation not the stupid trip computer) and it's very sensitive to different fuels - Shell is the current favourite, followed by BP. Don't put supermarket diesel in it or it jerks and hesitates at around 2000-2500 rpm. But it does go well, overtaking on A roads is quick and safe and the car eats hills.
It's roomy and comfortable inside, but largely because everything else is so quiet I find road noise very intrusive. So noisy that you can't hear the indicators at motorway speeds and the radio is useless for music on the move.
The Bose system sounds good when parked, but is poor on the move - the characteristics of the sound system are not matched to the car. The volume control increments are too great - 9 too quiet, 10 too loud.
Handling is excellent, ride good, but the steering is too light and feels dead. I love the leather electric drivers seat, but the heater is dreadful - makes lots of blowing noise but hardly any heat for ages - and in winter it mists up a cold screen and takes ages to clear. Worst of all is the lights - they are dismal, patchy, dim, dangerous. Wish I'd bought the sport model with Xenon lights.
I won't be buying another, it's very reliable but too many niggles and no character.
Four years of ownership, 125,000 miles. Engine failed, first turbo then big ends and valves. Needing complete replacement. Fortunately the lease company picked up the bill for the turbo, and wrote it off for the second (£5K).
Car was very reliable, once fuel pump replaced. An electric window motor failed, and the heating system failed once (computer glitch reset itself). Alloys were replaced under warranty (too much salt c.f. Japan). Paint was very soft - scratched easily and rust was showing in the engine bay at the end. Headlamps kept blowing bulbs and the auto-leveling motor failed too.
Grey interior was not a great place to be, with easly scratched plastics - they've changed to dark now, although the seats were very comfortable and alcantara is warm in the cold and cold in the warm. Great space in the back, I'm 5'10" and had no complaints. Boot deceptively large and easy to sit on when changing wellies.
But the drive... excellent, haven't driven cars this big that handled this well. The diesel engine returned about 43mpg and was more like a petrol in character (needed 2nd gear for roundabouts). Only downside was the road noise from the tyres on motorways.
Buy one, you'll like it - just don't expect high miles from the diesel engine - or exclusivity. I had the first in our car park. Now they are everywhere!
An excellent compromise if you're looking for a practical and spacious family estate but you still want to enjoy your driving. Handling and feedback are excellent, with none of the pendulum effect sometimes felt at the back end of big estates.
Specification is incredible for the money, as seems to be the norm with Japanese manufacturers. Only recurring issues experienced in three years have been warping brake discs and blocked washer jets.
Fuel consumption is a bit high but with that eager, torquey engine and an equally eager driver, it's very easy to find yourself enjoying the upper end of the rev range. Long motorway stints are despatched without fuss and large loads easily carried with less effect on handling than some other vehicles I've tried.
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