- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

According to insiders, the Mazda 6 sport sedan may well be the best car ever built by Mazda at least in the sedan category.
Two engines are available as motivation: the Mazda 6i draws its power from a 2.3-liter, inline four-cylinder with 160 horsepower, while the Mazda 6 moves down the road courtesy of a 3.0-liter V-6 that pumps out 220 horses and 192 foot-pounds of torque.
The V-6, by the way, gets better fuel economy along with the power boost.
Available transmissions include a five-speed manual as standard, or a five-speed automatic with a manual shift mode, both gearing power to the front wheels.
In terms of its appearance, the Mazda 6 is true to its "Zoom, Zoom" heritage.
It projects a sleek image even when standing still with its 0.3 drag coefficient.
It blends sexy curves with bold character lines, standing with a forward raked attitude over substantial wheels and tires even more substantial when equipped with the desirable Sport Package.
Leading the way is the familiar "winged M" logo, centered in the mesh-effect grille base and fog lamps that are integrated into the headlamp assembly.
The Sport package adds other go-fast-look features such as a front air dam; side-sill extensions, a rear apron and rear deck-lid spoiler.
The Mazda 6 is available in eight exterior colors and three interior colors.
Moving to the inside, the new 6 emphasizes user friendliness with sensible gauge and control layout in a "T" configuration knobs are of the large, round persuasion and are easy to operate.
The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel adds to a sporty interior flair.
Taking care of safety considerations are dual front "smart" air bags; optional front seat-mounted side impact air bags; optional dual front and rear side air curtains; and anti-whiplash front seats.
The Mazda 6 belies its four-door sedan structure, coming across more like a really accommodating coupe with a seriously sporty stance and handling attributes. The V-6 offers plenty of punch, but is vocal in doing so the sound is authoritative when prodded, and some will find it pleasant, while others may feel it a bit intrusive.
Handling is agile, and the ride quality on the firm side, but not offensive.
There is no specialized suspension tuning for the 6 the controlled ride comes as standard.
The 60/40 split rear seat back allows for additional cargo capacity as required, by simply folding down to form a flat surface.
Convenient storage features abound in the 6 there's even molded cup or water bottle holders in the door pockets to supplement the other receptacles found in the center console and fold-down, rear-center armrest.
The air-conditioning system includes a pollen filter as standard and rear-seat heater ducts.
The new Mazda 6 provides safety, security and fun in a reasonably priced and exceptionally attractive package.

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