2009 Mazda6 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • All-new, second-generation Mazda6

  • Sedan body style only for North America

  • Larger dimensions, with a quieter and more comfortable ride

  • New engines offer greater power and better efficiency

  • High level of standard safety equipment

  • On sale late summer 2008


Mazda's Zoom-Zoom initiative was originally embodied in the first-generation Mazda6 that rolled off the assembly line initially in February 2002. For Mazda Motor Corporation it was a success, as global production of the Mazda6 (known as the Atenza in Japan) reached one million units in just four years and one month-the fastest sales pace ever recorded for a Mazda model. Six years after its first introduction, Mazda is turning on the spotlight for an all-new replacement-the larger, more powerful, safer, and more efficient 2009 Mazda6. This is the third new model specifically developed for the North American market by Mazda, and has been designed to compete in a tough midsize sedan segment that includes the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, all-new Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion. According to Jim O'Sullivan, Mazda president and CEO, "This is the most important new vehicle Mazda has launched in a decade." The Mazda6 will continue to be produced at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.


The 2009 Mazda6 will be introduced solely as a 4-door sports sedan for now, with three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. According to Mazda, the new exterior design "cleverly combines two seemingly contradicting ideas of strength and delicate grace. while inheriting the �athletic' design that was key to the signature Mazda look of the previous model." By athletic, we mean pronounced fender flares that closely mimic both the CX-7 and CX-9 crossover vehicles, as well as the sporty RX-8. The body is larger and the rear taillights and big inset dual exhaust ports are trapezoidal.No interior photos have been released of the pre-production model, but take a look at the interiors of the aforementioned crossovers: You can expect much of the same for the new sedan.


The 2009 Mazda6 will be offered with both 4- and 6-cylinder powerplants. 2008 Mazda6 models are powered by a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 156 hp. For 2009, that engine will be replaced by an all-new MZR 2.5-liter engine offering more power and better fuel economy than its predecessor. Horsepower of the new engine is expected to be higher, and the torque will be improved to offer more linear acceleration. The V-6 is a 3.7-liter engine, the same as found in the CX-7, and if Mazda keeps the same output numbers, expect 273 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Those numbers best the Accord, Camry, Malibu and Fusion, along with many other models in the midsize sedan segment. The 4-cylinder engine will be offered with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission, both with manual shift mode. The V-6 engine will be coupled with the 6-speed transmission only.Suspension and braking systems have been upgraded and improved on the new Mazda6. The double-wishbone front suspension now features 6-point mounting for improved steering feel, Mazda says. The multi-link rear suspension has been recalibrated to reduce tail-lift under braking, increasing responsiveness, the company adds. The improvements, according to Mazda, enhance vehicle stability and ride comfort. The front disc brakes have been increased in diameter for better braking power, and the master cylinder increased in size for improved brake action. Mazda boasts that the measured stopping distances for the 2009 Mazda6 are among the best in the segment. Accompanying the 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes is Mazda's dynamic stability control (DSC) program.Having a more fuel-efficient engine under the hood did not stop Mazda engineers from striving for even greater economy in the new Mazda6. Enhanced aerodynamics (the drag coefficient is a low .27 for the sedan version) cheat the wind, while decreasing drag. Rolling resistance is lower, while an electric power steering pump and LED stop lamps reduce the accessory load on the engine. While the Mazda6 is larger than the previous model, weight has been reduced, further improving efficiency.


The chassis of the 2009 Mazda6 utilizes Mazda's strong Triple-H body shell. Mazda claims that this high-rigidity body design offers exceptional crash-safety performance by joining the front chassis members to the perimeter frame, and reinforcing the cabin with high-tensile steel and larger cross-section side members.

An Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) shines light into corners, illuminating the path of the vehicle, while ultrasonic parking sensors offer audible beeps to assist low-speed maneuvering. In the event of collision, occupants are protected by up to 6 interior air bags, active headrests that are designed to move forward in the event of a rear-end collision, and crushable brake and clutch pedals that limit their rearward travel to reduce injury to the driver's legs and feet.


Improving interior ergonomics, driver comfort and convenience, Mazda's new Cross Functional Network (CF-Net) provides integrated controls for navigation, air conditioning, audio, and driving information on the steering wheel. At the top of the instrument panel, a centralized display is designed to keep the instruments within the driver's line of sight. CF-Net helps minimize driver distraction-and increase functionality-by keeping frequently used controls at the driver's fingertips.
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