Home » For Just Two Years You Could Buy A Practical Mazda Sedan That Hit 60 MPH In Under 6 Seconds: Holy Grails

For Just Two Years You Could Buy A Practical Mazda Sedan That Hit 60 MPH In Under 6 Seconds: Holy Grails

Mazda 6, 2006
ADVERTISEMENT

In 2006, car buyers in America could bring home a turbocharged four-cylinder sedan that made 274 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque and was capable of reaching 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds. This sedan also came with a manual transmission and all-wheel-drive. If I asked you to guess what car I was talking about, I wouldn’t fault you for guessing something like a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. But this was no Mitsubishi. The Mazdaspeed6 is arguably the fastest and best-handling sedan ever put out by Mazda, and it was made for just two years.

Welcome back to Holy Grails, the Autopian series where we show off some of the coolest, most underrated cars that you love. I have to be honest with you, dear readers. Through this series, I’ve learned a lot about cars that I never knew existed. You’d think that with my serial Volkswagen ownership, I would have known about the Jetta SportWagen SEL, but I didn’t. A lot of unique cars seem to disappear into the pages of history, and this series exists in part to highlight them.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

While not an official entry in this series, last week I wrote about the Duntov GT. This car–a 1987 Cadillac Brougham with a tuned Corvette engine making 370 HP–was submitted over a month ago by a reader named Jonathan. The Duntov GT was a grail in perhaps the purest sense. Just one of them was ever built, and for the most part, its history was lost. Thankfully, we were able to find one of the vehicle’s builders, who gave us the story of such a cool car. We often think of the Malaise Era as putting out blocky cars with huge, choked-out (i.e. riddled with emissions equipment that hurts performance) engines. The Duntov GT bucked that trend and was even intended to be a vehicle sold to the public, with its builders getting the car emissions certified. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

We’ve been focusing a bit on Fords and VAG products lately, and today’s entry will change that (sort of — the engine is a boosted version of the MZR, which Ford also offered as the “Duratec”). This is the Mazdaspeed6, and it’s a sedan that fights above its (3,600 pound) weight class.

Mazda 6, 2006

ADVERTISEMENT

Mazda says it has a long history of flagship sedans that eventually lead to the Mazda6. Launched in 1966, the Luce (pronounced loo-chay) was Mazda’s top-dog sedan, and it joined a lineup that included the Carol Kei car, Familia compact, and Capella mid-sizer.

In export markets, the Luce was branded as the Mazda 1500 or the Mazda 1800. Americans got to enjoy it for just three model years between 1971 and 1973. This car was a looker–the show car was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro–but not very quick.

Vx 1764476

It accelerated to 60 mph in 17.5 seconds before completing the quarter in 20.5 seconds. This sedan could be a grail on its own; if estimates on Barn Finds and Bring A Trailer are close to accurate, just a couple of thousand ever made it here.

While the first Luce was still on sale, Mazda released the second-generation of the Luce and its first rotary-powered sedan. The RX-4 was available as a sedan, coupe, and wagon. The automaker notes that it went a bit nuts with rotary engines in the 1970s and filled its lineup with them.

ADVERTISEMENT

1974 Mazda Parkway Still 01

Indeed, rotary engines found homes in everything from the Cosmo coupe and the Rotary Pickup to even a minibus (see above). America got the RX-4 from 1974 through 1978 and our version had a 1.3-liter 13B Wankel making 110 HP. Production ended in 1977.

From here, Mazda notes that its flagship sedan took a turn towards luxury. The 929–as we know it in America–arrived in 1986. It had two generations without sales in America. By the time it came back, it had grown into a stately sedan with features like heated seats and oscillating vents. Mazda even offered an optional 3.0-liter V6. The automaker continued down this path of luxury sedans with another 929 and eventually, the Mazda Millenia:

Millenia

This car focused hard on quality details, and a highlight included a 2.3-liter Miller Cycle V6. I’ll let Mazda explain why this engine is different:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Miller Cycle, which is similar to the Atkinson Cycle, keeps intake valves in the engine open longer than normal in order to facilitate smoother airflow throughout the engine—learnings still used in today’s SKYACTIV engines and tomorrow’s SKYACTIV-X compression-ignition engine. The engine won a Wards 10 Best Engine award four years in a row.

That brings us to the Mazda6. Launched in 2003, Mazda says this car combines what it learned in building flagship sedans with the 626 mid-size sedan. The result was a mid-size flagship with tons of character and some driving excitement. Mazda sold these in a variety of flavors, which included a sleek wagon.

Yellow Road Action

For reader Ian, the one you want is the Mazdaspeed6, a car that appears to be the fastest sedan Mazda’s ever made. I love how Ian even included bullet points for us:

My suggestion for a Holy Grail – the 2006/2007 MS6.

Only available for two years, it was the hot version of the tepid Mazda 6 of the period. It came with AWD, a turbo MZR engine of around 270hp, sport suspension and a close ratio 6 speed manual transmission (no auto available).

I bought a 2006 as a stand in winter car/DD in around 2010 when my Ford truck had engine issues. It was so much fun that I kept it for three years before selling it for the same price I bought it for. It was very similar to the Audi S4 in terms of performance at a Mazda price.

In the two years, Mazda made about 13,000 MS6s worldwide, about 5,000 were sold in North America.

Upsides:
Very tuneable engine, although stock it was already powerful and flexible
really good AWD system
a real “Q-Ship” on the road.
Well balanced handling with a decent ride
Sweet shifter
Practical four door (no wagon version, unfortunately)

Downsides:
The MZR was known for cam phaser issues, which mine had and the local scummy Mazda dealer wouldn’t give me the extended warranty but Mazda Canada reimbursed me for it after the fact.
The otherwise great 6 speed manual had its ratios too close together – it would have been perfect in an RX8 but it wasn’t necessary with all that turbo torque.
The clutch also had a narrow engagement point which made it hard to drive smoothly without practice – my wife refused to drive it, even though she was pretty good with a manual in her Acura.
It had the ugliest hood since “Corvette Summer” because the intercooler ducting was in the hood.
Hard to find an unmolested car today
Mazda rust

Ian also attached this video from Top Gear, showing Jeremy Clarkson impressed by the slower European version:

ADVERTISEMENT

When the Mazdaspeed6 launched in 2006, Mazda called it “the fastest and best handling sedan ever sold by Mazda.” The automaker then followed it up with “the most powerful car ever sold by Mazda in the US.” That power claim is no longer true today–the new CX-90 features a 3.3-liter inline six turbo making 340 HP–but the Mazdaspeed6 does appear to remain the fastest sedan that Mazda ever sold in America.

Car and Driver gave an overview of this car in a review back in 2005. Back then, Mazda chief designer Peter Birtwhistle pointed out that the Mazdaspeed6 was not meant to be like a rally car-turned road car like a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or an Impreza WRX STi.

Mazda 6, 2006

Instead, the competition was more of the likes of the Subaru Legacy GT and the Acura TL. Indeed, in Car and Driver’s track testing the magazine found the car to be quick, but not exactly a track weapon.

Power comes from a Mazda MZR 2.3-liter turbo four making 274 HP and 280 lb-ft torque. That goes through a six-speed manual transmission down to all four wheels through an active torque split all-wheel-drive system. The automated system can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels depending on the steering angle, wheelspin, and yaw.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mazda 6, 2006

You also get an electric clutch in the rear and a limited-slip differential up front. Helping the Mazdaspeed6 boogie around curves are chassis stiffening, larger anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, and new bushings. Mazda says that this, along with steel reinforcements, stiffen twisting rigidity by 50 percent. Apparently, the reinforcements mean that the rear seat doesn’t fold.

When MotorWeek tested the Mazdaspeed6, testers got the car up to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and found the power delivery to be linear. The Hitachi Warner turbo apparently spooled up with minimal lag and testers found it a joy to drive in traffic. Car and Driver notes that the car gets 15.6 psi peak boost from the turbo. That performance came paired to an aggressive body kit and a sporty interior featuring faux carbon fiber trim, aluminum pedals, and some stainless steel trim.

Mazda 6, 2006

Yet, the car still carried some luxuries like automatic climate control and a Bose sound system. Base price was $28,555, with options like xenon lights, leather, and keyless ignition adding another $1,930.

ADVERTISEMENT

The part that blows me away is how well these performance figures have aged. When the Mazda6 died off last year, it was making 250 HP and could accelerate to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Mazda also offered the Mazda6 with a V6 and even that was slower down a straight than this.

Indeed, Mazda’s interiors and design have both come a long way since the Mazdaspeed6, but the ‘Speed6 remains a quick ride. You can definitely get plenty of speed in Mazda’s spicy crossovers and in the Mazdaspeed3 hatch, but this appears to remain Mazda’s fastest sedan. To compare it to a car from another brand, my Saturn Sky Red Line could hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds given a good enough driver. This is just a touch slower but carries two more seats and a sedan’s trunk along for the ride.

Mazda 6, 2006

These cars were sold for just two years in America between 2006 and 2007. Estimates place production at around 5,000 units for the American market. That’s somewhat rare, but it seems that you won’t have a hard time finding one. I found nine for sale within 500 miles of me and all of them are under $10,000.

Do you know of a ‘holy grail’ of a car out there? If so, we want to read about it! Send us an email at tips@theautopian.com and give us a pitch for why you think your favorite car is a ‘holy grail.’

ADVERTISEMENT
Relatedbar

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
44 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Defenestrator
Defenestrator
1 year ago

I had one of these for years, and still miss it almost a decade later. Very practical, lots of fun, and I guess I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have any serious issues with it (steering angle sensor gave out under warranty, but that was it). With decent all-season tires, it did eerily well on ice and snow. The clutch was pretty rough to deal with, though. Most people who tried driving it stalled it a time or two on first attempt, and at least one person who could otherwise drive a manual never did get the hang of it.

I was originally looking for a Mazda 3S because I figured the Mazdaspeed6 would be just out of my price range, but after a couple weeks of failing to find a 3S with a manual I found a lightly-used (4200 miles) MS6 for sale a few hours away.

Noahwayout
Noahwayout
1 year ago

Hey Mercedes, Love your columns!! The 05-06 Corolla XRS is as innocuous as they come, but totally a fun little car underneath. Tight suspension, more power, rear discs, and a 5 speed! I first learned about it when Matt Farah did an episode of The Smoking Tire and he clearly had a blast. I’ve looked for one over the years and they’re definitely getting tough to come by, nearly 20 years later.

CEVette
CEVette
1 year ago

I had a 2003 6 with the V6 and a manual…..
While not the Speed6, it was a great car, pretty quick for 2003 with 220hp.
Looked at the Speed6, but never traded since by that time mine was paid off, and I loath a car loan.
Put 150K miles on that car and the only non maintenance replacements were the coil packs….they started failing around 80K miles and after the second one, I just did them all.
I certainly have had worse cars.
Thanks for this bit of nostalgia!

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
1 year ago
Reply to  CEVette

When these were new I was working in the grocery business, and it seemed like large numbers of the vendor merchandisers had either Mazda6 liftbacks or Chevy Malibu Maxx(s). Mazda if they had a car allowance and chose their own ride, Chevys as company cars chosen by the fleet manager.

Alexi Antoniou
Alexi Antoniou
1 year ago

I had a 2.3L 2007 M6. I also sold mazdas in 2007 and remember we had a MS6 in the showroom. I didn’t care much for the hood or the navsystem in the car (non-touch, used a remote control…ew), but I LOVED mazdas of this era. The gauges on the 6’s were particularly good. I very much miss my M6 and would love an MS6 today. I honestly preferred the M6’s interior to the RX-8’s even though that’s my beloved.

Casey LaCaze
Casey LaCaze
1 year ago

I’ve driven one of these. When I was in the Army, a buddy of mine had one as his daily driver, and a 3000GT VR-4 project car. He let me take the wheel a few times as payment for DD’ing on the weekend. Driving back to Ft Knox from Louisville, on the Dixie Highway with nobody else on the road, was a really good opportunity to make some mildly poor decisions. When there’s nothing but straight, empty road in front of you, and the boost kicks in and pushes you back into the driver seat, you start thinking with your heart and your right foot.

Driving that car was a high I never got again, until I bought my WRX a couple years ago.

Dingus
Dingus
1 year ago

I feel like I made a mistake by not buying one of these. I was searching high and low for something to replace my aging Maxima and really liked what I read about with the MS6. I finally found a dealer that had one, but they made a “misprint” about the mileage. It said 80k, but turns out it was 130k (which they did not mention until I had come to test drive it). Nice. I figured I was there, they suckered me into driving 40 minutes out of my way, may as well drive it.

I was VERY impressed. Having driven my Maxima with the 3.0VQ there, I thought that the turbo 4 would have felt equal to or lesser than the Max. I was really wrong and that turbo pulled hard; a short test drive was not sufficient. At that time, it was a big deal to have full climate control, keyless ignition and since this was the Grand Touring, it was heated leather seats, other stuff PLUS the wildly unpopular early pop-up navigation system that had a remote control inset to the special console just for it.

Sadly, I was a damn moron and instead bought a used BMW 545i (RWD, manual, sportline edition) which, while it handled like a dream, was a damn nightmare to keep running. Biggest POS I’d ever bought and I was so happy the day I dumped it. Had I got the MS6, I’m sure I would have fought with the inevitable rust and other issues, but I think it would have been the better choice. At least the parts wouldn’t have been so MFing expensive and hard to get. I still curse that useless BMW and it’s craptastic n62 leakmonster under the hood.

JMJR
JMJR
1 year ago

I HAD ONE OF THESE!!!

When I graduated college and got a big kid job, I wanted a fun car. I wanted something with a stick shift, AWD and a turbo, so my choices were Subaru WRX/STI/Legacy GT, Volkswagen Passat 4Motion, or a Mazdaspeed6. The Subies were too expensive, the VW would be too expensive to maintain, and I had a love for Mazdas, so the Speed6 was a natural winner.

I ended up buying a lightly used 2006 Mazdaspeed6 GT in Liquid Platinum Metallic with about 80,000km (50,000 miles). Luckily the first owner had sprung for the full extended warranty, which I took full advantage of. Over the course of my ownership (4.5 years, 75,000km), the dealership replaced the turbo, resealed the PTO, fixed a rear diff seal and ended up replacing the long block just before the warranty ended due to oil consumption. I also had to replace the clutch at around 88,000 km when it started slipping on the highway.

As a young gearhead with disposable income and a tunable car, I threw just about every bolt on at the car. Cobb AccessPort, 3” catted downpipe and dual exhaust, upgraded top mount intercooler, cold air intake and turbo inlet hose and upgraded direct injection fuel pump internals. I ended up having the car custom dyno tuned, ending up with 259 AWHP and 336 AWTQ. The car was a LOT of fun on boost, but miserable to drive during my commute and it guzzled 94 octane at an exorbitant rate on my short drive to work. Coupled with the awful fuel economy, oil catch can freezing in the winter and causing a rough idle and the annoyance of listening to a droning four cylinder on the highway, I sold the car and replaced it with a 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback 6MT.

From what I had heard, since Ford had a large stake in Mazda at the time, they used Mazda as a test bed for turbo charging and direct injection. Mazda would experiment with the technologies and figure out what worked and what didn’t, and then Ford took those lesson and applied them to the EcoBoost line of engines. As a result of Mazda pioneering these technologies, there were issues with the engines. You weren’t supposed to get into boost until at least 3000 RPM, or you risked bending a connecting rod due to all the low end torque, and they also suffered from oil consumption, bad VVT phasers, and dead cylinders. Thankfully, Mazda learned a lot from the MZR DISI and applied that to their SkyActiv-G line of engines after breaking off from Ford.

And one more thing: you can fold down the rear seats, but there are braces in the way that make loading stuff difficult. I bought the factory rear seat latch releases and installed them, then plasma cut some smaller braces that allowed better access when the seats were folded down.

Bryan Carney
Bryan Carney
1 year ago

We absolutely love our Speed6. Bought it off lease in 08. Everything is stock except the replaced fenders…. Rust got the better of them… I keep trying to convince the accounting dept to let me do some mild things with it. Those are shot down every time. 76k miles of fun!!

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
1 year ago

Did you know that the Mazda Millenia (weird spelling, but that’s obviously how it is) wasn’t meant to be a Mazda after all? It was meant to be an Amati, Mazda’s equivalent of Lexus, Infiniti or Acura. Oh, you haven’t heard about Amati? That’s because it was cancelled before it was even launched, and from one of the almost-finished cars designed for it, the Millenia was born.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecDLBh9gaj8

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Ibert

I was looking for an Amati mention in the flagship backstory. I think the *old site* had a good, long piece that covered the development and cancellation of the whole project.

Erik Innocent
Erik Innocent
1 year ago

The other day, I saw an MS6 at a supermarket. I was so excited that I took a photo and sent it to my wife. Her reply: “Omg a speed 6!”

Probably worth mentioning is that for years we had a 1st gen MS3, and to this day we play a game where we try to spot them among the far more common Mazda3 hatches. Unlike with the 2nd gen MS3, it takes a sharp eye.

Fuller Name
Fuller Name
1 year ago
Reply to  Erik Innocent

I love the shared excitement. I also look for these. I look for the extra ridges on the hood and the taller spoiler in back, as I’m sure you do. The wheels were different but it’s not usually the first thing I see. What I like is that when I see any of them, I know that person is driving a manual.

We had an MS6 and then a 1st gen MS3. I wrote about my MS6 further down. One thing I loved about both of them is that most people weren’t aware of what it was. I really liked the subtle differences then as opposed to the choices today or even the second gen MS3 with the hood scoop. I would still like something fun to drive but I don’t want or need to stick out like a sore thumb.

Fuller Name
Fuller Name
1 year ago

I’ve been lurking here since the beginning but I created this account tonight so I can talk about my speed6 experience. Good job, Mercedes.
At the end of their run, they were being discounted by $4k-$5k in Austin. I hardly knew about them until a salesman put me in a used one to test. Fortunately, my wife and I didn’t like that purple preowned one and we went to another dealership (under the same umbrella) that was discounting new ones for way less than that used one. We bought a sport (base) trim gray one (just like a coworker I would soon meet already had) and I loved it! I went from a 150hp manual 2.3 CL Acura to nearly double the power and it was addicting. Within two weeks, I had a ticket for doing well over the limit on a 70mph toll road. It was so easy to go fast but that was dumb. I’m pleased to say that was my last speeding ticket, and that was about 16 years ago.

Five months later, we took that car on an overnight trip to a hotel that only had valet parking. When I started to drive away the next day, the clutch gave out almost immediately. After an unsuccessful complaint, I resigned to take up the issue later, and limped 90 miles back home. The clutch would engage as if I was learning to drive, and shuddered a lot. The dealer replaced the clutch under warranty, and my complaints to the hotel/valet company went nowhere. As angry as I was, the mechanic acted like the clutch was defective and not necessarily busted by anyone. I even told him the story about the valet parking. Maybe the mechanic was just being nice and protecting me. I have no doubt that the valet driver pushed it over the edge, but either way, I got a new clutch for free. After getting the car back, I was looking under the hood at work when I noticed they had left a chain still attached to the top of the motor. A few days later on my way home (before I had a chance to return to the shop to remove the chain), I was rear-ended coming off of an exit ramp, and pushed into another car. Insurance totaled it, and after six glorious months of ownership, I said goodbye to that car. The payoff was more than I paid new. I made about $250 to get to drive that car for six months. I suppose it was a pretty good outcome considering the reliability issues that people are talking about.

Later on I would buy a Mazdaspeed3 but I miss the 6 more. Unlike so many people here, I prefer a sedan to a wagon not to mention the AWD.

Dusty Kornphartz
Dusty Kornphartz
1 year ago
Reply to  Fuller Name

I think these had a recall for the clutch.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
1 year ago

They definitely had a TSB for the clutch at least, but that was for effort rather than reliability. The combination of rather sudden engagement plus a strong spring that actually pushed back harder around when it engaged made it pretty difficult to deal with. After the TSB it went from “brutal” to “challenging”

SampleCat
SampleCat
1 year ago

I test drove one of these when they were new, it was very smooth, with super linear power.

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
1 year ago

I’ve always been a fan of these cars. Back when I lived in a place with snow, I came really close to buying one of these – twice in fact. Alas, I never pulled the trigger, because I read a lot of bad shit online regarding reliability and such, but I bet one of these things with some snow tires would have been a lot of fun in a northern Illinois winter.

Dusty Kornphartz
Dusty Kornphartz
1 year ago

I had one of these for a while. Nice to drive, not real fast, but still fun.

You’ve got to watch a few thing with those. Some of the motor problems are from boost curve. It can come on a little too strong at low rpms and then you bend or break rods. Need to wind it out a little bit before you put your foot down.

Also 3rd member mount prone to cracking and breaking, and if it breaks it make a mess. IIR it’s part of the diff cover or something like that. There are (or were) billet replacements for the weak bits back there. Also a giant pain to change, drop the rear subframe and exhaust, pull out the rear seats etc.

The rear driveshaft is unobtainium. The u-joints are not serviceable; I think they have grooves around the bearing caps and inside the yokes that they injected plastic into to lock the u-joints in place. It believe that the driveshaft for the CX7 is the same length and easier to find, but the center bearing is in a different position so you would need to make an adaptor bracket to swap in the CX7 driveshaft. I was going to try that on mine, and try and sell adaptor brackets to others with bad driveshafts but life got in the way and I ended up selling it to a Mazda fanboy. He had a nice MS3 and was going to use the MS6 as winter daily.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 year ago

Every single person I know who had one, had trans problems. Not really a holy grail when the transmissions explode.

JMJR
JMJR
1 year ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I had one. The transmission was fine, but the clutch burnt out at 88,000 km and the PTO for the AWD started leaking.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 year ago
Reply to  JMJR

*drivetrain in general.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago

The MS6 is cool, but I thought it had gotten negative reviews when new due to the heavy weight being AWD

And this Mazda does qualify as a Ford, since they were owned by Ford then, and the parent company rebagded it as a Fusion. Too bad they didn’t make an SVT Fusion AWD which would be a rebadged MS6 😛

Also, I’m PISSED that Mazda only offered with wagon with the V6. They made a mistake by not selling the I4 wagon here 🙁

Dusty Kornphartz
Dusty Kornphartz
1 year ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I think a few people did MS6 drivetrain swaps into wagons.

A F
A F
1 year ago

My dad had one. It was fast and rowdy. A lot of fun. He also bought a Mazda Millennia S for my mom.

He bought a lot of cool cars. A couple worth covering here in the future would be the Mitsubishi Galant VR4 and the seventh gen Civic Si hatchback (which was made in the UK and a different car from the regular American Civics). And maybe his Daihatsu Rocky.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 year ago

I’ve seen one of these in the wild. I knew it was special, but not exactly how. Great article!

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
1 year ago

These are awesome. They also have the absolute worst traction control I have ever experienced (massive surging if you give it enough beans) and are known for randomly blowing up engines with no warning. If you check marketplace or craigslist there are usually as many broken ones as there are running ones.

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
1 year ago

I remember driving one of these and a ‘Speed3 back-to-back. Though bigger and heavier, it was able to actually plant it’s power and I found it to be the more fun of the two, as a result. Great car!

JMJR
JMJR
1 year ago

The MS3 made 11 less horsepower and power was limited in first and second gear, IIRC, to prevent excessive torque steer and wheelspin. From a dig, an MS6 would be faster, but the MS3 would take it in a roll.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
1 year ago

I really wanted one of these, or the Legacy GT back in 06. Ended up with a 4cyl/5 speed Accord instead, because affordability.

Daniel Fehlings
Daniel Fehlings
1 year ago

I had one step down from this, a 2004 6 Hatchback with a V6 and 5spd. Definitely a weird spec, and I’m surprised Mazda offered a liftback in between the sedan and wagon. It was kinda quick, tall-friendly, semi-reliable and cheap to insure (I was like 22 when I bought it). Racing Beat rear sway bar was the best mod, and removing the mufflers was the worst (reminder: I was 22). Was not particularly competitive at autocross and it chewed up tires, but I still had fun.

I best remember the MS6 from this “oops all bangers!” comparison test from Car and Driver in 2006. The V6/6spd Accord sedan may qualify as a holy grail, but I’m still surprised there was a Pontiac G6 with 240hp and a 6spd:

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a15386738/2006-acura-tsx-vs-honda-accord-mazdaspeed-6-pontiac-g6-vw-jetta-comparison-tests/

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
1 year ago

I remember that test!

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
1 year ago

I find myself reading that C/D article about once a year for nostalgia (had the print issue for like 5 years on my coffee table stack it was that memorable). Love spotting the rare 6 hatchback in the wild (look for that rear wiper as it’s basically the only visible tell from 5+ feet), but the rarest 6 of all must be the wagon+stick combo (wagons only had the V6). I’d guess they are even more holy grail then the MS6 above.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago

I always wanted a 6s manual in this gen, but never could find one in decent shape as a sedan, let alone the hatch – or wagon. The closest I came to finding one wasn’t equipped super well which would’ve been fine, but the condition (and the dealer in particular it was at), I didn’t bother with a test drive.

I think that was when I was replacing my wearing-down ’97 Maxima 5-speed, so it would have been a logical next step. I ended up with a manual ’01 Accord, and almost replaced that with an ’06 6MT Accord sedan like in that test, but the condition of the one I found also didn’t sit right with me. I did do a I4/5MT ’07 EX-L but wish I had looked harder for a TSX then, not sure why I didn’t – maybe I was put off by premium fuel at the time, when the V6 Accord needed regular.

Wild to think that all cars in that test were sub-$30k. A couple years before that they also had a comparo with the A4 and then-new turbo Legacy 2.5GT, S40, and TSX, all below $30k.

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 year ago

Missed out on this gem, but it’s affect lingered. For the next decade+, I kept looking and waiting for the next MazdaSpeed6 to appear. Sure it would show up. Sadly, I was labeled a fool and Mazda proved those people correct. No more Zoom-Zoom (except for the MazdaSpeed3, which also disappeared a few years later).

I gave up on Mazda being innovative when the SkyActiv-D failed to materialize.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 year ago
Reply to  Der Foo

‘I gave up on Mazda being innovative when the SkyActiv-D failed to materialize.’

It did emerge…eventually. By the time it finally showed up the gas engine options were so efficient there was no point paying more for the diesel anymore.

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35216165/mazda-cx-5-diesel-dead/

I’m glad I lost interest in diesels a while ago given the fuel is now about two bucks more per gallon where I live.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

“I’m glad I lost interest in diesels a while ago given the fuel is now about two bucks more per gallon where I live.”

Name checks out

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
1 year ago

I’m so proud you took my suggestion….. ????

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

So much for the crying emoji…

Marcus Fnord
Marcus Fnord
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

Telling a journalist to write about something does not mean you need to get a shout-out.

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago

I wonder what the last car to use the orange lighting/gauges to signify sportiness was. Maybe it couldn’t survive the loss of its greatest patron, Pontiac?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

Red illuminated gauges are easier on your eyes at night, so there is a practical purpose for them, too.

44
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x