2009 Mazda6 is finally out in the open

But did they tone it down for North America?

by David Surace

04.25.2008

Last night Mazda of North America let loose with official media shots and stats for one of the most important cars in their lineup, the 2009 Mazda6. The original Mazda6, which sold to the public between model years 2003-2008, was easily one of the best-looking and best-driving family sedans among its competition.

It’s tough to tell at this point if they’ve messed with the “best-driving” part of the formula, but a big hint may lie in the cherry-picked phrases “larger body and greater engine displacement” and “Handling and comfort were also optimized” and perhaps most importantly, “North American road conditions”. Uh oh.

So she is slightly bigger than the svelte European version, and has a heavier nose up front thanks to the bigger engines we get, but they do promise to be nice engines: a 2.5 liter inline-4 flowing through either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, or a 3.7 liter V6 mated only to a six-speed autobox with manual shift capability.

But the looks are definitely there, even if they’re slightly different than the European version. There are Mazda’s trademark arched fenders up front which echo the front end treatment of the RX-8, and subsequently the CX-7 and CX-9. The side-window profile is tall enough for the driver and front passenger, but then it steeply rakes off toward the rear past the B-pillar, which is almost necessary these days to give that “four-door coupe” look everyone’s after.

The only other piece of disturbing news should affect fans (myself included!) of the stellar but low-selling Mazda6 wagon and hatchback: this press release puts in very plain English that those two variants are not to be found in the 2009 model year. Sedan only, folks. The rest of you, move along.

As before, the new “six” will be produced at AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, MI.

PRESS RELEASE:

Mazda Reveals the All-New Mazda6 for the North American Market
– Designed and engineered specifically for North American customers –

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today revealed the all-new Mazda6 and confirmed that sales will start in late summer 2008.

Specifically developed for North America, the all-new Mazda6 inherits and evolves the sporty styling and superb driving performance of the first generation Mazda6. The North American model features a larger body and greater engine displacement to meet the particular demands of the North American market. Handling and comfort were also optimized for North American road conditions.

“Following the CX-7 and the CX-9, the 2009 North American Mazda6 is the third model that was designed and engineered specifically to meet the needs of our North American customers,” said Daniel T. Morris, Mazda’s senior managing executive officer in charge of marketing and overseas sales. “The midsize sedan segment is extremely competitive and the Mazda6 will be up against some of the best vehicles in the industry.

“The all-new Mazda6 offers plenty of Mazda’s characteristic Zoom-Zoom vitality and we believe it will succeed in the challenging North American market. We will continue to deliver products that reflect our customers’ needs and build Mazda’s brand image in order to achieve the goals set out in our mid-term Mazda Advancement Plan.”

The all-new North American Mazda6 will be powered by Mazda’s newly developed 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder (I4) engine and its 3.7-liter V6 engine. The I4 engine is already available in the European and Japanese Mazda6 models and the V6 promises an exhilarating ride, coming straight from the 2008 North American Truck of the Year, the Mazda CX-9. A six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode will be available for the I4 engine. The V6 will be coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode. The North American Mazda6 will be available only as a four-door sedan.

The all-new North American Mazda6 will be produced at AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, Michigan, a joint venture with partner Ford Motor Company, as it has been since the first Mazda6 launched in 2002.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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6 Comments

  1. Americans are bigger than most Europeans. They’re both a little taller, and a lot heavier. A lot heavier.

    What can you do? We’re fat, mostly, and so are our children, and we need bigger cars as a result.

  2. New terrific Malibu, Fusion soon retouched, the Pontiac G8 (even if it isn’t in the same league) and now the Mazda 6. Now I have much more good excuses to not want a “Auntie Camry” and “Grand’Pa Accord” who’s been “Olsmobilized” over the years 😉

    On a more serious side, I think then the Mazda 6 is a serious cotender for Motor Trend Car of the Year (COTY) and the NA COTY for 2009. Now if only they could bring a 2-door coupe version of the 6…

  3. It’s a shame that neither the wagon nor the 5 door will be offered, at least not initially. A friend of mine traded her Explorer for a Mazda 6 5-door two years ago, and loves the hatchback’s versatility. Unfortunately, it’s just the way American-ization of cars goes. The Camry is the best-selling US car and is only available as a sedan, so other makers (like Mazda) are following the trend.

  4. Sounds to me like bigger = Ford Fusion platform, since the Fusion was built by widening and stretching the Mazda6.

    I had a Mazda6 for a rental car last month. Generally very good handling, cornering was probably as good as a FWD sedan is capable of, though no where near as good as a RWD.

    Horible acceleration, which I blame on the automatic transmission. Too bad Mazda has decided to not offer a stick with the V-6.

    I’d like to see some interior shots though. The worst thing about the old Mazda6 was the dashboard, all red, with a red tinted LCD readout near the top center of the dash. This made for an awfull night driving experience.

    Hopefully Mazda has gone with a more functional dash this time arround.

  5. I liked the styling of the original Mazda6 but didn’t care for the ’06 refreshing, and don’t really like this new one at all. Actually, the European version is not bad, but the extra zoom-zoom touches on the North American version scream “overwrought” and “tries too hard” to me. It might’ve appealed to me in my 20s, but being in my mid-30s now, I’d prefer something with a bit more subtlety.

  6. I like the car, but I’m not knocked out by it. I’m sure it’s a good driver as All MAzdas seem to be, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that shouts out, “love me”, “desire me”, etc.

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