The sporty 2008 Mazda6 comes in two body styles--sedan and five-door hatch--and with two different engines that cover a range from economy to high-performance.
The five-door model especially stands out from most mid-size sedans. It offers a gently sloped rear hatchback design that combines with folding rear seats, cargo tie-downs, and very wide cargo opening, to allow some of the benefits of a wagon in a sleeker and sportier package.
There are also two additional hidden compartments in the side panels of the cargo area on the five-door. In all, it has 22 cubic feet of cargo space, nearly 50 percent more than the sedan.
The i trim models come standard with the base 2.3L four-cylinder engine, which makes 156 horsepower. This engine is mated to a five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission. The S models step up to a 3.0L V6 engine that makes 212 horsepower and 197 lb-ft of torque. This engine is available with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The Mazda6 has a double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear setup for a good ride and sharp sport-sedan handling, along with a variable-assist, quick-ratio steering setup that affords just over two and a half turns, lock-to-lock. Side air bags and side curtain air bags are standard on all Mazda6 models, along with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD).
Both i and s models are available in Sport VE, Touring, and Grand Touring models. The four-cylinder model is also available in a base Sport trim. The Sport VE model adds alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, a body kit, a six-disc CD changer, leather trim inside, and other appearance extras outside to the base trim.
The Touring model brings the engine upgrade, heated mirrors, heated front seats, leather seats and a seven-speaker stereo. Grand Touring models include W-rated low-profile tires, power moonroof, rear spoiler, HID headlights, fog lamps, and leather upholstery and automatic climate control.
Options are limited to a moonroof and a navigation system.