2008 Mazda6 Sport
2008 Mazda6 Sport. Click image to enlarge

More Mazda6 reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Mazda Canada

Owner Reviews on autoTRADER.ca
Mazda 6 Reviews

Review and photos by Chris Chase

The Mazda 626 joined the company’s line-up as a mid-sized sedan in the late 1970s. Through more than 20 years, the car established itself as a sporty alternative to other mid-size competitors, notably the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. While Mazda opted to drop the 626 name in 2003 in favour of its new naming convention, the Mazda6 replacement carried on Mazda’s reputation for building fun-to-drive cars.

Engine choices were two: a 2.3-litre four-cylinder (160 hp) and a 3.0-litre V6 (220 hp); transmissions were a five-speed manual available with either motor, or a four-speed automatic for four-cylinder cars and a five speed auto with the V6 engine. In 2005, the five-speed auto was replaced by a six-speed gearbox.

The Mazda6 was around first, but its styling and performance foretold the compact Mazda3 that would debut in 2004. While the Mazda6 was smaller inside than many of its competitors, it was sportier, even in basic form. Interestingly, the 2006 Ford Fusion was based on the same platform and mechanicals as the Mazda6 but got a roomier interior courtesy of a longer wheelbase.

2008 Mazda6 Sport
2008 Mazda6 Sport
2008 Mazda6 Sport. Click image to enlarge

Fuel consumption for four-cylinder, five-speed manual models was rated at around 10 L/100 km in the city and 7 L/100 km on the highway. With the V6, ratings consumption increased to 12.2 L/100 km (city) and 8 L/100 km (highway). Opting for an automatic transmission only affected ratings by a few ticks either way.

Mazda recommends a very specific type of transmission fluid for the six-speed automatic. Read about that here. These transmissions are apparently very sensitive to maintenance, or a lack thereof, judging by the comments in these transmission-related discussions (here, here, here and here) at Mazda6Club.com. While this problem is for the most part related to bad transmission internals, a bad rear engine/transmission mount can also cause the hard shift sensations described at the links above.

In manual-transmission cars, watch for a shuddering clutch.

The four-cylinder engine seems to be quite robust, but owners of six-cylinder cars complain of hesitation.

The six-cylinder is also known for positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve failures that can lead to a low engine oil level and, potentially, engine problems related to that.

Many owners report noisy front suspensions, a problem that seems linked to control arm bushings and/or ball joints.

In hot weather, it’s common for the Mazda6’s automatic transmission shifter to get “stuck” in park. Speculation is that the heat affects the brake pedal/shifter interlock switch; generally, the shifter will move after some fiddling.

Connect with Autos.ca