2009 Mazda 6 s Grand Touring

2009 Mazda 6 s Grand Touring 2009 Mazda 6 s Grand Touring
Short Take Road Test

Here are a couple of rules sane people live by. First, never eat a stick of butter in less than a minute, even if there’s money involved. And second, never buy a V-6 family sedan. We’ve been tempted by the butter thing, but what about that second one?

In fact, the Mazda 6 s seems to make a pretty good argument to the contrary. Its standard 3.7-liter V-6 makes an impressive 272 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, tops among the competitive set. And even with all that grunt, torque steer is held nicely in check; you can turn onto a busy street in a hurry without fear of careening into the conversion van in the next lane. You’ll get up to speed quickly, too, as the V-6 hustles the 6 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, 1.8 ahead of an automatic four-cylinder 6 i.

The V-6 mates only to a six-speed auto. There’s a manumatic function, but leaving the lever in D is satisfactory for all but the most nutball bombing runs, which, in our hands, happen with some frequency: The 6 is indeed a fantastic bombardier and one of the best to drive in its class, with a willing chassis and responsive steering and brakes.

Opt for the V-6, and gas mileage suffers. We got 18 mpg from the six, while an auto four returned 21 mpg—a 17 percent difference—although who among us wouldn’t swap 3 mpg for 102 horsepower?

Thing is, those ponies don’t come cheap. The 6 s begins at $24,800, about $3K more than an automatic i . Excepting output, you’ll only give up larger, wider wheels and one speed in the gearbox; other equipment remains the same. The 2.5-liter four can also be paired with a manual, saving a further 900 bucks, upping the involvement factor and returning even better mileage (we got 24 mpg). Our fully loaded s Grand Touring came in just $210 shy of 33 grand. Pricey.

So, yes, a six-cylinder 6 uses up more funds and fuel than its four-cylinder sibling, and the smaller-engined car is indeed the saner choice. But the V-6 brawn of the s scratches an enthusiast itch that the i simply can’t. To some, that’ll be worth the extra coin and more frequent fill-ups. Just like how wolfing down that butter was totally worth the $100.