I had recently moved to the USA, and in desperate need of a car. To cut a very long story short I ended up with a choice of 3 cars in the price range I was looking at. Whilst the Mazda was the oldest of the 3 and highest mileage, it cleared the field with looks, bhp, interior comfort and reliability stats. Being from the UK and still relatively young, we all drive small cars, so the transition to the sedan was a shock for me. The car is amazing to drive though, it handles superbly which is more than can be said for most others in its class, and since buying it I've managed an easy 30mpg, and that's not with conservative driving! I also went for a manual transmission, since automatics make the experience of driving boring, and you disconnect with the road. For a car that had 48k miles on it, the clutch felt brand new which says a lot about the quality of the vehicle. I've not had any major problems yet (fingers crossed), but the tire pressure warning light came on during a cold spell of weather. I checked out the pressures and one tire was 2psi below optimal, which just shows the sensors are very sensitive, so don't get too freaked out if this comes on. Also first thing in the morning the power steering system sounds like a growling dog, but once the system has warmed up a bit it's fine. Feedback from passengers is that there's tonnes of space in the back, the ride is smooth and comfortable. The boot (trunk) is huge, you could fit in about 6 sets of golf clubs if needed, and there's plenty of storage space in the main cabin too. Sound system is great, the Aux function to hook up to an mp3 player is really handy, and the general look of the radio, climate control and dash are all pretty sweet. From what I understand newer models look even better. One down side i would say is there's no trip computer on mine. I know I can get about 450 miles out of the 15 gallon tank, but not having a countdown "mileage left in the tank" readout doesn't fill me with confidence sometimes when I've done 440 miles. It'd also be nice to see instantaneous mpg readings, average mpg and speed etc, but you can live without it. Again, this is something that is probably featured on newer models. I'd describe my Maxda 6i as a sports coupe - it certainly feels like one, and in terms of feel, performance and comfort, it is certainly on a par with Audi A4/A5s, BMW 3 & 5 series and the VW coupe range. All it needs is some decent looking alloys, since the stock ones don't do it any favours, and you're all set!
Due to finances I had to purchase a used vehicle this go around. I could not have been more pleased with the Mazda 6. The ride is smooth, stable, and quiet. It handles like a more expensive sedan, nice and tight. I compared it with the Sonata and the Altima and found it to be basically a better value for the dollar. I purchased the 4 door and there is plenty of room for someone 6'5" in the backseats! Trunk is huge.
My shopping experience began abruptly when I was forced to buy a new car as mine was totaled. I did not know what I wanted other than power drivers seat, power windows, power locks and AMERICAN MADE was a must. I tried the Dodge Caliber, Avenger, Challenger, Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Mustang, Escape, Mazda Tribute and many more. Though these are all very nice vehicles, they just didn't "fit" me. It was the appearance of the Mazda 6 that got my attention. I opened the door and liked the feel of the car, and look of the dash. I was surprised and pleased that the 4 cylinder provided the power I wanted and would save on gas mileage. I am currently getting 25.2 city miles per gallon and have not sacrificed by having a "hamster engine." I have not taken the car on a road trip yet, but I'm certain I will be pleased with the mileage rating. It's a smooth and quiet ride. One last note - the car does not use a traditional key and that took a little time to get used to, but now I ABSOLUTELY love that I don't have to dig for my keys to start or unlock (and lock) the car. I simply have the key in my purse and push a button! I love my new car and would highly recommend a Mazda 6. By the way - the PRICE was right!