2004 All-Star: Family Car

2004 All-Star: Family Car
0402 Mazda6 01 S

Photographed by George Saitas

The Mazda 6 is not the most perfectly polished car in its class, or the roomiest, or even the most powerful. But it is the one family sedan that will bring a smile to your face every time you get in and drive, the only one that is designed to appeal to enthusiast drivers. Whether you choose the 220-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 or the 160-horsepower, 2.3-liter in-line four, the 6 is nimble, responsive, and blessed with a truly sporting mien. It looks good on the outside, and the interior quality is right up there with its mainstream Japanese rivals. Mazda is even bringing a roomy, sporty wagon to market this spring. The best news about the 6? It's a screaming bargain. A fully loaded V-6 likely will cost no more than $23,000, and we have heard of people walking out of showrooms with well-equipped four-cylinder 6s for about $18,000.

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