Mazda 6 GG? Why not a Ford Mondeo III, a Passat B6, a BMW E39, a Toyota Avensis, a Ford Fusion II or an Audi A4 B7? Really now, why a Mazda 6 GG?
Launched in 2002, the Mazda 6 GG was Mazda’s first modern attempt at the European saloon. Being recently bought by Ford, the Mazda 6 came with some shared technology with Ford Mondeo III, but Mazda 6 kept the original petrol engines and was also given the carte blanche to take care of the sports part. To make a summary so that I can go home, the Mazda 6 GG is a sportier version of the Ford Mondeo III and one of the sportiest saloons of it’s period. The issues are few, the parts are easy to find, the sportiness is guaranteed and as a result nobody bought it in Europe but it was quite the succes in North America and Australia.
Why is it harder to spot a Mazda 6 on the streets of Europe than it is for student to speak during an oral exam where he only knows the date and his name to find his words?
Because Mazda was not really a brand that people aspired to. In 2005, you wouldn’t have heard too many people say “oh, how I would like a Mazda 6”. Plus, the Mazda 6 GG came with an intense range of sports petrol engines but on the diesel side it was presented with only two mediocre engines, and in 2005 Europe everyone only knew how to say “1.9 TDI”. 14 years later, everyone only knows how to say “2.0 TDI”.
For the rest of the world however the Mazda 6 GG remained one of the sportiest saloons of it’s period and today it represents a very good option if you want a cheap and fast car to have fun with. I could also recommend the Mazda 3, but there are generally equipped with small and quiet engines for city driving. But on the Mazda 6 the fun begins from 1798 cubic centimeters and from 125 horsepower at 6000 repm and ends somewhere around 2261 cubic centimeters and 267 horsepower at 5500 rpm. I could recommend the Passat B6, but that is a car for conservative family guys. I could recommend the BMW E90, but all car owners are chav music enthusiasts. I could recommend an A4 B7 1.8 Turbo, but I’d rather recommend the A4 B6 1.8 Turbo. The same car, half priced. I would recommend the fantastic Toyota Avensis T250, but most of the owners would die of heart attacks when they would floor it, and avoid death of old age.
It was heavily marketed as a sports car and came with lots of toys, depending on the country where it was sold. Front wheel drive for the mainstream versions, but there were also all wheel drive versions, limited split differential, active torque split and that juicy 2.3 turbocharged petrol that made the Mazda Speed6 / Mazda 6 MPS one dangerous animal on the road.
Mazda 6 GG Engines
- 1.8 NA MZR of 120 and 125 horsepower – The entry level engine and not too bad really, as this MZR is a pure Mazda engine. A very reliable and sporty engine, only that it constantly requires extra oil, so it’s good to check it from time to time. Otherwise, you don’t have to grab your wallet every second because it won’t cause you any issues. However, this 1.8 is only the aspirational engine for the aspirational driver.
- 2.0 NA MZR of 141 and 147 horsepower – By far the most balanced engine for the Mazda 6 GG. The same MZR powerplant only here it has adequate power. Do you want something safe, economical and diesel powered? Go buy a Passat. The Mazda 6 GG is for the spirited driver.
- 2.3 NA MZR of 166 horsepower – End of the road for the naturally aspirated petrol power for the Mazda 66 GG and definatelly the engine you want if you’re looking for performance-reliability balance. Sure, in Europe it might be stingier in the tax and insurance departments than the 2.0 MZR, but everywhere else this is the engine to go for if you want cheap and cheerful. And somewhat oil thirsty.
- 2.3 Turbo MZR L3-VDT DISI of 260 and 272 horsepower – This was the powerplant of the Mazda 6 MPS / Mazda Speed6. But all that extra grunt came with alot of extra issues so I wouldn’t bother with this engine too much. Turbochargers failing, timing chain failing, excessive fuel and oil consumption. Sure, the engine is alot of fun, but if you’re looking for cheap thrills then the Mazda Speed6 IS NOT THE CHEAP THRILL YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR.
- 3.0 Duratec V6 of 240 horsepower – This classic village bicycle of an engine from the Ford family powered the american Mazda 6 GG. It’s a simple, crude, reliable construction but I do have to point out the complementary overheating issues and that later in life it will stretch it’s chain and start to leak oil. And being an 3 litre naturally aspirated engine it also has the munchies for spark plugs and ignition coils. Sure, it may sound bad but pretty much everything apart from the timing chain is cheap to replace.
2.0 MZR-CD of 121 and 136 horsepower – All the diesel issues under the sun have gathered here. Another proof that the Japanese are not very good at diesel (and why would they be honestly, as Japan is not too big enough to justify a diesel powered car). The 5-speed manual gearbox tends to get stuck in 5th gear so it would be ideal to get the 6-speed version. Clogged EGR and premature wear of the flywheel and clutch. I’m sure you can also write some issues in the comments section and they might actually be true for this diesel. But atleast it’s decent enough for not having an particle filter, as things are about to get much worse with the following generations.
Mazda 6 GG Common Issues
- Rust on the fenders and door sills is probably the most famous issues with the Mazda 6 GG, or with 2005’s Mazdas in general. But atleast now in 2023 lots of 2005 cars have hoarded rust so an cheap Mazda 6 could get away with it.
- This generation Mazda 6 chomps on headlights even more than a student who had a few too many pints down at the pub and is now having the munchies for some traditional British kebabs.
- Engine mounts tend to wear out regardless of the engine. So put some money aside for that inevitable moment. This is if you don’t want to end up with the engine in your arms.
- The automatic gearbox gets a “meh” at best. Plus you don’t buy a Mazda with an automatic transmission. It’s like drinking beer without alcohol. Or smoking Vogue Slim Cigarettes. Or getting a punch in the face and a kick in the nads from car enthusiasts.
Mazda 6 GG Verdict
A lot of people did not understand this car and because of this Mazda 6 GG and Mazda as a whole have a bad reputation among people who are not car enthusiasts. Regular people expected this car to be a regular car, but it’s not. It’s a sports sallon. It’s one heck of a sports saloon. And buying a sports saloon with a diesel engine made by the Japanese, which regular people did, is a clear recipe for disaster. It’s like when you spit and you have the wind against you. But if you go for one of the legendary MZR gasoline engines, you understand what the Mazda 6 GG really is about.
Which engines do I recommend? If you’re from Europe and any country that punishes over 2 litre engines, then the 2 litre 147-horsepower MZR petrol engine, linked to a manual gearbox, is all the engine you need. If you understand the character of the car. If you’re in a country that doesn’t punish workig harder in life, then the 2.3 litre MZR petrol of 167 horsepower is the one to go for. The 3.0 V6 is lazier than it sounds and the 2.3 Turbo is just too problematic.