Mazda6 Mililani HI
2007 Mazda Mazda6 Mid-Size Sedan
By Derek Price
What was tested? 2007 Mazda Mazda6 i Sport Value Edition with Automatic ($20,630).
Price as tested: $20,630
If you ever want to learn about the limitations of science, just wait until you're about to fall asleep.
That's when, after blinking, nodding and stretching, you'll perform the scientifically unexplainable phenomenon known as a yawn.
Yes, the greatest minds in the history of the world have never been able to prove exactly why we yawn. There are plenty of good theories about it - that we need more oxygen in our blood before sleeping, that it raises our blood pressure and heart rate, that it equalizes the pressure in our eardrums, or even that it's a way of relieving stress - but no one knows the exact reason for this simple bodily function.
One thing is certain. If you want to create lots of yawns, you need to drive a front-wheel-drive sedan.
The lowly sedan is the best way to take something as exciting as a car - a fast-moving projectile propelled by thousands of explosions per minute - and make it more boring than a pair of leather loafers. It's like listening to a John Grisham novel being read by Ben Stein.
There are a handful of sedans available that elicit more yells than yawns - the BMW M3, Audi RS4, Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru WRX come to mind - but each of those come with huge price tags and rough suspensions that aren't ideal for hauling babies and groceries.
So, what if you want an affordable sedan that's not dull as a bucket of beige paint? Try driving this car, the awkwardly named Mazda6.
The Mazda6 is a four-door, front-wheel-drive sedan just like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, only it doesn't make you yawn. It feels like a bigger, heavier version of Mazda's MX-5 sports car.
When you turn this car into a corner, it doesn't just change direction. It hunkers down. It crouches. It gets ready to pounce, and then it springs into the corner like a lion tearing into a gazelle. It's in full attack mode.
You get the same feeling when you step on the accelerator. It doesn't have the same Hiroshima-caliber blast of power you'd feel in a muscle car like the Ford Mustang, but it does have an eagerness to wind up - an aural and tactile crescendo - that makes you want to drive it. Hard. And fast.Of course, the Mazda6 isn't all about excitement. It doesn't ride nearly as rough as a typical sports sedan, and the interior has plenty of features meant more for comfort than fun, including lots of cupholders, storage bins and electronic gadgets.
It starts around $19,000 and tops out at $27,000, plus options, for the Grand Touring model. One of the best bargains in the lineup is the new-for-2007 i Sport Value Edition, which includes 17-inch wheels, a power driver's seat, six-CD changer and more for $20,630.
That's not much money for a very fun-to-drive sedan.
It's amazingly fun to drive considering it's a four-door, front-wheel-drive ...