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I am going to be looking at couple Mazda 6 wagons tomorrow. There are a couple 2004s and 2005s. They are all automatic transmissions (My wife wants the automatic) and I know the 04 had a 5 speed auto whereas the 05 had the 6 speed auto. Is one better or more reliable than the other? How is the 6 speed auto geared differently than the 5 speed? Are there 2 overdrives or just a lower first?

I had a 2004 Mazda6 with manual tranny and I always felt it needed one more gear to get the cruising RPM down in the mid 2000 rpm. I am used to GM cars and V8s that can cruise at 2000-2400 I guess. I am hoping that the 6 speed auto allows the Mazda6 to do that.
 

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If all other things are equal, I'd take the 6-speed IMO. From all I've seen about the 5-speed on this forum, it tends to run a little warm, and could lead to premature failure if a transmission cooler isn't added. The 6-speed will also run at a lower RPM at highway speeds as well.
 
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