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Hi All,

A local dealer is letting me take an extended test drive (all day) in a 2004 Mazda6 Wagon. I stopped in at the dealer the other day because I wanted to pick up some info on the wagon and he happened to have a pretty good looking black wagon with leather seats etc. It must have just arrived because it they still need to clean it out and wash it.

I'm looking at this car because I have a 2002 WRX Wagon and two kids. The back seat is pretty cramped and premium gas ain't cheap. Other than that I love the car.

My commute starts with a bumper to bumper drive for about 20-30min and then I turn onto Hwy 17 (reverse commute) a twisty road over the Santa Cruz mountains. It's a 50mph road and I usually limit myself to 60 because there are a lot of cops and stupid driver. Passing power is a must because semis crawl up the road at 30mph. If you up on one in an uphill corner you either power around it or get stuck looking for a gap for the next 5-10min. Once you hit the summit you have a gut dropping decent with a lot of sweeping corners (bit slippery in the wet) with some funky asphalt in a few of them.

I have no illusions that the 6 wagon will accelerate as fast as or stick to the road (all-wheel drive) as well as the WRX but I used to make the same commute in a 97 Honda Civic and it was down right scary. I also had a Protoge5 for a while before my WRX. It was an OK car and handled worlds better than the Civic but in the end it just didn't have the power to comfortably drive over 17. I want to know what people think of their V6 wagons (or sedans) in terms of up hill passing power and handling. Specifically how would you rate this with an automatic? All of my past cars have had sticks but with all the time I spend in bad traffic (California Bay Area) I'm thinking an auto with manumatic shifting might be a reasonable compromise.

Lastly, have you guys heard anything bad (or good) about the reliablity of 2004 v6 wagons and has anyone moded the suspension or engine of a 04 wagon with any success.

Sorry this is so long but I really like my WRX and yet I don't really use it to its true potential because of traffic, time, and concerns about mileage every time I put my foot down and the turbo kicks in.

I'll post a review of my test drive in a couple days.
 

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Hi All,

A local dealer is letting me take an extended test drive (all day) in a 2004 Mazda6 Wagon. I stopped in at the dealer the other day because I wanted to pick up some info on the wagon and he happened to have a pretty good looking black wagon with leather seats etc. It must have just arrived because it they still need to clean it out and wash it.

I'm looking at this car because I have a 2002 WRX Wagon and two kids. The back seat is pretty cramped and premium gas ain't cheap. Other than that I love the car.

My commute starts with a bumper to bumper drive for about 20-30min and then I turn onto Hwy 17 (reverse commute) a twisty road over the Santa Cruz mountains. It's a 50mph road and I usually limit myself to 60 because there are a lot of cops and stupid driver. Passing power is a must because semis crawl up the road at 30mph. If you up on one in an uphill corner you either power around it or get stuck looking for a gap for the next 5-10min. Once you hit the summit you have a gut dropping decent with a lot of sweeping corners (bit slippery in the wet) with some funky asphalt in a few of them.

I have no illusions that the 6 wagon will accelerate as fast as or stick to the road (all-wheel drive) as well as the WRX but I used to make the same commute in a 97 Honda Civic and it was down right scary. I also had a Protoge5 for a while before my WRX. It was an OK car and handled worlds better than the Civic but in the end it just didn't have the power to comfortably drive over 17. I want to know what people think of their V6 wagons (or sedans) in terms of up hill passing power and handling. Specifically how would you rate this with an automatic? All of my past cars have had sticks but with all the time I spend in bad traffic (California Bay Area) I'm thinking an auto with manumatic shifting might be a reasonable compromise.

Lastly, have you guys heard anything bad (or good) about the reliablity of 2004 v6 wagons and has anyone moded the suspension or engine of a 04 wagon with any success.

Sorry this is so long but I really like my WRX and yet I don't really use it to its true potential because of traffic, time, and concerns about mileage every time I put my foot down and the turbo kicks in.

I'll post a review of my test drive in a couple days.
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I just bought a 6s sedan and it is pretty quick, but am already looking into trading in and buying the Speed6. It will have the AWD you are looking for and the quickness. Plus you can get them really cheap now. Dealers around me (MD) are selling for as low as 21,900 brand new.
 

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I want to know what people think of their V6 wagons (or sedans) in terms of up hill passing power and handling. Specifically how would you rate this with an automatic? All of my past cars have had sticks but with all the time I spend in bad traffic (California Bay Area) I'm thinking an auto with manumatic shifting might be a reasonable compromise.
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I've got a sedan with MTX, but the V6 pulls strongly with either transmission, as long as you get the revs north of 3500 RPM. I have driven the ATX a few times. Yeah, it's no MTX, but the manumatic will defintiely help you hit the right gear when attempting a pass. BTW, the handling is second to none, whether it's the sedan, wagon, or 5-door. Speaking of which, have you considered a 5-door? It's almost identical to the sedan, yet is as versatile (if not more) than the wagon. The hatch can easily swallow all the crap that comes with two kids. :)
Lastly, have you guys heard anything bad (or good) about the reliablity of 2004 v6 wagons...
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I haven't heard anything specific about the wagon, and all '04 models are very reliable (well, mine is anyway :) ) The only recommendation off the bat is to install a tranny cooler for the ATX, because they tend to run a little hot.

At least check out a 5-door before you do anything, and good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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Coming from a previous WRX (sedan) owner to my wagon... Power is quite different. Not in a bad way. Just miss the turbo. But there still is a good amount of power there.

I have a auto as well. Do yourself a favor if you're going to buy an auto. DO NOT drive the manual. You will know what you're missing power wise and regret it later. I thought the manual trans on these cars felt awesome compared to the auto. Passing up hill is not all that bad. I regularly drive in the mountains with a full load. Just bump it down a gear and it seems to keep pulling.

I had to get the wagon for the storage factor and the lower rear for the dog to jump into. Comes with a nice net that retracts to keep her back there too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Coming from a previous WRX (sedan) owner to my wagon... Power is quite different. Not in a bad way. Just miss the turbo. But there still is a good amount of power there.

I have a auto as well. Do yourself a favor if you're going to buy an auto. DO NOT drive the manual. You will know what you're missing power wise and regret it later. I thought the manual trans on these cars felt awesome compared to the auto. Passing up hill is not all that bad. I regularly drive in the mountains with a full load. Just bump it down a gear and it seems to keep pulling.

I had to get the wagon for the storage factor and the lower rear for the dog to jump into. Comes with a nice net that retracts to keep her back there too.
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Hi Boozted,

So far I have driven my regular commute into work. Power seems pretty good and if I drop into 3rd on the up hill I can make some confidence inspiring passes. I'm trying to get my head wrapped around the steering. It feels like it has a very possitve center but when you wiggle the wheel the car rocks a lot. I'm thinking changing the sway bars out for something stiffer might help.

You look like you have done a lot to your car. What suspension mods did you do? Is it worth it to go with the shorter springs for a lower center of gravity without changing the struts (big difference in cost). If you just do springs is it a shitty ride or still a reasonable daily driver.

What made you decide to get rid of the WRX?

Thanks
 

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I have the exact car you are looking at, Cxracer. I would have loved the stick, but could not find any loaded up with all the options. Also, the wagon is the only 6 with a standard aux tranny cooler. It's rather small, but must be enough to do the job. I commute in rush hour traffic and have two kids as well. The ATX is slower off the line than the stick, but I don't drag race. I really like how the manual mode works - you can red line and it won't shift automatically so you can hold any gear you want. Works great for downshifting. You can also start in second gear and hold it if you wish to avoid a lot of 1-2 shifting in rush hour. Very cool. It's not as fast shifting as the fancy DSG/SMG auto's VW/Audi have since those use two clutch packs. I find it works pretty darn good.

I added the MazdaSpeed CAI to mine. You can also use the CPE, but it costs 150% more. Either way, the aux tranny cooler on the wagon interferes with the cone filter on CAIs, so you have to rotate the pipe to reposition the filter, or relocate the tranny cooler. I'm planning to relocate my cooler so I can properly mount the CAI. Righ now I have it kinda rigged, but it works.

This car has tons of storage space and it more usable storage space than the 5 door hatch. You can easily put larger items behind the rear seat in the wagon and still close the hatch. Also, the wagon has more rear headroom for any tall adults that may ride back there. The spec's show a minimal difference in cu. ft. of storage between the two, but don't let that fool you into a false sense of usability. I love the wagon and it fairly rare to see another one on the road which makes it quite unique.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just bought a 6s sedan and it is pretty quick, but am already looking into trading in and buying the Speed6. It will have the AWD you are looking for and the quickness. Plus you can get them really cheap now. Dealers around me (MD) are selling for as low as 21,900 brand new.
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AWD is great but I won't be going in the snow with this vehical and a well handeling front drive car should be able to get over HWY 17 in a downpour without too much more drama than an AWD. Also, I'm trying to get away from premium gas and begining to think that while a stick is a lot of fun, it can be a pain when I am sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on HWY 85.

Someone at work told me that the 04 V6s have been much more reliable than the 05s. Anyone have a comment on that?

This is a 04 with about 32k on it and the sport package (leather, etc) but the previous owner has managed to curb every rim and the interior is slightly worn. Any thoughts on what I should ask for if I decide to put in an offer (purchasing from a dealer).
 

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I have a wagon and I am familiar with Hwy 17. I can say the wagon will fill your needs nicely and take all of the curves out of the road. I have had no problems with my 2004 wagon, it is a rare MTX and it gets better every year.

I'd jump on it and drive it and drive it and drive it! Hope you ejoyed the test drive and made the move to the darkside of wagon ownership!
 

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My 05 wagon is simply the most enjoyable car with useful cargo space that I have ever owned. I have not driven the 5sp ATX, but love my 6spd ATX everywhere but off the line.
 

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Viva La Capitola, long live Margaritaville.
 

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I have a 04 wagon and I have had no issues, it has been solid as a rock for me. I have lowered it and surprisingly it does not feel "lowered" it is a daily driver and if my wife isn't complaining about the ride then it aint that bad.

I can't speak to the ATX as mine is a MTX, but no complaints here.


 

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I have the wagon you are looking at AND I have driven the highway you are talking about. I live in Minnesota now but I used to live in San Jose and would take infrequent trips to the beach on that road.

I love my wagon and I would say that with the manual mode you will do well over that pass but you must keep the rpms above say 3500 to pass. My tranny hesitates before downshifting so there is a bit of preplanning involved as I don't use the manual mode often, I've just gotten used to the way it shifts. If yours does the same then you will either get used to it or use manual more often.

The handling, as you know, is awesome for a wagon. With the proper tires you would be ok, especially in the summer with stickies.

I would warn you however with gas prices as they are (even now that they have dropped) and you being in the most expensive gas area in the country that your gas mileage will probably drop to say 14-18 mpg. Those hills and curves burn it up, but if that is not a problem then get the wagon. I have had mine for about 3 months and I bought it with 19,900 mies. I have now about 25,000 and it hasn't given me a lick of problems. Treat her well and she'll return the favor.

Good Luck.
 
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