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Mazda6 Sedan

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Comments

  • jbhogenjbhogen Posts: 21
    Got pounded by my "friends" for my 99 Pro ES as it got widely adopted by rental car agencies. Thought I was free and clear for a while with the 6s, but yesterday an identical steel grey metallic parked next to me at work (Hertz neverlost stuck to the dash). Oh well, good thing I like driving mine so much, a little ribbing won't hurt (much). ;)
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "This is because the owners reporting the info to CR and JD Powers are not a random sample, and they're not objective. It's still good info (and it's all we've got), but it's flawed."

    I couldn't agree more!

    CR's "owners" are their subscribers. Think about who reads their magazine and the picture becomes more clear. Their samples for each vehicle are about as un-random as you can get!

    A breakdown of their subscriber demographics and/or a list of how many people submitted their form for each vehicle would go a long way in helping us determine how accurate the data is.

    Yes the Escape and Tribute got pounded by J.D. and CR when they were introduced, and yes they do recommend them now. That being said, it has become more obvious that they originally based their ratings on the early recalls and had absolutely no clue as to what was going on.

    CR and J.D. have no idea how many problems per vehicle exist. Only the manufacturers have that information and they aren't going to release it any time soon. Imagine what would happen to Honda and Toyota if that information was made public! ;)
  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    While the CR and JD Powers surveys do have flaws, I think the reason that I pay attention to their information is that it generally backs up anecdotal evidence I have read on most makes.

    Maybe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but most brands rated very reliable by CR are, in fact, very reliable. Its report of the 6, for example, seems to be very accurate except for the stain issue which did not become known until after it published its report.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "Maybe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but most brands rated very reliable by CR are, in fact, very reliable."

    Prove it! ;)

    It matters more to me that I like the vehicle before I buy it. No matter what any mag says about a vehicle's reliability you still run the risk of getting a lemon (I have a crappy Civic which was rated very highly by CR and J.D. in 1996) so you might as well pick what you want rather than what they say you want.

    "Its report of the 6, for example, seems to be very accurate except for the stain issue which did not become known until after it published its report."

    SEEMS to be?

    I would think that most Mazda6 owners, or maybe even the majority of Mazda owners, don't subscribe to a non-enthusiast mag such as CR thus eliminating them from the "random sample". Who then are they getting their info from? Average Joe's who don't know a rust stain from their little finger? Who bought a Mazda6i AT because it was a "great deal" at the time and CR said it was OK to do so?

    I'm not saying the 6 is a heap. I think it's a great car and I wish all of you the best of luck with it. But the fact is CR leaves too much information out of the equation for us to gain a proper perspective. Sure their little circles are clean and easy to read, but you sometimes have to look past the glitter and figure out what they are really telling you. Which is not as much as you think.

    As was mentioned before, CR, J.D. IC, etc. do serve a purpose. I agree with that and that we have nothing better to go by at this time. However, they prove nothing and using their ratings to say "My car is better than yours" (not that any of you did) is just plain wrong.

    Many owners on this thread think CR's Mazda6 rating is right on! But there are others that wish CR would just make like a tree...
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    "Got pounded by my "friends" for my 99 Pro ES as it got widely adopted by rental car agencies..."

    Tell them to get a life.
  • ever kissed a girl? Criticizing you because your car happens to also be available in a local rental fleet?

    I would also advise you to tell them to get a life, but they probably woudn't know where to start!
  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    Nothing to prove. As I said, anecdotal stories are just information people relate to one another about their experiences. When dozens of Whatevermobile owners tell me their cars are great, that is useful information. When several others tell me that their Watchamacallits are heaps, that gives me pause before I look at that model.

    What makes you think M6 owners or Mazda owners in general don't read CR? Mazda does seek to fill niches, but it is by and large a traditional auto company selling traditional vehicles. Many of its customers probably fit that profile. Rich would know more about that.

    CR presents its information and tells you how it was compiled. Use or ignore that information as you see fit.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "CR presents its information and tells you how it was compiled. Use or ignore that information as you see fit."

    That's what I do. ;)

    "What makes you think M6 owners or Mazda owners in general don't read CR?"

    Just from the "sample" I see on these boards. Most seem to be enthusiasts (Meaning they care how fun the vehicle is to drive) to some extent.

    However, I personally only know two people who drive Mazda's, both Protege's, right now and neither of them are enthusiasts. Both are females from different age groups who wanted economical "cute" cars. That's what they got.

    I actually turned the one away from an '03 Civic and pushed here towards the Protege' when she asked my opinion (I'm the local car guy/idiot I guess you could say). She consulted with CR and decided I was right. It really is a better car. :)

    Those are the two exceptions though. My cousin's husband bought a Miata back in the early ninieties because he loves to drive and it was the best thing going at the time.

    A lot of Tribute owners on Escape/Tribute boards bought their vehicles because the Tribute does have a slightly sportier ride (I test drove one and agree) than the Escape. They needed an SUV and the sportier the better.

    Anyway, I consider myself an enthusiast to an extent as well, and I KNOW I wouldn't base my decision on what a magazine says let alone subscribe to one that glorifies appliances on wheels one day and tests light bulb longevity or carpet cleaners the next. There are certain rules we must follow.

    I just don't see Mazda owners, who tend to be enthusiasts, subscribing to CR. I see them as MT or C&D readers instead.

    Seriously though. Look at what is talked about around here and compare it to the "my car is great and it gets great gas mileage, and it has low emissions, and it has..." drone over on the Camcord threads. Who cares! How does it take a hairpin turn at 60 mph?! :)
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    CR sends out questionnaries to their subcriber base and gets about 675K back. From this they report the number of problems people have with their cars. That's all there is to it. No secret or hidden agendas, no biases.

    Yes, you can argue that their sample isn't big enough, or that somehow their sample gets skewed and is not representative of the population of car owners as a whole. But the point you're missing is that any sampling error is occuring across all makes and models and all CR does is compare rates between models. For there to be consistent bias, say against the M6, then you'd have to argue that somehow M6 owners are reporting problems more frequently than other owners.

    It's not a perfect sample and the absolute numbers probably aren't that good. But used as a relative tool to compare reliability between brands, it's darn good data and the only thing we've got. And their data seems to back up the anecotal data we get from boards like this - the M6 has had some problems, but there is no groundswell of issues like you see with cars like the Grand Cherokee.

    - Mark
  • 1wiseguy1wiseguy Posts: 120
    I agree- mileage discussions were boring me as well.

    My wife gave me a hard time when I bought my 6 V6, telling me that I didn't "need" a 6 cyl car and that a 4 would do just fine.

    Just yesterday she was saying how much she liked the car, how fast it heats up compared to her Honda, etc. (And when it's 25 below zero that matters!) When I asked her if she still felt the same way about 6 cyl cars she said she finally understood what I was talking about.
  • I've subscribed to CR for probably 15 years. As far as car ratings are concerned, I definitely consult my CR magazines and annual book before I buy a vehicle. I had a '84 Cougar that was a POS, which I found out about 6 months after I bought it. Sure enuf - when I later subscribed and looked it up in CR, all the major problems that I had with my Cougar, had little black circles next to them for my model year. One of my friends (who has GM vehicles due to family discounts) consults it also and has found the same thing with her cars - the ratings and "problem areas" to be very accurate. When I bought my '91 Mazda MX-6 in 1993, which I had never even HEARD of before that time, I consulted the CR ratings and found it to be almost all "Excellent" or "Very Good". Sure enuf - 11 years later I still have that old car and it's been a very good one at that. When my parents needed a new (used) car a few years ago - my dad's a Ford man who likes big comfy cars - they found a '97 or '98 Crown Vic with low miles at the local Ford dealer where they always have gone. I looked it up first and it was one of the Recommended Used Cars, and the ratings were quite good. They've had it now for about 3 years or so and haven't had anything other than regular maintenance issues. I ALWAYS consult CR before I make a major purchase, whether it's a vehicle, large appliance, TV, lawnmower, etc. And so far I've always found their ratings to be very accurate as far as my buying experience has been concerned. We get the annual survey and fill it out honestly every year, nothing both good AND bad things about our cars, etc.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "But the point you're missing is that any sampling error is occurring across all makes and models and all CR does is compare rates between models."

    Actually it's not. They don't use equal samples for each vehicle so they can't all have the same sampling error. Here in medical research we have to use equal samples when comparing say, two or more medications in order to get good results. Will it work with unequal samples? Sure, but that will raise some red flags.

    USAToday wrote a column about this last year but I can't link you to it anymore because they want me to pay for it now.

    Anyway the jist of it was that for 2001 CR received fewer than the required 100 completed surveys to rank the Pontiac Grand Am but yet they received more than enough to rate the MB SLK convertible. Sales for those models were 182,000 and 11,000 respectively.

    Does that sound like a good sample to you?

    "CR sends out questionnaries to their subcriber base and gets about 675K back. From this they report the number of problems people have with their cars. That's all there is to it. No secret or hidden agendas, no biases."

    Two problems with that. One, it's not random because the same people fill out the same survey and mail it back in every single year. Two, CR does not tell us how many surveys were returned for each make and model.

    You have to remember that the 675k they receive back is then sorted/divided out for each of several hundred different vehicles. A lot of those are probably thrown out for various reasons too.

    "For there to be consistent bias, say against the M6, then you'd have to argue that somehow M6 owners are reporting problems more frequently than other owners."

    See, now that's another problem because that CAN happen. It becomes an even bigger problem if the vehicle's survey count is low. I'm quite sure it doesn't happen often, but I'm also quite sure that it does happen.

    "And their data seems to back up the anecotal data we get from boards like this"

    I always like to use the Escape and Tribute as examples because they were initially rated very poorly by CR despite what owners on various boards like this were saying about their reliability. Now they are recommended even though nothing has changed since they were introduced. It took three years for CR to figure that out. That means for three years CR and board members disagreed.

    I understand that many people read and trust CR and that's fine. To reiterate what was said before, it's all we've got. People just shouldn't be surprised if they get a lemon after buying a CR top pick. Their circles are only a guide, and not fact. They prove nothing.

    I'm sorry to go on about this but I can't resist a good CR discussion. I'll try to stop now. ;)
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    Owners of more expensive or higher rated cars WILL report fewer problems, regardless of the actual problems. It's human nature. In addition, owners of different brands and models have different perceptions of actual problems (or lack of perception or problems entirely).
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    The Tribute and Escape are rated higher now because their reliability data has improved. There was no "mistake": The early ones sucked, and the ones they're producing now are better. If you look back, you'll see that CR continues not to recommend the early models. The Tribute/Escape are just following the typical trajectory of new models - poor reliability initially improving as the factories learn how to built them better.

    There is nothing to indicate people with higher-rated cars or more expensive cars will report more problems. In fact, just the opposite has been hypothesized - that owners of MB, BMW, Volvo, etc. cars will actually be much more picky than the owner of say, a F-150 pickup. In any event, the thing that keeps getting missed is that one should use the CR data to compare across similar cars, not as absolute measures. If one is interested in buying a sports car, then one would look at the relative data for a Corvette vs. a S2000, not the Corvette vs. the Prius.

    All the other issues about sampling error are have some validity - it's not a perfect sample, by any stretch. That's not the issue. The issue is whether the sample is statistically significant in predicting the likely reliability of a given car. I think it is, and statsticians who have studied CR's data think it is.

    - Mark
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    RE: CR

    When people agree with them they are the "bible", when they don't it's "biased".

    Anyway, local dealers here still have quite a few left over 2003 models, mostly 4 cylinder 6i's. But considering the 6 was introduced late into the 03 model year, it's not too bad.
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    I still read it, but I don't take everything they write as the absolute truth.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "That's not the issue. The issue is whether the sample is statistically significant in predicting the likely reliability of a given car."

    I'll agree with you there. >= 100 surveys for each vehicle is statistically significant. I have no problem with that. But people use their data for comparisons. That's where things start to get iffy.

    "The Tribute and Escape are rated higher now because their reliability data has improved. There was no "mistake": The early ones sucked, and the ones they're producing now are better."

    So the magic dust is working then?

    I'll just agree to disagree.

    "The Tribute/Escape are just following the typical trajectory of new models - poor reliability initially improving as the factories learn how to built them better."

    Then why do we need CR? We all know you should never buy a first year model because it's bound to have some bugs that the factory has to work out. All CR does for us is represent that information graphically. With little black and red circles.

    Even the almighty Camcords follow that rule. You just won't see it represented in CR because they PREDICT the reliability for most first year models based on the last gen model if one exists. And they seem to work the bugs out a little faster than average.

    tomcat,
    Most of the '03 6i's left around here have an AT too.

    Even though I'm committed to buying an '05 or '06 Mustang I still visit the Mazda lot on a Sunday every now and then to check out the latest deals and wheels. I guess you could say my test drive of the Mazda6 left a good impression on me. ;)
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Actually Accords and Camrys have not shown the typical poor reliability in the first year of a new model like the typical Euro cars do. That's the point - there are difference in reliability between models based on lots and lots of factors, that defy generalization. You spot them by collecting lots of lots of data and statistically analyzing them.

    Predicting reliablity is not some intractable problem that defies a statistical analysis. You process 675K surveys and you glean some useful information. It's not gospel, and it is one of many things to use in selecting a car, but it is definitely VERY useful.

    - Mark
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "It's not gospel, and it is one of many things to use in selecting a car, but it is definitely VERY useful."

    Actually quite useless. But then again you have to get the lemon to understand why, it is useless.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    "Actually Accords and Camrys have not shown the typical poor reliability in the first year of a new model like the typical Euro cars do. "

    Not according to CR they don't but if you visit their forums you'll find out they actually do have the same little problems all other vehicles do.

    You can't base that on what CR says about first year vehicles because they usually don't have enough data to use in their final rating. They will use, and correct me if I'm wrong or if they have changed their methods, a previous rating and note that they didn't have sufficient data. How is that useful? We've seen how ratings can vary from year to year so how can we expect that method to work all the time?

    What's the 6 going to look like next time? With all the rust you hear about around here and the addition of a recall or two I'd expect it to rate poorly.

    But does it really deserve it? Is a bad paint job on a specific batch of copies grounds for a well known magazine to move it to its "avoid" list? If Mazda6 owners actually subscribe to CR and are honest on their surveys it will.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I believe CR's methodology is as follows:

    In April, they publish a comprehensive year-by-year, system-by-system reliability report - this is the one with the columns of red, black, and gray dots.

    This report is a straightforward reporting of the survey numbers. If they have a statistically significant number of surveys received for any given year/model, they'll make a report, otherwise, they say "insufficient data". The report simply gives the number of "defects" reported by owners for that particularly make/model/year, expressed as a percentage of the total number of surveys they got (e.g., 3% of 2003 M6 owners reported problems with their A/C system).

    They also publish an "average chart" which allows one to see whether the reported percentage is above or below average for that vintage of car for each system (e.g., the average 2002 car had 2% of the owners report problems with their A/C system). They also report an aggregate percentage number for the entire car.

    That's it - just a straightforward reporting of how many defects were reported by owners in any given car on any given year in any given system which you can compare to average numbers for cars of that vintage. No interpretation. You can object to the surveys not being representative, but you have to argue that somehow defects are overrepresnented or underrepresented for a given make/model. Frankly, I don't see why M6 owners would be any more likely to report (or not report) problems than Accord or Camry owners.

    Then there are their reliability predictions which are a different animal and do have some interpretation involved. Throughout the year, they publish ratings of cars. In it they'll attempt to make a prediction of the reliability of the model they are testing. If it is a new model (or a heavily revised version of an existing model) they'll say "unknown - new model"; if it is a model for which they have data from a previous year and the car hasn't been radically changed, they'll infer the reliability from the years previous.

    As you note, this may tend to penalize a new model in the 2nd year of production if it had a bad first year and the 2nd year it has improved. Such is life; a prediction can't be perfect and all you can do is use the data you have available to you.

    I think they do make exceptions to their rule of not making a reliability prediction for certain makes that have a history of very reliable first-year models. Every Accord produced since it first came (25 years now) has shown good reliability, so when a new Accord model comes out, often a very evolutionary update of a previous model, they'll go ahead and make a prediction. You probably call foul - I call good judgement.

    The final bit of interpretation they do is to never recommend a model for which they do not make a reliability prediction or where the reliability prediction is below average. Their philosophy on this is that in any given car category there are good reliable models, so why would anyone gamble on a car which is showing below average reliability? However, it should be noted that they never penalize an unreliable car in their relative rankings, so one can always ignore their binary "Recommended" list and go with their raw ratings. (I did this when I bought a Mercedes ML - I was willing to look past the spotty reliability of this SUV to get the SUV I otherwise wanted. And FWIIW, while I'm happy with the SUV, but I have had a few problems with it - Okay with me so far, I went in with my eyes wide open.)

    Again, this methodology is not perfect, but it is the best we've got and quite a bit better than throwing darts, relying solely on a car's reputation, or relying on anecdotal data we get on forums like this.

    - Mark
  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    Haven't we ridden this horse far enough? Let's get back to the 6.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    Your experience with your MB reiterates what I've been saying all along. CR's ratings prove nothing and you have to make the decision yourself.

    I've read posts from many users who bought their vehicles based on reports like CR's. Are they planning on buying a better car, like the Mazda6, in their next life?

    Unless something is terribly wrong with a particular model, a la the Suzuki Samurai, I don't see why any enthusiast would question their gut feeling and buy what a magazine tells them to buy.

    ramped,
    This board had very little action as of late. Someone had to keep it open. I guess all of you are just happy as pigs in poop driving your 6's you don't have time to type! ;)
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    WE ARE JUST WAITING FOR THE WAGONS AND HATCHES TO REACH THE SHOWROOMS!
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    ACCORDING TO REPORTS, THE FIRST HATCH WILL BE BUILT NEXT WEEK!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    AND SINCE THIS IS THE SEDANS DISCUSSION, IT'S NOT THE RIGHT PLACE TO BE WAITING FOR THE WAGONS AND HATCHES!

    :D

    (just kidding of course, couldn't stop myself!)
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    YOU GOT IT!
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    The wagon and hatch appeal to enthusiasts on here, but I wonder if new car buyers will actaully take them home?
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    1. Reliable
    2. Fun to Drive
  • boxfanboxfan Posts: 180
    "The wagon and hatch appeal to enthusiasts on here, but I wonder if new car buyers will actaully take them home?"

    Well, maybe. It'll help if Mazda advertises them ("The Mazda6 Family") because very few people will know about them when they come out. I do think that people looking a midsized wagon will become aware of them, because there are so few out there (Passat, Saturn, uh...the Focus is smaller and the Taurus is bigger). As opposed to midsized sedans, where the 6 gets lost in the crowd.
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