Help Me Select a Wagon



  • mtv65mtv65 Member Posts: 45
    We will continue our quest for that 'perfect' sport wagon............(to be continued).
  • makakiomakakio Member Posts: 25
    Hi all - California car shopper here and I'm down to considering 2 wagon models:

    1) VW Passat GLS 1.8 Tip (optioned to MSRP $29k)
    2) Mazda 6 "sportwagon" (optioned to MSRP $28k)

    I've driven both and have to say that I like the styling, solidity and quality of materials in the Passat. It is clearly more upscale. That said, I would have to dump the stock wheels and install an aftermarket Eibach sport suspension (plus bigger rear sway) to get it to handle like the M6 - and even then I'd still not have the 6's excellent steering feel. I'd also chip the Passat with a mild upgrade good for 212hp and 207lb-ft (the local dealer in Santa Cruz is chip-friendly), so all told we're only talking $3,500.

    Interestingly, they both feel like they accelerate at the same pace, only the delivery is different: the M6 is dead down low and the 1.8T kicks in the power much lower on the rpm scale and much faster. The M6 sounds happier at 5600rpm. But both have a lag. Unfortunately the Passat TDI is not for sale in CA and won't be to my knowledge anytime soon.

    So of my choicedss here, the biggest concern to me (and many out here) is fuel economy. The chip upgrade cuts only 1mpg off the 1.8's numbers and the reports I've seen consistently note about 22-23 city and 30-31 highway. It does run on premium.

    I don't know what type of fuel the M6 runs on and I am concerned about EPA ratings that suggest 19/26 (the only data I have on the M6 fuel economy except that a majority of feedback here at Edmunds lists their opinion of fuel economy for the various M6 models at 7.0 or below), because in my experience EPA ratings are about 15-20% optimistic (meaning that we're really talking 16-17/22-23 for the M6). This seems pretty weak for a new car. My 4100lb 1993 MB 190 2.6 achieves a combined 23mpg!

    So I'm left thinking that the M6 is cheaper, more fun to drive in stock setup and certainly a nice car, but the Passat kills it on the miles-per-gallon equation. Am I missing something important or would anyone care to comment?
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    The 6 will likely be more reliable, extrapolating from past history on the Passat and the sedan version of the 6. Of course, this is the first year the AAI plant will be building the wagon version of the 6.

    I think most 6s owners have been averaging combined fuel economy of mid-20s. The wagon should be similar, if a tad lower due to its aerodynamics and about 100lbs more of mass. A lot depends on how hard and often you accelerate. However, the 6 engine only requires regular fuel.

    I've friends who have been happy with their Passat wagons, despite the occasional non-regular service call (windows coming out of their tracks, occasional electrical gremlins like lights always burning out). I don't know anyone with a 6 wagon yet, but ones with 6 sedans have been pretty happy with them too (none of them [OK, just the local ones] have 6 sedans with the "staining" issue, which apparently has been resolved as I haven't heard of it in a long while).
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:

    "...but ones with 6 sedans have been pretty happy with them too (none of them [OK, just the local ones] have 6 sedans with the "staining" issue, which apparently has been resolved as I haven't heard of it in a long while)."

    Eh? Spare us the effort of having to look this up... what is the "Staining issue?" Thanks!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    From what I heard Mazda used a soapy lubricant to help slide the door trim on. Some of it was spiked with a chemical that later made some cars begin to rust along the door edges.

    Whether that's resolved or not depends on who you ask - some owners are not happy with Mazda's response and if you Google "Mazda6 rust" you'll find a few of them.

    Of course the Passat has its issues, too, the ignition coil thingy was pretty bad.

    Nobody's perfect.

  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Depending on how many miles you drive it can take years for the better mpg of the VW to make up for the added cost (if you make the mods stated - and the engine mod doesn't result in a greater mpg drop).

    My experience is my cars average (mix of driving in SoCal) about the city EPA number, though they usually get close to the highway number during freeway only driving.

    Here is a very rough calculation based on the VW's EPA 21/30 vs. The Mazda's 19/26:

    If you drive 16K miles per year and average 20 mpg with the VW you will use 800 gallons per year. At $2.50 per gallon for premium (I saw $2.92 in LA today) you would spend $2000 per year on fuel for the VW.

    The Mazda will probably average about 12.5% less mpg, meaning 17.5 mpg, or about 914 gallons used each year. At $2.30 per gallon for regular you would spend a little over $2100 per year. Using only sticker price difference ($1000) it will take 9 years or so to break even buying the VW based on just fuel cost. If the Mazda requires premium the years to break even would be close to four years. If you make the $3500 mods to the VW, you will most likely not keep the car long enough to come close to breaking even based on fuel costs alone.

    You may find the difference in costs to insure to be higher than the difference in yearly fuel cost.

    In short, buy what you like most and enjoy it. The $100 or so difference in fuel cost each year (at today's prices) shouldn't be enough to be a major factor in the purchase decision.

    I'd like to get a TDI in CA too. Had two VW Rabbit oil burners years ago (one was a turbo) and liked the 45 mpg average (and the 1000 mile range with the 15 gal aux. tank added).

    The current Passat body style has been around for quite a while. Isn't VW about to introduce a more up to date model or maybe it is the Jetta that is getting updated?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Passat came out in 1998 IIRC, and it's really only had a face lift since then. The platform dates back to the 1997 Audi A4. It's over due for an update, IMO.

    OTOH, that was a heck of a platform to begin with.

    But yeah, pics of the 2005 replacement are already out there, check the Future Models threads.

    Any how, as far as the cost goes, these are in the same ball park to pick the one you like best. Being happy is far more important than saving $100 per year on gas.

  • tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
    I've narrowed down my purchase choice to a Jetta TDI, manual transmission, wagon with ESP. Now I have to choose trimline + other options. Normally I would look for comething close to the base GL and only those options that really enhance performance or saftey. However, these cars are a little scarce in my area.
    I have a choice between the GL w/ESP (with a long drive or long wait to get it) or the GLS w/ESP and possibly leather (more easily available, but for $2k - $3k more).
    Are there any problems I should be aware of with the GLS or leather-upholstered cars? Such as: reliability problems w/sunroofs, or positive/negative impact on resale value in going to GLS?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Those are desirable options that should be easy to resell, IMO.

  • hammer760hammer760 Member Posts: 15
    I'll throw my 2 cents in here since I will shortly own the M6 wagon. I just threw a deposit down on a loaded M6 wagon that will be here (SoCal) in the next 2 weeks. I currently own a 2000 Passat 1.8T wagon and have nothing but good to say about this vehicle. I have had zero mechanical problems with it and it still runs like a gem. It's getting up there in mileage (99,500) so it's time to say goodbye to "Pete the Passat" and hello "Marvin the Mazda". I was wavering between purchasing a new Passat, but the Mazda just had too much to offer for the price:

    - $24,767 loaded V6 vs. 30K+ for the VW
    - SAME mpg as V6 Passat but can fill up with REGULAR unleaded! Cha ching.
    - In dash 6 CD player vs. changer in rear cargo area.
    - Seats fold FLAT in rear on the M6.
    - Fresher styling on the M6 vs. the same Passat platform for the last 5+ years.

    I could go on and on but I think you get the jist. The only negative I can find is that the 6 does not offer an AWD, but that's what chains are for when it snows. I had an extensive test drive (20-25 minutes) and the M6 drove fantastically. It's not as peppy off the line as the 1.8T Passat but it really shines on the freeway. I'll update this forum with how the new Mazda works out after a week or so of driving. Wish me luck!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Good luck and congrats in advance.

    Keep us posted with comparisons/contrasts.

  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Member Posts: 81
    I owned a Mazda 626 V6 and really liked the car. I wanted to replace it with a wagon. Passat, Saab 95, Volvo, Subaru Outback (H6, 2.5T) were too pricey for me. I didn't test drive and compare everything, but did drive a Mazda6. It probably had better speaker system (but stereo itself isn't as good) and definitely more room behind the rear seats. I like the styling of the PT GT (not everyone does), and it seemed more peppy to me (2.4l hi output turbo). The Mazda had a smoother suspension over rough roads, but I liked the way the PT felt and handled. Mazda probably had a quieter ride also, but I didn't notice a major difference. I needed to have the Mazda at 4500 rpm to get the same power I was getting and 3500 rpm on the PT. Both seemed a little more gutless than I expected at 2500 rpms. I think the Mazda6 is a great car, but chose the PT. Chrysler also had better rebate incentives. I got mine for around $6k under MSRP. I tested similar options -- fully loaded.
  • isda65isda65 Member Posts: 74
    I was in a dealership last week inquiring about a Jetta Diesel to use for office and bringing kids to and from school. My daily routine is a 5km trip to school then about 400m to office. I was told the diesel is not the right choice that it prefers long drives as it runs well when heated up. If not what's the worse that could happen? Was the dealership right?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Member Posts: 1,308
    Your dealer is right. I think if your driving style/distances are more conducive to a fuel efficient gas engine (I wouldn't recommend a hybrid, either; driving that far every day, you'd need many, many years to recoup the savings in gas over the initial purchase price.) Diesels are more efficient over longer distances.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    Diesels can be ok for short trips provided you give them sufficient work to do. By that, I mean a loaded vehicle where the engine gets to develop its torque freely and frequently. If you're in a hilly area, it might not be that bad an idea.

    For years, I commuted all of 6 miles between home and work with my Dodge Ram diesel. Engine never complained. These days, my commute is almost 40 miles each way (I moved, job didn't), and to be honest, my fuel economy is about the same. The engine is moving nearly 7000 pounds of truck, so it has work to do, which is probably the reason it has given me over 110,000 on the odo after 8 years.

    isda, before you completely bail on the idea of a diesel, give one a good test drive and see if you give it a decent workout in your usual driving style.

    Smart Shopper and Wagons Message Boards
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Diesels are much more fuel efficient in stop and go driving when compared to a gasoline powered car. As speeds increase the advantage, from a mpg point of view, decreases.

    All gasoline engine cars need a warm up period too. The engines use a richer mixture until the engine reaches normal operating temperatures.

    The Prius retains engine heat and if used daily doesn't need a warm up period like most cars.

    Diesels have a couple of major advantages in stop and go driving. First, they use a lot less fuel at idle. Second, diesels usually develop more torque and at lower engine speeds than similar size gasoline engines - meaning you use less gas(accelerator) pedal in stop and go driving with a diesel, which means better mpg.

    I've had two VW diesel cars and the faster I went the smaller the mpg advantage over the same car with a gasoline engine.

    About 40% of cars sold in Europe are diesel powered because in the long run they cost less to operate.

    Diesel cars cost more to buy, but get better mpg and usually diesel fuel costs less than gasoline.

    If you don't put many miles on a car the miles per gallon a vehicle gets should not be a major factor in your purchase decision. I see you posted in the help me select a wagon topic, so that leaves out the Prius as an alternate choice. Personally, I like them very much, but they are not much fun to drive.

    If you still want a VW diesel be sure to check with the dealer and find out of the VW takes a special engine oil available only from the dealer. If so, this can be a hidden additional expense that takes away from fuel used savings.

    PT GT comment for post 526: The PT GT with an automatic transmission feels very quick at low speeds. Turbo lag is nil and because the of the torque converter the engine seems like it is always in the power band, even from just above idle. Even with the performance of the GT I'd trade it for a PT TDI if DC makes them available in the US. Found that adding the formerly standard rear sway bar helped stability, cornering, and improved the ride over irregular rough spots in the road.
  • isda65isda65 Member Posts: 74
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I still have one question though that I need to have a clear answer.

    What happens then if the distance and my driving style is not adequate to give the diesel the required workout both in the short and long term?
  • vincentwangvincentwang Member Posts: 42
    Mazda 6 wagon, Subaru legacy wagon or Chev Malibu Maxx?

    Compare these for a long time, which one is better in longterm?
    Personally I prefer a stick, so Maybe just M6 and legacy left here.
    I just curious why the OHV on Maxx have better MPG? is that a funny stuff?
    And why these wagon offering 1500-2500 cash rebate in states now but zero in Canada?

    Also, i might consider the 05 jetta TDI Wagon once it offer a stronger engin, maybe the one use on Passat currently. But can't find any detail information about it.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    isda65: Diesels don't need a workout. Chances are the dealer means your kind of driving doesn't take full advantage of diesel engine characteristics. Diesels excel at pulling from low speeds and because of the extra torque they have at low engine speeds, do very will with heavy loads when compared with a gasoline engine. All this means for your light load, short distance type of driving is that the economy advantage of the diesel may be less than one might expect.

    My cousin has four diesel vehicles. One is a motor home, so let's leave that one out. His Dodge truck is used locally, usually for short drives, with light or no loads. No problems. His older Passat TDI (new one on order) was used in a mix of driving and was usually driven solo. No problems and the mpg was close to the EPA numbers. The other one is an S-Class Mercedes diesel and is used mostly for long haul. No problems either. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my two VW diesels were trouble free. I used them mostly for very short distance driving (1 to 5 miles most of the time) plus commuted to work 50 miles each way 6 or 7 times per month. I averaged about 45 mpg with my VW diesels. The one with the turbo gave about the same mpg as the one without. Even though most of my driving is now short haul I would buy another diesel if they were sold here (SoCal).

    vincentwang: GM V6 push rod engines tend to do quite well in mpg. I suspect the reason is that push rod engines tend to develop more torque at lower rpm than overhead cam engines. GM tends to tune for low end torque rather than high end horsepower too.

    The Mazda wagon has a sporty feel. The Subaru, with the turbo engine, will be much quicker than the Mazda. The Jetta TDI will feel like a slug compared to either one, but get far better mpg. The new Jetta is supposed to be a little bigger than the current model - a needed improvement for back seat riders. Hard to beat fit and finish of the VW, but the Subaru has been improved a lot too. Hard choice between the three because they are so different in character. For me, with very high gasoline prices around here (over $2.50 per gallon) I'd look first at the VW TDI (when it becomes available). Next choice would be the new Subaru with the 250hp turbo motor (I've been spoiled by the performance of my PT GT). I'd be more likely to get a Mazda 3 five door over the 6 wagon or five door.
  • vincentwangvincentwang Member Posts: 42
    Thanks folks.

    I do feel the same way as you, but I want to confirm the 05 Jetta before make decision.
    And, i don't really need a Turbo Legacy, I just use it for city driving and some holiday trips.I test drive the 2.5i, and it's already very powerful for my needs.
  • isda65isda65 Member Posts: 74
    Thank you very much for your reply. It was very helpful. Right now I'm down to VW Passat/Jetta Diesel and Subaru Legacy/Outback. From what I've gathered so far, VW is strong in looks and fuel economy (diesels). Subaru has so-so looks and fuel economy but tops in build quality.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    isda65: The Subaru has four wheel drive too. That may be a plus depending on the driving conditions where you drive.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The Mazda6 is the budget sporty buy.

    The Maxx has the biggest rear seat and the DVD option is exclusive, plus you can feel patriotic if that matters (though I think all 3 are made in the USA).

    The Subie is the all-weather champ, and also the performance leader if you opt for the turbo. IMO it has the most upscale interior.

    Take your pick, each has its advantages.

  • tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
    My short list is down to a Jetta TDI wagon or the Civic Hybrid.
    I'm leaning toward the Jetta, primarily for these reasons:
      1) more fun to drive
      2) available as a wagon
      3) diesel technology has a proven track record, hybrid does not.
      4) locally available with manual transmission (which seems to be even harder to find in the Hybrid)
      5) better safety features (head curtain air bags, available EPS)
      6) nicer interior (except for cramped rear leg room)

    Big plusses for the Hybrid include:
      1) cleaner emissions
      2) better reliability, at least until the batteries wear out
      3) sales tax-free in Maryland through June 30
      4) no trouble finding fuel

    Total price-to-purchase is very close for the 2 cars; real world fuel mileage is similar; both get good safety ratings for their class. So I tend to weight subjective factors ("fun to drive") fairly heavily.

    Anyone care to add or take issue with anything?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    To me, the wagon issue settles it right there. You can fit 4 times the cargo in a wagon. Whatever won't fit, will fit better on the roof of a wagon. Wagons always win for versatility.

    Diesel fuel carries a pretty big price advantage right now, too.

  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    Diesel actually cost more than regular at some stations around here (SoCal). Usually just a few cents less than regular (around $2.25 per gallon). Other parts of the country probably do have less expensive diesel.

    I agree with post 540. If you need a wagon, get a wagon. If not, but want added cargo capacity consider a hatchback.

    I've had two diesels and never had a problem finding fuel.

    Personally, I like the Prius a lot better than the Civic hybrid, but it can get expensive if one adds all of the goodies.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Me too, the Prius is a hatchback and that is a good compromise if you can't choose between the other two.

  • mpgmanmpgman Member Posts: 723
    You'll find a lot more safety features on the Jetta that aren't even available on the Civic. Plus, the rear seat of the hybrid does not fold down.
  • mhaber468mhaber468 Member Posts: 8
    As it stands now, I am looking for a 9-5 Wagon - used with factory warranty remaining or certified. I own a 9-5 Aero sedan. After test driving the '05 Legacy and M6 wagon, I put the 9-5 at the top of the list.

    Legacy - I really liked the styling, standard curtain air bags, and gas mileage. I'm in the market for a 5-speed manual, but test drove the 2.5i auto. This combination wasn't very impressive even with the shift-it-yourself mode. The ride was very smooth in town and on the freeway. Wind noise at the driver A-piller was very prominent at freeway speeds. Hard to find a Limited 2.5i wagon with 5-speed manual.

    Mazda 6 - My wife really likes the styling and so do I. The back seat is roomy - we were able to put the car seat behind the passenger seat, not in the middle. The remote releases to fold the rear seats are really nice. On the road, the car was very smooth ride-wise and engine-wise. No wind noise on the freeway. The steering didn't feel as tight or direct as the Legacy. The gas pedal seemed too firm to me, and throttle response a little flat. Acceleration was good, but not that impressive - maybe better with the manual although both are 5-speed. Road noise was evident on rough surfaces, but the suspension soaks up bumps well.

    9-5 - Most cargo space. Good balance between sporty and comfortable. Great on gas, but does take premium. Car feels light on its feet for a midsize.

    Anyway, I like all three. Maybe I'll just go for the best deal.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Forget the Legacy 2.5i if you want real power. Go for the Legacy 2.5 GT, with the turbo. There's no comparison between the two, as it has almost 50% more power.

  • mhaber468mhaber468 Member Posts: 8
    I didn't mention that I was shopping for invoice of $25K. Getting options like leather and sunroof requires the GT Limited around $29K. Comparably equipped Mazda 6 around $25k, Saab Aero $23k.
  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    I drove a Subaru GT wagon (auto) last week. It was pretty sluggish off the line, and I didn't like the non-linear power delivery at all.
  • tom21769tom21769 Member Posts: 63
    I wound up buying the Jetta TDI GL wagon, manual transmission, with Electronic Stabilization Program (skid/yaw control). We like the car so much, it may become our most-used family vehicle. So I sorta regret not spending the extra money for GLS trim and maybe leather.

    I never even test-drove the Civic Hybrid. Hard to find one with manual transmission. Didn't even bother looking for a Prius (long wait reported), and of course, neither comes in a wagon.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Michael: you just have to try a Legacy GT. The turbo is sweet, and it has a dual-mass flywheel for very smooth clutch engagement on the manual.

    Did you try a 6i or 6s? Auto or manual?

    The V6 is nice, a little flat down low but peppy at high revs.

    The GT is significatly quicker, with better low-end torque, IMO. Try them back to back.

    I drove a CPO 9-5 wagon and liked it, but it had a lot more turbo lag than the Subie did, by far.

    Tom: congrats. I know you searched long and hard so good luck with the TDI.

  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    I drove the 2005 Legacy GT and thought the low end torque sucked. It feels like a 2.0L engine off the line, then you get this big rush of power at around 3000 RPMS. Nice car otherwise, but no thanks. IMO the GT needs the 3.0L H6, but since most American buyers just go by the HP ratings, Subaru can get away with the turbo 2.5L because it looks good on paper. There's no getting around the fact that you have to reduce compression ratio with a turbo, which really hurts your low-RPM performance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It feels like a 2.5l off boost, because that's what it is. :o)

    But Mazda's V6 needs revs to produce power, too. The numbers don't lie - 192 lb-ft at a sky-high 5000 rpm.

    The Subie produces 250 lb-ft at just 3600 rpm.

    Heck, the base 2.5i boxer engines produces 168 lb-ft at 4000 rpm, so it's almost a match for Mazda's V6.

    The turbo makes a lot more torque a lot sooner for the Subie, basically.

    If your 6s has a manual tranny, you may be comparing apples to oranges and find that a manual (with either car) is much quicker, especially slipping the clutch.

    -juice ('98 Forester, '93 Miata)
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    If you want low end torque, then try the Passat wagon with the diesel engine. The diesels are also more reliable than the gas engines (no ignition parts). The Passat has 247 lb-ft of torque at 1900 rpm, and gets 27/38 mpg on the EPA tests. It also rides and handles very well. My only gripe with it is the lack of a manual transmission, and that is a deal breaker for me.

    While I would prefer not to have AWD (for reasons of weight and efficiency), I did test the 4-cyl non turbo Legacy wagon, and was very impressed with how it handled/felt (much better than the last generation). I would put it above the likes of Accord, Camry and even Mazda 6 (though I tested an automatic Mazda, so that may have biased me against it). As far as acceleration goes it was plenty peppy, and certainly would have enough power for freeway passing etc, but not as quick as Honda or Toyota - all with manuals. Of course it dusted the automatic mazda6 (4-cyl), but that is not a fair comparison.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Diesels have wonderful torque characteristics but they get wheezy at high rpm. Basically the opposite of what most engines are like.

    I've gotta try the new TDI, though. Does it at least come in a wagon?

  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469

    Yes it comes in a wagon.

    I would be very interested in your thoughts if you drive one. Nearest VW dealer is nearly 200 miles from me, and they didn't have a diesel last time I was out that way.

    Diesels are not good for high rpm's but with that much torque you don't need the high rpms.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Does VW have any of those test drive offers? That way I could talk my wife into giving me an evening off while she watched the kids.

    There are plenty of VW dealers around here.

    From what I heard the old TDI was a little strained in the Passat wagon, pulling extra weight, but it was fine in the lighter/smaller models. So yeah, I'd like to see if it can haul a Passat wagon around, which weighs a good deal more than a Golf.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    Unfortunately I don't think VW has any of those test drive incentives right now. I know what you mean though - makes it easier to get permission, though I still have to take the kids ; ^ ) . They give away some nice things sometimes. Gotta send in my form to Subaru today!

    From what I hear the Passat is quite peppy with 44 more hp and 98 more ft-lbs of torque than the last generation TDI. I convinced my father to test drive one for me and report back. He said it felt as lively as his 1.8t with a stick shift in normal driving - yes some retired people drive sticks. Dying to try one out for myself though.

    The vehicle that I find to be truely stunning though is the new MB 320 cdi with 350 ft lbs of torque. It is faster than the gasoline version and gets EPA 27/37. Very impressive, but not cheap.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm "wowed" by that engine as well.

    And in Europe, can you believe it's $1000 cheaper than the E320 gas version?

    I'm not sure that's true in the US, though.

    We're supposed to get low sulfur diesel by 2007, right? If so we'll see more and more diesel options.

  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    "It feels like a 2.5l off boost, because that's what it is."
    Well, sort of. You still have to reduce compression on a turbo engine, so when your off boost you have less power. So, at low RPMS it feels like a smaller engine.

    "But Mazda's V6 needs revs to produce power, too. The numbers don't lie - 192 lb-ft at a sky-high 5000 rpm."
    Yes, but the power delivery on the 3.0L Mazda engine is more linear. That's my gripe with all turbo engines - the non-linear behaviour (sort of a slingshot-like feel) of the power build-up.

    "The Subie produces 250 lb-ft at just 3600 rpm."
    Yes, it looks good on paper. but driving is what matters.

    "Heck, the base 2.5i boxer engines produces 168 lb-ft at 4000 rpm, so it's almost a match for Mazda's V6."
    Yes, the 2.5L Subie is nice for a 4cyl. However, the performance is about the same as with the 2.3L in the Mazda6 due to the extra weight of the Legacy and energy required by the AWD drivetrain.

    "The turbo makes a lot more torque a lot sooner for the Subie, basically."
    Yeah, I keep reading this about this turbo engine and others, and it sure looks good on paper. But like I said, the driving is what matters.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    Is this lag in the XT with an automatic or manual transmission. Usually it is far less noticeable in a manual transmission. Added benefits are faster acceleration, better gas mileage and more precise control.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Compression is only down slightly, to 8.2:1. And the turbo engine has AVCS, while the base 2.5l doesn't, so that compensates. It quicker than the base 2.5l boxer even off boost.

    In the manual you don't feel any lag at all, just pick the right gear.

    I've driven a model that was broken in, and I felt the adaptive tranny worked wonders to minimize lag. You should try one at the Subaru event that it touring around the country, because you could then get your hands on one that had a few miles on it.

    I drove the Mazda6 with an automatic, and at low revs is has the same problem, only more so. It's flat below 4000rpm. If peak torque is just 192 lb-ft at 5000 rpm, it's making less than that everywhere on the tach below 5000 rpm.

    Anyone have the torque curve handy for the Mazda 6s? I'd be willing to bet the 2.5T blankets it every where on the rev range.

    Perhaps when the turbo kicks in you feel such a surge that it seems relatively slow off boost. But there is still more torque than the Mazda offers, at any rpm.

    I'll go try to find some torque curves for the Legacy.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    To be honest I think you're focusing on the wrong thing completely. Torque is not a strength on the 6s, it's a weakness. Virtually every competitor produces more, sooner.

    Look instead at the value pricing. The sharp styling. The fact that it runs on regular fuel. The wide array of body styles, and the availability of manual trannies of almost all of them. The neat seats that fold at the press of a button.

    It's certainly quick enough, but it won't win any races vs. a Legacy turbo.

  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Member Posts: 81
    When I was shopping, I thought the Outback was too expensive. Mazda6 is one of my favorite vehicles for value, design and options. I ended up buying the PT GT 2.4L turbo and my wife and I are very pleased with it. It's theoretically her car, but I drive it the most. I don't know what Mazda did to their transmissions, but I liked the old transmission in my 626 2.5L V6 much better than the new Mazda6. It provided significantly more torque at about 2500 rpm even though it was only rated at 160 HP (I generally drive manual transmissions). I'm interested in the Subie 2.5T and will definitely drive one when I'm in the market in about 5 yrs (to replace Mazda Tribute 3L V6). It's my experience that the Turbo is less consistent in gas mileage. The way you drive has a greater impact on it. You can get better mileage than a V6 with similar power if you never rod it around, but generally get worse gas mileage when driving with a heavy foot. In my opinion, the PT GT performs better than the Mazda6 V6, both rated at 220 HP. The PT has better torque, which is probably what I'm noticing. But I think the Mazda had a smoother quieter ride and took potholes better, but I do have 17" performance tires on the PT. The main things I liked better about the Mazda6 wagon are more storage capacity, smoother ride and better speakers, but the PT is more fun to drive. I like the new Outback design and the Turbo Forester, so I may consider Subaru again (I didn't like my last Subaru).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We also had a 626 V6 5 speed. IMO that engine also sorta needed revs to get going. But peak torque did occur at lower revs than the Duratec-based 3.0l in the new 6s.

    It was geared very short, maybe that helped it get up to speed. It was sorta quick, but I think the 6s feels quicker overall.

  • mazda6smazda6s Member Posts: 1,901
    I pretty much agree with you, but I guess I just don't like the surge of power when the boost comes on. That's what I mean when I refer to the non-linear feel of a turbo engine, which is especially pronounced with the AT (they didn't have a GT w/MT in stock). Yeah, the Legacy GT would win the race for sure, but there's a compromise there. FWIW, I wouldn't buy either the Mazda6 or Legacy with AT, though the 6-speed AT in the 2005 Mazda6 s sounds interesting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Gotcha. Turbos are not for everyone, I guess.

    The boost effect is less noticeable in the 210hp version of that engine, the one in the Forester XT. It's more of a light-pressure setup.

    With the manual trannys, you barely notice, with either engine. But the turbos do match up better with those manuals.

    Subaru does have an H6 in the Outback, but it's slower and costs more than the turbo. I guess those looking for the linear power delivery can opt for that. It's not offered in the Legacy in the US, though it might come later on.

    6 speed auto? Is that made by JATCO? I know they make the tranny in the MPV (my guess is the 6s also).

    HUGE improvement over the lame and unreliable Ford CD4E that went in to the 626 4 cylinder automatics.

This discussion has been closed.