Car Review: 2004 Mazda Mazda6
July 30, 2009, 03:56 PM
2004 Mazda6 4cyl, automatic - 80,000 - Best handling front-wheel drive I've ever experienced. Not super fast, but fast enough. Interior materials could be better. I'm not in love with the cloth material on the seats, hard to keep clean and a little scratchy compared to Accords and Camry I owned. Ergonomics are excellent. Radio contols in steering wheel are wonderful surprise at this price. Huge inside, huge trunk, really something for its size (about 85-90% the size of Accord/Camry/Altima...) but a LOT more fun to drive. Feels VERY light and agile, steering response and road feel is excellent - a real driver's car. Yet quiet enough and smooth enough for long trips. Engine has weak low end torque, but at 160 hp it's fine for what it is. Mileage is, however, not outstanding for a 4 cyl(24-26). Nothing has broken, nothing has gone wrong. This base model has ABS, and dynamic stability control and side air bags. A VERY safe car. Dual exhausts and overall design is very attractive, sexy, sporty. Mine is "Lapis Blue" which is one of the most beautiful dark blues on the road. Reading lamps, leather steering wheel and shifter, courtesy lights, overhead console, and clever cup holders are nice touches. I own a Mustang GT and a 7-Series BMW, and I gladly drive this car, not as a step down at all. It is a beautiful family car. The right size Now they're big like everybody else. :o( The 2003-2008 Mazda6/Atenza was a "world car" sold in USA, Asia and Europe. It won 200 awards. It feels just right, a real surprise. Not an "appliance" like Accord/Camry/Altima/Malibu/Taurus. I highly recommend this car.
Car Review: 1998 BMW 740i
July 30, 2009, 03:38 PM
1998 740i (sport) - 101,000 miles - Body/paint/ flawless but some interior features are cheaply built or overdesigned and fail, such as: cup holders - all are overly complex and fragile and have all broken, the panel that holds the seat controls on the lower left side of the driver's seat snapped off (thin plastics) and the parking brake release is too flimsy and it broke, too. Several of the pixels in the radio/computer display have pooped out. Brakes are silent, tight, and wonderful. New rotors and pads at 80,000 (seems right). Drive train has been trouble-free. Exhaust is still like new, heating and A/C good, A/C could be stronger. New struts (used OEM to not mess with handling). Thermostat replaced and it's in need of new valve cover gaskets.(estinmated $300) All in all it is a dream to drive. hard to describe how rock solid and agile it is. VERY powerful (280 hp.), very fast, handles like nothing else - a real pleasure. Leather is superior to any other manufacturer - I understand BMW buys only exclusive Italian leather - and it shows. One problem... every repair is EXPENSIVE. Thermostat was $600, radiator replacementr was $700... you get the idea. BUT I bought it used at a substantial discount from original $75,000 price... so it's worth the expense. It's not as large as it looks (198 inches long, 4,200 pounds - It's smaller than the new Challenger) yet it holds 5 adults in silent opulent luxury. (That wood trim is real walnut).My "Artik Silber" (Arctic Silver) BMW is a timeless beauty. Best part - gas mileage is 20-25 mpg in the city, 24-28 on the highway. Incredible! Change oil/filter, rotate tires, and realign every 3,000 miles. Replaced all hoses and belts as soon as I bought it. So... she's been pampered. (And she's been up to 144 mph... with pedal left). Some call this E38 model of the BMW 7-Series the best car ever built. They might be right.
Car Review: 1997 Ford Mustang GT
July 30, 2009, 03:19 PM
1997 Mustang GT Convertible - 178,000 miles - Replaced the automatic transmission twice (that seems excessive)and the rear end went out, and the anti-sway bar broke. Replaced canvas top and replaced leather interior - makes sense given the sunny climate and amount of exposure. Never a problem with engine. Alternator finally failed at 176,000. Car idles so smooth you think it had stalled. Brakes last, no squeal. Very good. replaces struts at 150,000 (also seems right). Stainless steel dual exhausts still like new. Paint has held up well. No rattles. VERY happy with this car. I change oil/filter, rotate and rebalance tires, and realign every 3,000 miles. Handles great, looks great and is a delight to drive. Good job Ford designers/workers!