Continuing the car search. Automatic Mazda6 hatch vs (manual) Vibe GT

I really want a 4-cylinder manual Mazda6 hatchback, but they are almost impossible to find with a sunroof. Even that orange one I posted about yesterday is already gone!

But I found one with an automatic at a good price, an 08, last year of the hatch. And I also found a 2003 Vibe GT at a good price too.


There is also the Vibe GT with the 2ZZ engine which makes it really cool, and it’s a Toyota and Toyota makes the best cars. The only problem here is that the 2ZZ requires premium. The best part about the Matrix/Vibe is that awesome 2ZZ, and I love the idea of that engine in a crossover thing! I wouldn’t buy a 1ZZ base model because most of the reason I like the Matrix/Vibe so much is the 2ZZ, and also the base model has rear drums (I HATE drum brakes!) [all Mazda 6 models have 4-wheel disc brakes]

I swore for the longest time that my next car was going to be a Vibe GT or Matrix XRS, but then I remembered the 6 hatchback which is fucking awesome. Both cars have about the same EPA rating (22/28 for the Vibe GT, 21/28 for the 6). The price difference is 50-60c a gallon. Also, aftermarket parts availability is a little better for the 6 than the Corolla wagon. For example, Bilstein shocks and 304 exhaust.


Fun fact: the Vibe uses a different HVAC system than the Matrix. Toyota has a Denso system (of course), while the Vibe has some Korean shit. The cabin filters are also different. The Matrix uses the same one as the Corolla and probably other Toyota cars of the time. The Vibe uses the same cabin filter as the Tacoma, which was also NUMMI-made.

The car I have now (4th gen Maxima) is falling apart, and the exhaust is loud as fuck because the pipe after the cat rusted off right behind the flange. And no, it’s not the original pipe (I had that replaced a few years ago), but surprisingly, the cat seems to be OK. For awhile it was hanging by the rear oxygen sensor, but even that came undone. The tires are also worn. And it has a transverse V6 which sucks too. It “recommends” premium, but you can use regular, and I have for the almost 5 years I’ve owned the car.


Somebody makes a 304 stainless exhaust for the 6, but not the Matrix/Vibe. I could only find an axle-back in 304 for the Vibe. While Magnaflow does make a system for both cars, Magnaflow uses 409 which is not as good as 304.

One disadvantage of the 6, besides the trouble finding one, is the cartridge oil filter they use, which can be a bit tricky.


Hopefully I can find a I4 manual 6 hatch soon, but at least these two alternates are here if not.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter