Rare Rides: The Xedos 6, a Small Luxury Mazda From 1996
While researching information for the recently featured Mazda Lantis, your author came across some other Nineties forbidden fruit from the good people at Mazda. Particularly interesting was the Xedos 6, which, like the similar-looking Millennia, was also a part of Mazda’s early Nineties luxury push.
The Xedos was actually a range of two cars from Mazda, designed to appeal to the compact and midsize premium sedan customer globally. The smaller of the two was Xedos 6, but there was also the Xedos 9 – you’d call it Millennia. Both cars were also sold as Eunos models in the right-hand drive markets of Japan and Australia, where Eunos was launched as Mazda’s Lexus-fighting luxury brand. The 6 was the Eunos 500, and the 9 was the 800. We’ll leave the 9/800/Millennia for another day.
Xedos 6 was launched in 1992, after it was introduced in Eunos 500 form at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show. Eunos versions were first up for production, along with other right-hand-drive versions for the UK, badged as Mazda Xedos. Left-hand drive versions did not enter production until 1993. At the time, Mazda planned to market the 6 under the Amati brand in certain markets (like the US), but for considerable economic reasons in Japan, that plan didn’t pan out. North America never received the premium compact Xedos 6.
Underneath the Xedos was a unique platform designated CA, which was developed solely for Eunos. Derived from the more plebeian 626 platform, it was also developed into the CB used for the previously featured Lantis. The car launched with a 2.0-liter 144-horsepower V6 which was not the same one used in the Lantis. Later on, a lesser 1.6-liter I4 arrived, which offered 114 horses. For the Japanese market, the 1.6 was skipped in favor of another tiny V6, which produced 138 horses from its 1.8 liters. After 1994, another new engine debuted as the base Japanese engine, a 1.8-liter I4. The final engine shuffling, the four-cylinder 1.8 replaced the V6 1.8. Transmissions on offer were a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
Labeling and dealership changes occurred in 1996, when Mazda discontinued the Eunos brand exercise. The 500 was renamed to Mazda Eunos 500, and brought back to Mazda dealers. It continued in production until 1999. Branding had returned to normal by the late Nineties, luxury aspirations dashed. The official replacement for the Xedos 6 was the 626/Capella.
Today’s Rare Ride is for sale in the sunny south of France. With V6, 127,000 miles, and manual transmission it asks $3,651.
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