Category Archives: Mazda

2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring (1111)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring 4-door sedan. This 5-passenger compact sedan doesn’t compromise ride quality, fuel efficiency or practicality in performance. The Mazda3 is confident in the corners, yet is still a comfortable soft ride on the highway.

If you like a manual transmission Mazda (as many others do) makes it easy to be in the right gear all the time. Remember the old days when the only way to get into the wrong gear would be coupled with either missing a shift or worse damaging the gears. The reason for driving a car with a manual transmission is not as important these days since the auto transmissions today are hard to beat in shifting when they should. Most of the time they are simply better than 99% of drivers. The rest are called professional race drivers.

General Information: It is assembled in Hofu, Japan; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95%   Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is Compact. Cars from Mazda: 500, 500c, 500e, 500L and 500 X.

Handling & Performance:

I’ve tested them all and as a general feeling there isn’t any significant difference. They’re all good. All have similar power and acceleration. In this level car I particularly like those turbocharged engines for that extra kick. As to this car you can opt for the 2.5 liter 184 hp engine.

Styling:

Typical and customary in class. Nice clean lines and to me it looks like a step up in class by comparison. Personally I like it a lot.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Competitive in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

More than just the basics. This Mazda 3 is pretty well equipped. Most importantly it includes most of the high tech mechanical advances usually reserved for more expensive passenger cars.

Mazda Connect infotainment system includes a 7-inch screen, 6-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio audio with USB input and Bluetooth phone pairing, audio streaming, rearview camera, push-button start and cruise control. The system uses a single rotary dial control on the console at your fingertips to select features. They have been used in luxury cars for years. It is standard equipment on this Mazda 3. Younger drivers will take to it easily while it will take older folks a little getting used to if they haven’t used them before.

Consumer Recommendations:

You job in finding the right car for your need has begun by reading what others think of the car. Next look for these cars on the highway. Then go test drive the ones that appeal to your eye. There are not all that many that you can’t test them all over a couple of weekends. Pricewise they are all very close so it will come down to ride, power, handling and eye appeal. If this is within your budget you have some very capable cars here that fit a need for economy from a 5-passenger sedan. It has a good size trunk and passenger space.

Make your search an adventure and enjoy the rides. It really can be fun.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 3 $23,000, Chevrolet Cruze Limited $24,000, Hyundai Elantra $23,000, Kia Forte $21,000, Dodge Dart $18,000, Toyota Corolla $23,000, Honda Civic $22,000.

Good News:

Great fuel economy, clean today styling, priced very well for top value.

Bad News: None

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 155 hp engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 16” alloy wheels, rain sensing windshield wipers, heated power mirrors with turn signals, moon roof, leatherette, 6-way power driver seat, heated front seats, climate control, power windows and locks, keyless entry, push button start, 6/4 split fold down rear seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and brake handle, anti-theft engine immobilizer, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitor, 4-wheel disc brakes, power steering, auto headlights, color touch screen display, rearview camera, navigation system, Bose 9-speaker audio, Pandora AHA stitchers audio, AM/FM/CD, HD radio, 2-USB inputs, Sirius XM satellite Radio, SMS text message delivery and reply, Bluetooth hands free phone/ audio, cruise control and trip computer, steering wheel mounted controls, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, front and rear side curtain airbags.

Gas Stats:

$2.89/ Gal avg. October 18, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

29 City and 41 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,545.

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  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

  • Duration
    163 mins
    Genre
    Action, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller.
  • In Cinemas
    October 4, 2017
    Language
    English.
  • Country
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DIRECTOR

Denis Villeneuve.

Producer

Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Ridley Scott, Cynthia Sikes, Bud Yorkin.

Production Company

Alcon Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Warner Bros., Thunderbird Films, Torridon Films.

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2015 Mazda 5 Grand Touring FWD (1075)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Mazda 5 Grand Touring FWD. It seats six (6) and has good cargo area with fold down rear seating stowed. If your family is larger a full size minivan would be better if your budget allows more.

General Information: Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95%; Engine and transmission – Japan.

Assembly – Hiroshima, Japan Class – Minivan Cars from Mazda – CX-5, CX-9, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6, MX-5 Miata.

Handling & Performance:

Smooth was an impression that lasted all week of testing. Power is good with no complaints here even though some would disagree.

Styling:

Typical of most of the competition but Minivans are not as popular as the SUV that is the bestselling of automobile designs.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Well priced, affordable, seating for six.

Conveniences and comfort:

Some of my pet peeves as you may recall include visors that don’t do much of what they should. That is true of this Mazda and I’m guessing most people would agree and thus the company should make them extend for better coverage on the side windows. Second: the radio steering wheel volume control is appreciated but it announces the change in volume with an irritating beep. . . to me anyway.

Third: the voice recognition feature that would be nice if it worked well enough. However, this is the case with almost all models and makes that I have tested and so I just accept the voice recognition technology just isn’t there yet.

And lastly to leave on a positive note, the standard features listing below is broad and all is great stuff.

Consumer Recommendations:

Mazda is one of the best for low maintenance cost from my experience in my automotive repair shop. However there is a lot of information on several categories of data at Kelley Blue Book.  Here is a link to research such things as the 10 most fuel efficient cars under $25,000; or most affordable cars of 2015.  http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/awards-best-cars-and-top-10-lists/2000006743/

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 5 Grand Touring FWD $25,000, Dodge Grand Caravan $22,000, Chrysler Town and Country $32,000, Honda Odyssey $30,000, Toyota Sienna $29,000.

Good News:

Well priced, abundant standard features and good fuel economy.

Bad News:

Visors too short, poor voice recognition and annoying beep in adjusting radio volume.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 157 horsepower 4-cylinder VVT (variable valve timing) engine, 5-speed auto transmission, front wheel drive, 17” alloy wheels, variable rain sensing front wipers, rear wiper with washer, 5-6 passenger seating, 2nd row capitan chairs with underseat storage and fold out table with storage and dual cup holders, 50/50 fold down 3rd row seats, leather trimmed seating, steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, covered rear cargo storage, trip computer, anti theft alarm system and engine immobilizer, rear back up sensors, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes with EBD (electornic brake force distribution), dynamic stability control and traction control systems, front and side curtain airbags, power steering, independent suspension, auto headlights, fog lights, rear liftgate spoiler, climate control with 2nd row cool air vents, AM/FM/CD 6-speaker audio with Sirius satellite radio, USB audio input, bluetooth hands free phone and audio system, power windows and locks, power moonroof, remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, tilt and telescopic steering wheel and tire pressure monitor.

Gas Stats:

$3.39/ Gal avg. February 28, 2015sw

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,770

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata (1061)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The perception of a sports car is that it will handle the road better than larger cars; it will do better on fuel and it will be more economical overall. Myth?

One voyage over the Angeles Crest Highway for the Crest Test and I’m humbled by larger cars that rush up on my back side bumper and zip around me like I was standing still. Okay, yes the lower center of gravity should and does make cornering easier but the suspension of larger cars has improved so much there is little difference in the handling characteristics of either car. That coupled with far more horsepower than this Miata make larger cars and even trucks as capable these days .

General Information: It is assembled in Hiroshima, Japan, Classification is 2-seater Cars. Cars from Mazda: CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6, MazdaSpeed3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 and Tribute.

Opinion:

The Ferguson effect, Missouri, USA.

In the news these days we see yet another reason for black indignation over the perception of mistreatment on one segment of our society. It occurred to me that when I drive on the highway and feel abused by the CHP for speeding there is some similarity. I see a citation as taxation without representation. I can’t or don’t want to afford the cost of a ticket for minor infractions. But it is the officer I blame, while in reality it is the system that is at fault.

It is the arbitrary application of speed laws leading to unreasonably high fines coupled with the helplessness you feel that makes you angry. I thought perhaps it is what causes a black man’s anger at something he has no control over. Any event of ill treatment of a black man is responded to and toward the police officer. Lynch him is the cry that goes out.

In the final analysis, it is a government out of control that is the cause but they are in the shadows passing laws to increase taxes on the people to pay for the excesses of their irresponsible use of those tax dollars. I could shrug off the anger if I knew our government was doing good things with those tax dollars.

So it is tyranny of government that is what needs to be changed, which is not so different from the basic problem of the culture of black America that also needs change. That’s my thoughts on the matter, what are yours?

Handling & Performance:

Of course the size makes this car easy to zip around town and find parking spaces that most other cars are unable to access. But it is not nearly as stingy with a gallon of gas as one would expect.

On the highway at normal speeds it is geared to run at between 3 and 3,500 rpm most of the time. But the 157 horsepower is amazingly sufficient to provide the power you need for most situations. It pulled the Crest mountain course in 5th gear with ease. It took little shifting changes to negotiate 90% of the 30 miles of travel along that route to get around the San Gabriel mountains to greater Los Angeles.

Styling:

Miata has maintained a traditional classic look over the years since its debut in the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. Its design was influenced by sports roadsters of the 1960s such as Triumph Spitfire, MG MGB, Datsun 2000, Fiat 124 Spider, Alfa Romeo Spider and the Lotus Elan.

I’m happy they stayed the styling course along the way. Nice.

What I particularly enjoyed was the modern power convertible hard top. It is well designed and takes up none of the car’s trunk space. My grandkids thought it was the cooooool-ist.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Cost:

The cost is not bad, but you can’t judge it on utility value. You don’t buy one of these as a family car.

Conveniences and comfort:

The most convenient thing about small cars like this is that apart from accessing the trunk space you can reach every nook and cranny from where you are sitting. And the ride was comfortable but getting in and out is a chore. When you want to feel the wind in your hair the power retractable hard top makes it effortless.

Consumer Recommendations:

Nearly a million Miata’s have been sold worldwide since production began in 1989. Mazda has always had a very good reputation as to reliability in my experience in the industry generally and specifically my experience in owning an automotive repair facility. So if you are in the market for a small sport car it is a defensible decision for more than just being a fun car to drive.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda MX-5 Miata $29,000, BMW Z4 $50,000, Ford Mustang $29,000, Chevrolet Camaro $32,000, Honda CRZ $23,000, Nissan 370Z $46,000, Volkswagen Beetle $30,000.

Good News:

Fun to drive, good reputation for quality.

Bad News:

Single use vehicle.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter157 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, front engine, rear wheel drive, 17” alloy wheels, power side mirrors, aluminum hood, power retractable convertible hard top, tilt leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, power windows and locks, tire pressure monitor, ABS power disc brakes, electronic power assisted steering, double front wishbone suspension, halogen headlights, fog lights, auxiliary audio input jacks, AM / FM MP3, CD changer, Bose audio with 7 speakers, remote keyless entry, heated leather seats, climate control, leather wrapped gearshift knob and brake handle, trip computer, stability and traction control, front and side airbags, anti theft engine immobilizer.

Gas Stats:

$3.19/ Gal avg. November 20, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $29,456

2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring 5-Door (1058)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring 5-Door Hatchback. Right off the get-go I ran into an acquaintance who said he loved his Mazda 3 just like my test vehicle. Of course I’m always interested in the feeling of those who put their hard earned money up for the car of their dreams. And yes this guy loved his earlier year model Mazda3. I must say I had already made up my mind that I too had positive vibes from my week of testing.

I often am convinced about a car when I put it through its paces over the mountains that I call the “Crest Test”. The results were impressive as you might have guessed. Its low profile makes negotiating the curves really cool. And it is powerful enough to pull the grades without the need for excessive shifts. It is light and agile and responsive.

[huge_it_videogallery id=”3″]

General Information: It is assembled in Hofu, Japan, Classification is Midsize Cars. Cars from Mazda:  CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6, MazdaSpeed3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 and Tribute.

Related:

Mazda has been known in the past as the car with the Rotary engine. You may recall that engine design was and is also known as the “Wankel” engine. And since some have asked if Mazda still uses this engine I have to say it is alive and well in Mazda’s RX-8 sports car.

The rotary has been used for many years by Mazda, in a variety of cars and trucks. The engine is reliable but does have some quirks. It is prone to flooding, which makes the engine difficult if not impossible to start without service. There is even a technique detailed in the video owner’s manual for the RX-8 which requires “blipping” the throttle immediately before shutting down the engine.

The rotary also has a reputation for poor fuel economy and high emission output. On the plus side for the rotary; they are extremely powerful in terms of displacement compared to horsepower. The early 12A rotaries were only 1146 cc but produced 100 horsepower from a normally aspirated engine that was only slightly larger than a suitcase. Later engines bumped up displacement to about 1300 cc but now produce 236 hp.

Handling & Performance:

As noted above this Mazda3 passed the Crest Test easily. But it points out that it is a performance car that doesn’t necessarily appeal to a wide market. It is a fun car if you love to drive. But I believe most want performance in terms of fuel economy. It proved to be a nice commuter.

Styling:

The lines are smooth, clean and sporty and clearly at the top of the competition noted below that are very close pricewise.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Take a look at the standard features and you’ll see it is well priced for most of the things I like to see in the cars I drive.

Conveniences and comfort:

The list of features, as noted, long and fits the bill of what I have come to expect in the cars I love to drive and need for a purchase decision.

Consumer Recommendations:

Of those cars that are similar and noted here I’d look to the VW Golf for being a little more roomy but if I were more interested in sporty and handling characteristics, I would lean to the Mazda3.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 3 S 5-door Grand Touring $26,000, Honda Civic Si $25,000, Volkswagen Golf 4-door hatchback $25,000, Kia Forte SX Turbo $21,000.

Good News:

Well priced, outstanding fuel economy, sporty and fun to drive.

Bad News:

Tighter seating space than I like for all around utility.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter184 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 18” alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, heated power side mirrors, halogen fog lights, moonroof, leather trimmed sport seats, 6-way power driver seat, variable heated front seats, dual zone climate control, power windows and locks, keyless entry, push button start/stop, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and brake handle, anti theft engine immobilizer, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitor, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, traction control, stability control, hill start assist, front side and front and rear side curtain airbags, auto on/off headlights, rear hatch apoiler, 7” color touch screen display, navigation system, Bose 9-speaker centerpoint audio, pandora AHA stitcher audio, AM/FM/.CD, Hd radio, two USB inputs, Sirius XM satellite radio, SMS text message delivery and reply, Bluetooth hands free phone/ audio, cruise control, trip computer, steering wheel mounmted controls with paddle shifters.

Gas Stats:

$3.19/ Gal avg. November 1, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

26 City and 35 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $25,545

2015 Mazda 6 GT

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Mazda 5 GT Touring sedan. I don’t mind driving manual transmission cars and rather enjoy the connection with the car but for an everyday driver I would probably opt for automatic. Fuel economy is equally as good and is stated it even gets 1 mpg better at 26/38 highway.

Probably the most significant impact on my driving this car is that it is unbelievable to me that there is anyone unable to have transportation that is inexpensive to purchase and operate. Really. Is there anything manufactured so significant that is so affordable. How can they put out such a great midsize sedan for the price of admission? And it gets 37 highway mpg! Fantastic. It is a spacious, solid riding sedan with great cargo area and is very comfortable.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 0%; Japan 95%. It is assembled in Hofu, Japan, Classification is Midsize. Cars from Mazda: CX-5,7 and 9, Mazda 2,3,5,6, Speed 3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 & Tribute.

Handling & Performance:

Many today don’t even know how to drive a manual transmission car but relative to when they were referred to as “Standard Transmissions” they nearly shift themselves. Those of us who drove cars when all were manual transmissions it’s amazing how intuitive they are in selecting what gear you should be going into. Old standard transmissions were easily damaged and shifts took too much time to go from gear to gear. And when this MT is mated to nearly 200 hp it is easy to negotiate crowded highways.

It is fun to drive when you are more connected to the process of power going from engine to the wheels. I suspect that is why so many still like them.

Styling:

Lovely. The car I tested was painted a deep crystal blue and sand colored seating – very classy – added to a popular look identified with cars three times the price. Now that is impressive.

Fit and Finish:
Excellent.

Cost:
Very affordable and when you consider the whole package it is ‘Cheap’.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good array of conveniences. Today you can link your cell phone, not only to make calls but, to play music, connect your ‘maps with Seri’ or any navigation system. And although this Mazda had navigation it can be eliminated to save money to buy the car and still have this important feature. It is never talked about how much NAV makes you journey safer it is clear to me that when you know or are prompted where to turn and when it prevents accidents. Another extremely important feature is the blind spot monitoring system that becomes addictive because it reduces stress as it warns you of traffic you simply cannot see.

Another feature I would not do without is the keyless entry and push button start/stop. Trust me, man demanded this feature be made for the women in our lives who can never find their keys. Now you can sew the control into their purse and they may not be able to get into the house but they can always start the car and get the kids to school or anywhere on time.

Consumer Recommendation:

Mazda has simply thought of everything. This is a great buy and a great value in today’s auto market. I would urge you to include Mazda and Hyundai and Kia above all. If you still have time for more include Subaru, Nissan Chevrolet in that order.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 6 GT $23,000, Acura TL $43,000, Audi 2.0 Sedan $35,000, BMW 3-Series $33,000, Buick LaCrosse $36,000, Buick Verano $27,000, Chevrolet Cruze $21,000, Chevrolet Malibu $22,000, Chrysler 300 $31,000, Honda Accord $22,000, Hyundai Elantra $22,000, Hyundai Sonata $21,000, Kia Optima $22,000, Mazda 3 $21,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $20,000, Nissan Altima $23,000, Subaru Impreza $22,000, Subaru Legacy $22,000, Volkswagen Golf $23,000, Volkswagen Passat $28,000.

Good News:

Affordable to buy and operate, great fuel economy, luxury at a third the price of other badges, great value with most all the great features standard.

Bad News:
None worth mentioning.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 184 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 18” alloy wheels, power mirrors with turn signals, leatherette sport seats, 6-way power driver seat, tilt and telescopic steering column, 5.8” color touch screen display, rearview camera, AM/FM/CD/MP3/Aux 6-speaker audio, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, USB audio input and HD radio, Bluetooth hands free phone/audio, cruise control, LATCH system, anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitor, blind spot monitoring system, 4-wheel power assist ABS disc brakes, electronic power assisted steering, independent suspension and stabilizer bars, auto on/off headlights, in glass antenna and rear window defogger, power windows and locks, keyless entry with push button start/stop, dual zone climate control with rear seat vents,

Gas Stats:
$3.75 / Gal avg. July 30, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

25 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $23,845.

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata (1041)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring power hard top sport car with a 6-speed manual transmission. Some years ago my wife and I took a week vacation in Tahoe, CA and it was memorable. Why was it memorable? Because we were driving in a Miata MX-5 and packing for a vacation in a trunk the size of your typical air carrier carry-on luggage for two. It didn’t have any room for a toothpick when we were finished loading for the trip, but the great upside was the ride. Nice memories.
Surely the interior noise level is reduced from that rag top convertible version for that trip to Tahoen. This model has a power hard top and it is quieter inside. Albeit the noise level is still higher than I like. But others say, “it is a small sport car, what do you expect?” Ok, but a lot of the more direct competition is also small. Ok, but then look at the price difference! Yes I did and I’m absolutely right. It’s hard to argue with myself.

It is often said the Miata is a “Girls car” because it is little and too cutsie, small and light weight for a guy. Further, it is has been underpowered which is a turn off for macho men. Ok, so cutsie is a matter of individual taste and it is more solid looking and the doors and trunk lid are no longer tinny sounding when closed. I guess Mazda listened to criticism over the years and has improved a lot of the deficiencies while staying true to the theme of Miata. And you know what? I applaud Mazda for staying true to the original design. I couldn’t ever suggest it putting on more weight, more power or more size. I’m happy to see it has retained most of its small car charm.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada (not available) It is assembled in both the USA (Flat Rock, Michigan and Claycomo, Missouri.), and in Japan (Hiroshima and Hofu), Classification is Two Seater’s. Cars from Mazda: CX-5,7 and 9, Mazda 2,3,5,6, Speed 3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 & Tribute.

Handling & Performance:

Well as you’d expect from something so low to the ground it whips around turns with great ease. But it comes at a cost. You must be mindful of others around you who won’t see you because of the MX5 small size. Not that small is bad, because a Ferrari 308 is small also. Mostly it is because it is low to the ground and large cars and SUV (half of all cars on the highway) look out their side windows and look right over you. Another price you pay is stooping low to enter and struggle to pull yourself up and out. The bigger you are the harder that is to do. So maybe it is more a car for younger drivers.

All that being said this is a delight to drive around town with short turning radius and you can find parking nearly anywhere. It is balanced and steering is responsive and for a small, light car and you no longer can bitch about being underpowered. The 167 horsepower 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine and a manual 6-speed transmission makes this fast enough for any driving experience. Nice.

Styling:

Not much change in look over the years and that is a good thing.

Fit and Finish:

Much improved from the first test I did in 1998.

Cost:

Not a bad entry price, but it is a two-seater. But it also competes with much more expensive badged products.

Conveniences and comfort:

This is a trip “back to basics” without many of the features we all have become accustomed to, like storage or cargo area, navigation system and no rear view camera. Ok, so with such a small car camera views are not as important as with larger cars. But it is a good reminder how valuable things become when you don’t have them any longer. One missing feature I’m surprised at being mission is “No Bluetooth” hands free capability. But on the other hand, I did not expect Lane Assist or smart cruise control or even blind spot detection and alert. Nor did I expect any other futuristic high tech gadget. That’s not what you buy a car like this for. I get it. But I did miss those features that add comfort and convenience and safety that we have become used to and increasingly rely on in everyday driving.

On balance, many of these features are already covered with your smart phone for Nav for example and hands free portable devices are inexpensive and work very well and I might add are less expensive than built in versions. And of course the mobile transportable versions go with you to any car.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are in the market for a sport car and your budget doesn’t include the far more expensive competitors you owe it to yourself to let this Miata MX-5 take you for a ride.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda MX-5 Miata $29,000, BMW Z4 $49,000, Fiat 500 $18,000, Honda CR-Z $23,000, MINI Cooper S $28,000, Nissan Z $30,000, Scion FR-S $25,000, Subaru BRZ $26,000, Volkswagen Eos $36,000.

Good News:

Fast and fun to drive. Great around town car that takes the stress out of finding parking spaces.

Bad News:

Small two seaters have very limited use.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder 167 HP engine with VVT (variable valve timing), 6-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, front and rear stabilizers, 17” alloy wheels, dynamic stability control, traction control, front and side airbags, anti-theft immobilizer, power mirrors, aluminum hood and power plant frame, power retractable hard top, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, power windows and locks, rear center console storage, 4 wheel disc brakes, power steering, front double wishbone suspension and rear multi-link suspension, glass rear window with defogger, fog lights, Bose audio system with 7-speakers, MP3 and 6-disc CD changer, remote keyless entry system, heated leather seats and leather shift know and hand brake, trip computer and climate control.

Gas Stats:

$3.95 / Gal avg. July 14, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

21 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $29,450.

2014 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD SUV (1034)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD SUV. This is a 7-passenger spacious SUV that I had the opportunity to have a lot of seat time on a trip to San Diego from Los Angeles, CA. I ferried a few folks with me and it impressed even the snobbiest of the guys. It is roomy and if you need to seat seven it is possible albeit the rear seating area is best suited for little people as you might expect. But when you do fill the third row the cargo area is very, very limited. I guess that’s why they have a luggage rack on the top.

It is ideal for those who are married with children. Or not married with children. In other words it is a great family vehicle. But if I were a soccer mom I would opt for a ‘mini-van’ where getting in and out is much easier for those little leprechauns and your dog spot.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 10%, Korea 85%. Engine and Transmission – Japan. It is assembled in Hiroshima, Japan. Classification is Standard SUV. Cars from Mazda: CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, Mazda6, MazdaSpeed3, MX-5 Miata, RX-8 and Tribute.

Handling & Performance:

Solid – stable ride that eases the stress and strain of long trips. Some think my usual commute of 50 miles one way is a long trip. But when you take a 400 mile journey you get the feedback from your back, neck, and bottom. This SUV passed the comfort test extremely well. It is also powerful and handles the high speed freeways with confidence.

Styling:

Most all SUV’s are very much the same in look and we obviously like the look because this is the most popular vehicle design in pretty much all of the world.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

It didn’t surprise me that this SUV runs about $37,000 and it is just about right for what you get.

Conveniences and comfort:

There is an abundance of features from those safety and technology gadgets that we have become accustomed to have in our cars in the 21st Century.

Consumer Recommendation:

You will want to include the Korean offerings from Kia and Hyundai and the domestic Dodge in this important decision. Transportation is synonymous with the automobile in much of the world and contrary to the way it was like 50 years ago, today great cars are not ONLY made in America.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda CX-9 $37,000, Buick Enclave $45,000, Buick LaCrosse $39,000, Chevrolet Equinox $33,000, Chevrolet Tahoe $48,000, Chevrolet Traverse $43,000, Dodge Durango $32,000, Dodge Journey $27,000, GMC Acadia $38,000, Honda Pilot $41,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $36,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $29,000, Kia Sportage $28,000, Mazda CX-5 $26,000, Nissan Murano $37,000, Nissan Pathfinder $34,000, Subaru Forester $30,000, Subaru Tribeca $34,000, Volkswagen Touareg $45,000.

Good News:

Spacious, powerful, comfortable ride with lots of standard features that give this SUV a high value ratio.

Bad News:

Tough on fuel economy if size is not a condition of what you need.

Standard Equipment:

3.7 liter 273 horsepower V-6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission active torque split AWD, 20” aluminum alloy wheels, power open/close lift-gate, rain sensing wipers, 7-passenger seating, tilt & telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, power windows and locks, power heated front seats, leather seating, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), blind spot monitoring, front side and side curtain air bags, roll stability control, sensors for rear and cross traffic alerts, auto headlights, fog lights, heater power mirrors, 60/40 split fold down 2nd row seats, 50/50 split fold down 3rd row seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone / audio, AM/FM/CD audio with 6 speakers, climate control5.8” color display with rear camera, speed sensing auto door locks, keyless entry and start system, dynamic stability control, traction control, anti-theft engine immobilizer and alarm, LATCH rear child safety seat anchors and tethers and tire pressure monitor.

Gas Stats:
$3.93/ Gal avg. May 31, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

16 City and 22 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $36,625.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair

2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD Small SUV (978)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Mazda CX-5 small SUV. I suspect I’m biased toward Mazda cars because they were founded in 1920 in Hiroshima, Japan. I stood at ground zero there in 1959 – 19 years after the Atom Bomb was dropped on that city of about 100,000. It was an emotional experience as I looked around at deformed people and shadows on bridges for example in the form or a person walking. Of course, the car company came back and it is appropriate the world has supported their product – not because of pity but because it is a great car.

 

General Information: 

It is assembled in Hiroshima, Japan. Classification is Small SUV. Cars from
Mazda:

CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 2,3,5,6, Speed 3, MX5 Miata, RX 8 & Tribute.

Opinion and Observation – Automotive Innovation:

History: 1958 – debut of Cruise Control invented by a blind Ralph Teetor; 1949 – First Crash Dummy created; 1948 – Daimler Mercedes Benz introduced Electric Windows; 1940 – First car to have air conditioning was a 1940 Packard; 1938 – Buick introduced turn signals; 1929 – First car radio introduced; 1923 – First Supercharger Ferdinand Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany; 1920 – Power steering invented by Francis Davis; 1903 – Windshield wipers patented; 1885 – first patent for seat belts; 1901 – invention of disc brakes by British inventor Frederick William Lanchester; 1901 – New York first state to require license plates that were called “Number Plates”. France did it in 1893; 1898 – First drive shaft invented by Louis Renault; 1890 – Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater;

Handling & Performance:

All wheel drive road grip is a real plus that is transparent especially in dry conditions. It delivers a solid ride with good road feel in steering.

Styling:

Pretty common look for small SUVs’ but simply clean lines without controversy. Nice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Well priced.

Conveniences and comfort:

Comfortable seating that is instantly noticeable, and one of my hot buttons is KISS principle that applies with the electronics ease of use. Example is a radio with a Tuning knob. What a novel idea. Sometimes simple is best and this is the application that makes ease of use a flash back to when radio tuning was simple.

A feature that I appreciate is the Turning warning system, so when you signal your turn or movement to another lane you are alerted if there is a car in your blind spot. I find I miss it when I test a care without this useful feature that adds a major degree of safety.

Consumer Recommendation:

This small suv delivers a nice package for seating up to five. If you don’t need more seating this is a great choice among other nice options noted.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda CX-5 $26,000, VW Tiguan $31,000, Nissan Rogue $26,000, Buick Encore $28,000, Honda Crosstour $35,000, Kia Sportage $26,000, Toyota RAV4 $28,000.

Good News:

Comfy ride, all the good / important features standard, priced well and decent fuel economy.

Bad News:

None noted.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 184 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, 17” alloy wheels, power mirrors windows and door locks, 5 passenger seating, tilt & telescopic steering column, leather wrapped wheel with audio, cruise and bluetooth controls, cloth seats, 6-way driver seat, remote keyless entry with push button start / stop, LATCH child system, anti-theft immobilizer, tire pressure monitor, blind spot monitor, 4-wheel ABS disc brake system with brake force distribution, power steering, rear roof spoiler, fog lights, air conditioning, audio with CD/MP3 with 6-speakers, aux jack, USB input, bluetooth hands free phone, 5.8” color touch screen display, rearview camera, 40/20/40 split fold down rear seat, stability control, traction control, hill start assist, front side and front and rear curtain airbags.

Gas Stats:

$3.99/ Gal avg. May 17, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

24 City and 30 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $25,865

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2013 Mazda3 i 5-Door Grand Touring (956)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Mazda3 i 5-Door Grand Touring. Overall this is a very nice family starter with great fuel economy. That is becoming more important every day. New young car buyers are well advised to consider looking closely. It is capable and the first folks to tell you that are Mazda owners themselves. That word of mouth endorsement means more than all the advertising a company can do. Mazda does not blow its own horn as much as a lot of the competition does and that speaks volumes as to the best reason to buy a brand of car. I can only point that fact out for your consideration.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 0%, Japan 56%. It is assembled in Japan, Classification is Midsize. Cars from Mazda: Mazda 2,3,5,6, MazdaSpeed3, CX5, 7,9, Mx5 Miata, RX-8 & Tribute.

Handling & Performance:

Comfortable handling with good power that is sufficient with the 6-speed manual transmission that is intuitive in shifting. Some will resist manual shifting cars because it increases your inter-action with the driving process. Me, I like it and it becomes second nature and you get more feedback than with an auto trans.

Stylin

Forward thinking styling in my eyes view. I like it and those I spoke with about the car were of the same opinion.

Fit and Finish:

Workmanship in assembly is typically very good with all Mazda product.

Cost:

Priced right for what you get. You can go cheaper with some of the competition but on balance this is a good value.

Conveniences and comfort:

For a midsize the rear seat is a little tight for large adults. I love the driving assists like the traffic sensors that warn you with a gentle beep when you change lanes and don’t see a car in the blind spots.

Heated seats are welcomed on those cold mornings.

Navigation that is built in is a must for my money if the cost is reasonable, and I suspect it has come down in recognition that you have a choice to go with portable versions that are reasonably priced.

Another must is the Bluetooth hands free feature for your phone. Don’t do without this must have safety device. Today set up is almost automatic and, of course, once it is set “paired” to your phone it functions when you start the car.

Consumer Recommendation:

Consumers rate this car at 9.7 overall recommendation on a scale of 10. I agree. One comment I would also agree with is “doesn’t drive like the typical econobox, handles well, good power, that was the difference over Civic and others getting 39 mpg average and on 700 mile trip I gt average of 35 mpg … no regrets!”

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 3 $24,000, Acura TSX $31,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Chevrolet Sonic $14,000, Dodge Dart $16,000, Ford Focus $16,000, Honda Civic $18,000, Hyundai Elantra $17,000, Kia Forte $20,000, Mini Cooper $30,000, Nissan Versa $15,000, Scion tC $19,000, Subaru Impreza $18,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Toyota Matrix $19,000, Toyota Yaris $17,000, Volkswagen Golf 4-door $25,000, Volkswagen GTI $25,000, Volkswagen Jetta $24,000.

Good News:

Priced right, good power, endorsements from consumers 9.7 out of 10.

Bad News:

None worth noting.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 155 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, 16” Alloy Wheels, rear window defogger and wiper, variable intermittent wipers,  moon roof, rear lift gate and roof spoiler, 5-passenger seating, tilt and telescopic steering, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and Bluetooth controls, power windows and locks, leather trimmed seats and door panels, 3-way power driver seat, heated front seats, climate control, 4-wheel anti lock disc brake system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, LATCH child safety seat anchors, stabilizer bars front and rear, halogen lights, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, Bose 10-speaker surround audio system, HD Radio and Pandora audio, SMS text message deliver and reply, CD, MP3 and USB input, Bluetooth hands free phone and audio, keyless entry and start system with push button start and stop, dynamic stability control, traction control, front and front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft engine immobilizer and blind spot monitoring system.

Gas Stats:

$4.08 / Gal avg. March 12, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

27 City and 38 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,150.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com