For reasons known only to them, the good folks at Roger Beasley Mazda South (who’ve obviously never seen me try to parallel park) recently decided to let me drive their cars. For the past three weeks I’ve driven not one, not two, but three different Mazdas – one per week – with the understanding that I’d give an honest review of each, discuss my experiences on social media, and otherwise do what I could to help them get the word out about a very cool line of automobiles that seems to be getting overlooked.
Of course I immediately took them up on this offer, trying to keep my squees to a minimum and pretending to be a Very Responsible and Trustworthy Driver. You know, someone you wouldn’t think twice about loaning a brand new, lovely car for a week. Certainly NOT the kind of person who once forgot to renew her driver’s license for FIVE YEARS.*
I’d originally planned to write a separate review for each car, posting something at the end of each week. It was a very responsible plan. But unfortunately for everyone, I’m Beej. And Beej + Any “Very Responsible Plan” = Totally Not Gonna Happen. With the holiday craziness and all kinds of shiny things around to distract me… well, you know. Do the math.
So now here we are. At the official last minute. And, in true Beej fashion, I will now completely half-ass this and write one post instead of three.
It’s just how I roll, y’all.
So here we go.
Mazda 3. I started out with the Mazda 3 – a sporty little thing with a ton of zip, a fantastic Bose sound system and this crazy knob (NOT a euphemism) in the middle console that I kind of fell in love with. It controlled the entire audio/communication system, was easy to use and conveniently located, and it had this really satisfying little clicky-clicky feeling when you used it. (It’s the little things in life, people. Don’t judge me for loving the knob.)
Know what else I fell in love with? Keyless entry. Which is like, the best invention ever. As long as you have your key in a pocket or in your purse, all you have to do is press a button on your door handle and le voila! You’re in! Let me tell you, when you’re juggling coats, gloves, hats and Christmas presents, plus your purse and a cup of coffee, that keyless entry business is THE SHNIZZLE.
The car itself was really fun to drive – not exactly a practical size for me, given the amount of crap I’m constantly hauling around thanks to the six-year old, but if I was single and/or kidless I could be very happy whizzing around town in this spunky little number.
The gas mileage was fantastic, too – so fantastic that I was convinced I was reading the gauge wrong when I still had half a tank left after a week’s worth of running around. I actually made the hubs come outside (in the freezing rain) to confirm that it wasn’t broken. (This is true. He’s still a little pouty about it.)
On week two I traded my sporty little 3 for the much more family-friendly CX-5. Of the three cars I drove, this one’s the most similar in terms of size and function to my own car (a 10-year old Ford Escape that I love dearly, despite its age and issues).
It wasn’t as zippy as the 3, and it wasn’t nearly as powerful as my Ford, but the CX-5 definitely had its own set of advantages. The gas mileage was, again, killer – especially for a car of this size. And it was very comfortable inside — nice and roomy, with plenty of space for all our junk in the trunk.
We got our Christmas trees with this car. We went to CostCo in this car. We picked people up from the airport in this car. It was all easy and fun and smooth, and through it all I only used about half the gas that I would have in the Ford.
Hey – did I mention the seat warmers? All three cars had these but I really put them to use in the 5, because a huge cold front came in that week and my butt needed some serious warming. The only drawback: never wanting to leave your seat once you reach your destination.
Mazda 6. This was the last of the series for me, and by far the most swank. Totally tricked out with all the bells and whistles, including a sunroof, cruise control that senses and reacts if the car in front of you changes speed, and blind spot sensors that warn you of hazards when changing lanes.
(All three cars had the blind spot sensors, which I got used to very fast. Gonna be tough, having to swivel my neck again once I’m back in the old Ford. #spoiled #chiropractor)
The Bose speakers were back, and so was the magical knob – but surprisingly, I hardly used it at all this time around. I couldn’t really tell you why, but I can tell you that the whole phone/stereo/touchscreen system was a lot more problematic in this car than it was in the other two. To be fair, I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure it out – but I definitely preferred the interface that the 3 had to the built-in screen/interface of the 5 and 6.
Drive-wise, the 6 was very powerful and a super smooth ride, with plenty of interior room. It was a lot longer than it seemed, which could create some difficulties when parking (maybe only for the depth-perceptionally challenged, like me)… but once you get used to it, I suppose it’s no different than driving a larger car like a Cadillac or Town Car or something. Just takes a little adjusting.
(Also worth noting: All three cars had the reverse camera feature, which I quickly grew addicted to and now can’t live without. I’m seriously concerned about my ability to back out of any parking space without it now. Looks like I’m going to have to re-learn how to drive, old-school. Ah, technology. You giveth and then you taketh away.)
Other stuff you should know.
I cannot say enough about how fantastic the folks at Roger Beasley Mazda South have been. Everyone I’ve met there, from the receptionist to the owner, has been friendly, helpful, informative and just plain nice. The company’s also very active in the community, giving back through local charities that benefit children and animals like the Austin Humane Society and Hand to Hold, which scores big points with me.
They’re also genuinely open to suggestions from customers on ways they can improve the sales process and better spread the word about their brand; and they’re embracing the digital age like no other dealership I’ve seen, with a full team of online sales reps on staff and a web site that allows you to research, inquire, apply for financing and even schedule maintenance online. As a result their entire process, both pre- and post-sale, is made easier for consumers, and as a busy working mom who prefers to conduct as much of my business online as possible, I really appreciate that.
My final word: If you’re car-shopping and haven’t yet considered a Mazda, I’d HIGHLY recommend adding the brand to your exploration list. All three cars were great, award-winning rides, viable options for just about any driver, and ALL of them are reasonably priced, with terrific gas mileage saving you even more down the road.
So, there you have it. It’s been an absolutely lovely three weeks of easy, smooth driving, and I’ve got those cool guys at Roger Beasley to thank for it. The next time I’m in the market for a new car, they’ll be my first stop — and if you’re smart, they’ll be yours, too.
Safe driving, y’all. See you somewhere down the road!
*For the record, I’m totally legal now. And I’ve got the squishy-faced license photo to prove it.