Recently I had the opportunity, thanks to DriveShop, to drive the zippy Mazda 3, a comfortable compact car that made me fall in love with driving all over again. I usually drive an SUV. I mean with three kids and a dog and with so many large vehicles on the road, I just feel safer. But recently I spent a week with a Madza 3 and boy, it was fun. The car is considered a compact, but it doesn’t feel like it at all, especially in how it drives. This pretty little thing was roomy, it felt absolutely solid, and it drove like it was floating in the clouds. And yet, it had nice pick up and the suspension was not overly rigid.
The car was a top of the line model, the Mazda 3 S 4-door Grand Touring. It was metallic soul red and had black leather trimmed sport seats. It also had just about any gizmo you could add to a vehicle these days: rearview camera, heated seats, Mazda radar cruise control, lane departure warning system, automatic windshield wipers; the works!
I drove the car to Orlando where I had to give a presentation to participants in the Food and Wine conference. The car performed flawlessly, but best of all, I never felt tired from the two hour drive. I arrived in Orlando refreshed and relaxed. No driver fatigue whatsoever. The general comfort of the seats, the steadiness of the ride and the Sirius Satellite radio with Bose speakers made me forget I was commuting on I-4, one of Florida’s most stressful highways.
The trunk was decent for a small compact car (it was a sedan, but there is also a hatchback model). I travelled with two of my kids and all our luggage fit, (and I pack like royalty traveling on the Titanic). The kids, ages 12 and 13, were comfortable in the back. I didn’t hear a peep of complaining. The Mazda 3 made of a fine, smooth trip overall.
But when we got home to Sarasota, the story changed. Running errands around town was nothing but smooth. It zipped here and there to the point that I fell in love with driving. The car, especially when it’s on ‘sport’ mode, is a powerhouse that shows of its tight handling capabilities while driving around in-town traffic. I could do quick turns and squeeze into another lane with total confidence. These are things I can’t quite do with my SUV. Before I knew it, the week was over and I had to give back the Mazda 3.
Well, I couldn’t believe I felt sad I was not going to be zoom-zooming around town in that fun red car.