2017 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 4-Door Sedan

20170228_114055The Mazda was driven to the radio station (KELS-FM 104.7) for an analysis by the “Morning Show” DJ’s, George Gray and Matt Arguello:

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Eternal Blue Mica metallic – Parchment leather heated buckets – Technology Package with Navigation system (7” touchscreen) – Radar cruise control – Power moonroof  LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights – Bose 9 speaker centerpoint surround sound stereo – Backup camera – 185 horsepower, 2.5 liter four cylinder SkyActiv engine  – 6 Speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive – $26,880.00 – Built in Hofu, Japan – 34 MPG on the highway, 29 MPG combined – Car and Driver TenBest winner20170228_114020_hdr

2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring FWD Sedan

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This Mazda6 Grand Touring was taken to Pirate Radio (104.7 FM) last week and inspected by the DJs, George “Elvis” Gray, and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello:

Deep Crystal Blue metallic paint – Parchment leather buckets/5 passenger – Navigation system – 7” touchscreen – Radar Cruise control – LED running lights – Lane keep system – XM radio and  premium Bose stereo – Pushbutton starter – Power windows and locks – 2.5 liter 4 with 184 horsepower – Front Wheel Drive – 6 Speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters – Backup camera – Blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert – $33,395.00 M.S.R.P. – 40 MPG Highway

2016 Mazda3 “S” 5-Door Grand Touring Hatchback

20151202_161511The first Mazda3 that could be purchased was the 2004 model, and the 2016 recently was introduced in a third generation configuration.  The Mazda3 was loaned to me for testing recently by Greeley Mazda, and it came in Soul red metallic paint with a black and almond leather interior.

At the same time as the Mazda arrived, the January, 2016 issue of Car and Driver magazine arrived, and in it was the Mazda3 designated as a “10 Best Cars for 2016” selection.  The test car that I received was the top-of-the-line Grand Touring S edition with an M.S.R.P. of $30,270.00.  The base price was $26,495.00, and to it was added several options that totaled $2,955.00, most notable among them being an appearance package for $1,750.00.  In the package was a grouping of spoilers and side sill extenders that actually added nicely to the appearance of the car.

As a Grand Touring Mazda3, my loaner had a moon roof, heated front seats, power driver seat, navigation/rear camera setup with 7” touch screen, 20151202_162227and a Bose 9-speaker surround sound stereo. Additionally, the Mazda was equipped with XM radio, a console-mounted command control for the infotainment system, blind spot monitor, proximity keyless entry, and power windows/locks/outside mirrors. A genuine “hand brake” and push button (plus remote) starter, always positives for me, were on hand in the attractive Mazda interior.  Also, the Grand Touring model features auto on/off bi-xenon adaptive headlights, LED combination taillights, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink®, and perforated leather-trimmed seats.

Power for the Mazda3 S is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder, 184 horsepower (@ 5,700 rpm), 185 lb. ft. torque rating (@3,250 rpm) engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with floor shift and paddles on the steering column. Reportedly, zero to 60 timing for the 3 is 7.4 seconds.  Fuel economy ratings are 27/city – 37/highway, and 31/combined miles per gallon. Mazda equips this drive train with what is called SkyActiv technology, a combination, among other things, of 13 to 1 compression ratio and direct, multi-hole fuel injectors. Therefore the EPA highway readings are excellent, with my observation coming in at above the 31 mpg combined number.

20151202_162141Styling of the Mazda3 Grand Touring S, introduced in 2014, features a longer hood and elevated trunk lid with aerodynamic spoiler attached. All four windows roll down out of sight, and the windshield has an impressive rake to it. Wheels are ten-spoke dark gray alloys fitted with P215/45R18 all-season radials, and the new grill has a more menacing, blacked-out customized look.  I gave high marks for the ride, handling, and guidance of the car, and adjusting the sound system and navigation is easy with the right hand on the command control arrangement.

The Mazda3’s handling is improved by virtue of the electric-assist power steering, MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension (a rarity in this class). The car is 180.3” in overall length, with a wheelbase of 106.3” and weight of 2,848 lbs. The fuel tank holds 13.2 gallons and the trunk holds 12.4 cubic feet.
I liked the 2016 Mazda3 five-door hatchback, and could anticipate recommending a purchase to a prospective compact hatchback shopper.  And the new Car and Driver magazine editors agree with me.

 

 

2014 Mazda2 FWD Touring Sedan

_DSC3273This past week I had the opportunity to test a new 2014 Mazda2 sedan courtesy of Greeley Mazda, located at their new location at 2805 Eighth Avenue in Greeley.  The car was painted Liquid Silver metallic and featured black cloth upholstery with red piping.

The Mazda2, known as the Demio in Japan, is in its third generation iteration, having been introduced at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show.  Actually the American 2 was introduced two years later in Los Angeles , and the 2 is a car that has existed in one form or another since 1987.

M.S.R.P. of the Mazda was $17,050.00 (base) and only freight was added onto the price to bring the total to $17,845.00.  The 2 was the least expensive automobile that I have ever tested, but I cannot say it was the least attractive.  And driving it was fine, as well, with power supplied by a 1.5 liter, 16-valve four cylinder engine with 100 horsepower (@6,000 rpm) and 98 lb. ft. (@4,000 rpm) of torque.  Coupled to the front-wheel drive setup was a four-speed automatic electronically-controlled overdrive transmission.  The engine burns regular unleaded gasoline, has an 11.3 gallon tank, and rates 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

Weight of the little Mazda was 2,359 lbs., and the five passenger hatchback was 155.5” long, 66.7” wide, and rode on a 98” wheelbase.  Wheels were 15”, eight-spoke alloys fitted with P185/55R15 Yokohama S34 mud and snow radials.  Cargo capacity behind the second row of seating was 13.3 cubic ft., and that number doubled when the back seat was folded flat.  I found the back seat to be adequate for up to three persons, and the front buckets were supportive and attractive.SAM_3208

Other interior appointments included cruise control, power locks/windows, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, 6-speaker CD/stereo, and a USB/12 volt outlet.  Also present, thankfully, was air conditioning capable of cooling this driver in 95 degree heat.  Visibility was fine, as was guidance, ride, and handling.  No excessive road noise was present, and acceleration was adequate, considering that the car has 100 horsepower.  Reportedly, the zero to sixty timing is a little over ten seconds.  Front suspension is of the MacPherson strut variety and in the rear is a torsion bar setup.

I think that the styling of the 2 is a strong suite.  It has rakish lines, is hiked up in the rear where the hatch is, and has a visor over the rear hatch where a wiper resides.  Front styling is along the Mazda family theme; the Mazda family having an attractive lineup to offer.

The Mazda2 appears to this review to be a good choice in the B-segment category.  It’s comfortable, drives nice, is good-looking, and won’t break the bank at purchase time.