BY H. THROTTLE
Memories of Mazda.
I’m reminded of its adventure decades ago into a different kind of gasoline engine that was rotary style, daring and different—it never captured the market place and Mazda has returned to a Skyactiv G2.5L that produces an amazing 184 horsepower without turbo boosting.
This engine power package is linked to a six-speed Skyactiv six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters.
This 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan is impressive in style, comfort and performance.
The Mazda3 is manufactured in Japan with labor and materials. The quality continues to be what has driven these cars to be so successful around the world with growing demand.
As we enter 2018, U.S. car customers are enjoying a very competitive marketplace in both quality, variety and pricing. Driving and considering a new or used-car purchase should depend upon comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. The lemons have disappeared and virtually all 2018 cars have admirable features, designs, safety equipment and lasting warranties.
The best way to look at these new automobiles is what is best for you, your family, children and price level you wish to purchase. Also, is the car for pleasure, work, business, distant commute, soccer mom, or in Colorado mountain trips and inclement weather?
Generally speaking in cars, you get what you pay for, but competition has made this an exciting menu of standard and optional features. Most American like optional equipment and will pay the price for upgraded radio, navigation and safety features. Over the life of the vehicle, these features really make a difference in comfort, safety and as Mazda states, “harmony between the car and the driver.”
This is only the second Mazda product ever test driven. This sedan is impressive, loaded with features and optional equipment, with a final package price of $29,770. Dealer sales and incentives and optional equipment choices can vary price considerably.
The first impression on the Mazda3 are the plush bucket seats, so comfortable and leather trimmed. Front seats are heated, along with a heated steering wheel and outside mirrors. The heated seats and steering wheel were welcome with Stock Show weather arriving.
The cabin is compact. Japanese people are not as large as Americans, so everything is slightly smaller along the interior and exterior. This is a grand touring four-door sedan with tight rear seating with fold-down capacity and rear-lift gate.
The car is nimble, quick, with sassy speed enhanced by the paddle shifting. It is easy to be the first car away from the stop sign and still averaging 30 mpg of regular fuel.
Mazda3 has an overall perfect 5-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that tests all cars sold in the United States.
Safety equipment includes the newer lane-departure system that beeps a warning when crossing a highway painted lane. Smart City brake support helps avoid striking a forward object in heavy city traffic that we all encounter these days and that will only grow worse in future years.
The “soul red metallic” paint is really sharp, along with the snappy design. The car is low to the ground and that could be a challenge in deep snow. This model is not listed as an all-wheel drive vehicle. The height of the vehicle and low center of gravity creates a little more road chatter than normal.
A very welcome optional feature is the traffic-sign recognition that puts the speed limits on the windshield in the driver’s view.
Overall, this is a grand touring vehicle with an attractive price.
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