Archive for Mazda

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on September 20, 2019 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of my week long review of the Mazda CX-5D Signature. My final fuel economy was 8 L/100KM’s which I got in a mix of city roads and highways, not to mention a lot of rush hour traffic. I am pretty sure that I could have gotten better as I know that the diesel engine is capable of getting better fuel economy. Still it did better than the numbers that Mazda said that I should get. Thus I am not complaining and neither will anyone who buys this vehicle.

The closest competitors to the CX-5D Signature were hard to come by as there aren’t a lot of diesel vehicles left in the Canadian marketplace. But here’s the short list that I came up with:

  • Land Rover Discovery
  • GMC Terrain
  • Chevrolet Equinox

Now one of those vehicles is a luxury vehicle, which may make you think about why I put it on the list. Here’s the thing. With the interior that the CX-5D has, it deserves to be on that list as it is simply a class above the GMC and Chevy. And easily competitive with the Land Rover as long as you don’t go for something uber upscale. Like leather from some sort of sacred cow or something which would cost your right arm. Even if you didn’t you’re going to pay thousands less for the Mazda.

Speaking of dollars and cents, the CX-5D Signature goes for $45,950 before freight and taxes. That’s a $5000 premium over the CX-5 Signature with the 2.5 L turbo engine that I reviewed earlier this year. But you do get 2 years/32000 KM of scheduled maintenance as part of the deal. Plus on top of that you get a $300 CDN accessory credit as well. Both of those will sweeten the pot to make you want to jump to the CX-5D.

For it to be worth it to you, I’d say you’d have to do a lot of highway driving as that’s where this engine shines. Or you have to be someone who has had a diesel in the past and you want something new. If you fit either use case, I would say that you have to run to your Mazda dealer and test drive the CX-5D Signature today.

 

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Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on September 19, 2019 by itnerd

If you’re looking for technology in the Mazda CX-5D Signature, there’s a lot of it. Some of it which is really different. But there are two things missing. Before I get to that, let’s start with the safety technology:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: This system keeps an eye out for cars in your blind spots so that you don’t hit them when changing lanes. It works well as the area of detection was large enough to keep me safe, but not so large that it created false positives.
  • Lane Departure Warning With Lane Keep Assist: If you cross over into another lane, this system will buzz you on either the right or the left side. The buzz really gets your attention I must say. You can also set it to vibrate the steering wheel.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: If you back out of a parking space in a busy shopping mall and you have limited visibility to your left and right, you’ll love this system as you will be warned of any cars that cross into your path.
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System and High Beam Control: I wrote about this previously and I have to admit that on some of the back roads that I drive at night, this feature comes in handy. I was always able to see what was in front of me clearly. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that the LED headlights were very bright.
  • Radar Based Cruise Control: I really liked this feature as you can set the speed you want and the distance that you want to have between yourself and the car in front of you, and you can pretty much let it slow down and speed up depending on the conditions. It’s very handy on long highway drives.
  • Smart City Brake Support: Let’s say that you you do not react in time to a car that panic stops in front of you. This Mazda is capable of coming to a stop on it’s own, or slowing down to make the impact less severe. You can get more details on this system here.
  • Rear Backup Camera: The camera is a fisheye camera that has an impressive degree of clarity. You can see anything and everything that is behind you when you’re backing up. One thing to note is that the camera is exposed which means dirt could make using it an issue.
  • You get anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and electronic brake force distribution. Plus you get hill launch assist which keeps you from rolling backwards when you’re on a hill.
  • Finally, you get dual front air bags, dual front side air bags and dual side air curtains.

The next piece of technology that stood out was this:

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The Mazda Active Driving Display is a heads up display that places everything from speed and blind spot monitoring info, to navigation and warning for the lane monitoring, and how close you are to the car in front of you. On top of that, the car is capable of reading speed limit and stop signs so that it can display them on this heads up display in color. It works very well with the only thing that I should mention is that polarized driving sunglasses will filter the display out. Thus choose your sunglasses carefully.

The best piece of technology that is in the Mazda CX-5 Signature is the inclusion of Mazda Connect. The combination of the 8″ touchscreen and the HMI (Human Machine Interface) Commander Switch gives the driver a easy to learn, easy to use infotainment system. I wrote about it in detail here. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. And it’s the best implementation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto I have seen. I wrote an in depth report on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in Mazda vehicles here. But I highly suggest that you include trying out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto when you test drive a Mazda vehicle. The only thing that I will point out is that this is an earlier implementation of Mazda Connect versus the new and even easier to use version that comes in the new Mazda3. But I am pretty sure you will not complain given how easy to use it is.

One other thing that I should mention about Mazda Connect is the enhancements to SiriusXM which include the following:

  • More room for song/artist/genre metadata.
  • Album art display.
  • Channel logos on Now Playing and Station List screens.
  • New SiriusXM features: TuneStart, TuneScan, and TuneMix.

On top of that, SiriusXM Traffic Plus is now onboard and it includes the following features:

  • Live Traffic: View traffic flow and incident information directly on the Mazda Navigation map. This feature is available in 20 different Canadian communities. It ties into the on board navigation system to allow it to better route you.
  • Weather: View Forecasts, Radar Maps, and Severe Weather Alerts.
  • Fuel Prices: Find the lowest fuel prices or the closest fuel stations and see the available fuel types.
  • Parking Information: Find parking locations, pricing, and hours of operation.
  • Sports: Follow your favorite teams sports with play-by-play details and game/event schedules.

SiriusXM Traffic Plus is free for five years. This is separate from the three month trial SiriusXM audio subscription.

A 10 speaker Bose audio system is on board as well that sounds insanely great regardless of what music I threw at it. The track “No Mans Land” from the Wonder Woman movie soundtrack sounded incredible. As if you right there amongst the orchestra when it was being recorded.

So what’s missing? Besides the newest version of Mazda Connect, the Mazda6 Signature and CX-9 Signature have a 360 degree camera and front and rear sensors that keep you from hitting objects. They aren’t present on the CX-5D Signature. If Mazda included all of that in the CX-5D it would take the CX-5D Signature from being a great compact crossover to being perfect.

Finally, there’s actually driving the Mazda CX-5D Signature. You get a proximity key with push button start. Thus all you have to do is press a button on the driver’s door handle. Press it and the car will unlock. Get in, hit the start/stop button and drive away. One nice touch is that the start/stop button will light up with a green light if you press the brake pedal to start. That’s a nice touch to remind you to press the brake pedal to start the car. When you’ve reached your destination, press the start/stop button to turn off the car. Then get out of the car, close the door and walk away. You’ll hear two beeps. One after you close the door and one about 10 seconds later. When you hear both, the car is locked. You never need to pull out the key fob to do any of this. But the key fob does have the ability to lock and unlock the doors and it has the ever useful panic button. As an added bonus, it has a backup key inside the key fob should you need it.

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my final verdict. Watch for it on Friday.

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on September 18, 2019 by itnerd

The interior of the Mazda CX-5 Signature is one that will humble the interiors of a lot of luxury cars. Let me walk you through it and you’ll see why I feel that way.

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A nice touch is the fact that the door wraps around the bottom of the door frame. That way, your pants don’t get dirty.

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The door has a mix of stitched Nappa leather, Abachi wood trim that is very classy. The window and mirror controls have a piano black finish around them that looks very upscale.

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The drivers seat is made of Nappa leather and is heated and cooled. It’s 10-way power-adjustable as well. It is comfortable to sit in, but for a 6 foot tall guy like me, it could use a  bit more length for long thighs. You also get two memory settings as well.

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The cockpit has a dead pedal for long drives and the pedals are easy to modulate. All the controls fall to hand easily.

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The left and right gauges are real. The center gauge is a TFT screen that you can customize to display to the information that you want to see.

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The steering wheel is heated and is on the chunky side. My wife who has small hands found it a bit too big for her. I found it to be fine. Your mileage may vary. Redundant controls for the infotainment system and the controls for the cruise control are on the steering wheel.

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There’s a frameless rear view mirror that provides a lot more real estate to see what’s behind you.

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There’s a 7″ color touchscreen display on the top of the dash above the air vents.

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The HVAC controls are below the air vents. There’s also a cubby that fits my iPhone XS easily.

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The shifter is leather wrapped. To the left of that is the sport mode switch. Below that is the electronic parking brake and the switch to hold the CX-5 Signature on a hill. To the right of that is the HMI Commander Switch that controls the infotainment system. There’s a piano black finish that is a bit of a fingerprint and dust magnet though when it is clean it looks very upscale.

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There are two cupholders that hold a Venti sized Starbucks coffee with ease.

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There’s a storage cubby that doubles as an armrest. It has a removable shelf, two USB ports and a 12V outlet.

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The glove box is lit and is decently sized.

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The foot well is also lit which adds a touch of class.

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There’s a power moonroof with a manual sunshade.

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The rear seat sits two adults comfortably. Three is doable for short distances. The seats are heated.

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There’s a HVAC vent for the back seat passengers.

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The middle seat has a panel that has two cupholders, two USB ports, and the controls for the heated seats.

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The CX-5 Signature has 40-20-40 folding seats that give you a mostly flat cargo area and a whole lot of flexibility.

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With the seats up there’s loads of space. Our weekly shopping fit in her with tons fo space left over.

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You can flip the seats down using this handle. There is one on each side of the cargo area of the CX-5 Signature.

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Also in the cargo area is a 12V outlet. Handy for tailgating.

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Besides the button to close the power lift gate, there’s a handle to close the lift gate if you need it.

Overall the interior is first class in every way possible. Mazda really did a great job putting the interior together as it it really impresses anyone who sees it. I should also note that there’s very good vision in every direction for the driver. No rattles, squeaks, or other annoyances were noted during my week with the CX-5D Signature.

Tomorrow I will talk about the technology in the CX-5D Signature. Stay tuned for that.

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on September 17, 2019 by itnerd

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This is the Skyactiv-D 2.2 L turbocharged diesel engine which has sequential dual turbochargers and common rail electric direct injection tech onboard. That allows it to put out 168 hp and a stout 290 lb-ft of torque. And that torque is delivered down low in the rev range which is exactly where you need it. Now acceleration is more like a steady continuous wave of power rather than going to warp 9 on the Starship Enterprise. Which is still fine to get you on the highway and around slower vehicles. The other thing that I have to say is that this engine is quiet by not only diesel standards, but by any standard. On the highway, it’s silent. In city environments you can barely hear the familiar rattle of a diesel if you go looking for it. To further underline this, I took four people in the CX-5D and simply told them it was a CX-5. One person was German and one was English. The reason why I am mentioning that is that those are places where diesel vehicles are prevalent. So they should be able to spot that this is a diesel. I then drove them for about 15 minutes and asked them to comment on how quiet the CX-5D was. They all reported that the vehicle was very quiet. That’s when I told them that this had a diesel under the hood. They didn’t believe me until I showed them this:

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This is of course the nozzle for diesel fuel. On the right is the nozzle for the AdBlue liquid that helps to control emissions. Upon seeing that they were all floored that a diesel engine could be this quiet.

If you want a quiet diesel engine, this is it.

The six speed transmission that’s mated to this engine is well sorted and always seems to be in the right gear to power all four wheels. In fact the iActiv AWD system is one reason in my opinion that the CX-5D Signature is able to get the power to the road. Not to mention it will keep you on the straight and narrow when driving in inclement weather. Handling is one area where Mazda definitely improved things on the CX-5D Signature. There’s less body roll in the CX-5D Signature and it is extremely nimble. Likely because Mazda brings G-Vectoring Control Plus to the party as it helps you to carve corners like you’re on rails. The ride is solid without beating you up. And the steering, which for the record was already good is sharper and more direct. In short, this is the best handing and driving compact crossover that you can get without paying for a vehicle from Germany.

So let’s get to the part you care about. What’s the fuel economy? Before I give you what I am currently getting, let me tell you what the CX-5D is rated for. It’s rated fo 8.9 L/100KM city and 7.9 L/100KM highway. But you can do better than that. I am currently doing 8 L/100KM in mixed city and highway driving, but on a drive from Mazda Canada’s HQ to Cherry Beach Park on the lakefront to do the photoshoot for this review, I got this fuel economy: 

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Now this was 85% highway driving to be fair. But it is still impressive.

Tomorrow I will discuss the interior which can be described in two words: “Class Above.” Tune in tomorrow to find out why.

 

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on September 16, 2019 by itnerd

Mazda for as long as I have reviewed their vehicles has been promising a diesel powered vehicle. But for the longest while nothing has appeared. That changed this year with the introduction of the Mazda CX-5D Signature:

 

 

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Now this looks just like any other CX-5 that you might see on the street as Mazda hasn’t changed the Kodo design language that makes this vehicle great to look at. The only hint that this is a diesel is this:

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In other words, this vehicle doesn’t scream the fact that it is a diesel. Mazda has had the top end Signature trim level for the last year or so in the form of the CX-9, CX-5 and Mazda6. So it’s great that that the CX-5D has it as well. In fact, it’s the only way you can get this diesel engine.

My review of the 2019 Mazda CX-5D Signature is made up of five parts:

  • Exterior
  • Engine, transmission, handling, fuel economy, and driving comfort
  • Interior
  • Technology in the vehicle
  • Wrap up

The next part of this review will cover the engine, transmission and driving comfort. You can expect that I will spend a lot of time on diesel engine. Tune in tomorrow to find out what I have to say about that.

 

Review: 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on May 17, 2019 by itnerd

I’ve come to the end of my review of the 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD and this is a car that was difficult to give back to Mazda Canada. That was due to the fact that for yours truly, this is the perfect car for me. Here’s why:

  • The fact that it is a hatchback gives me a lot of versatility.
  • Because it has AWD it allows me to feel more secure in inclement weather or winter.
  • It sips gas as I registered an outstanding 8.4L / 100 KM which I got in a mix of city roads and highways, not to mention a lot of rush hour traffic. That’s pretty good given that there’s all wheel drive on board which usually impacts fuel economy. Not to mention that I wasn’t exactly driving in a fuel efficient manner. Clearly Mazda has got that part nailed.
  • The Interior is top shelf in every way.
  • The exterior is a head turner.
  • The tech on board is impressive.
  • Finally, because it is a car, it handles exceptionally well.

Thus don’t be surprised if I post something saying that I am now the proud owner of one.

Here’s the bottom line. Mazda clearly put a lot of time and effort to come up with a compact car that will rise up the sales charts. But if you must cross shop it, the only direct competitor that I could come up with was Subaru Impreza as is the only compact car that I can think of that comes with all wheel drive. But the Impreza doesn’t match the interior of the Mazda3 Sport, nor does it match the engine and transmission combo. And when it comes to the usual suspects in the compact car space like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and the like, it’s simply heads and shoulders above those vehicles and everything else in the segment.

The Mazda3 Sport GT AWD goes for $33,295 including freight and taxes. But you can get a Mazda3 Sport for $27,200 to start. Quite frankly, Mazda has a winner on its hands here. If you’re in the market for a compact car, you should consider Mazda3 Sport a must test drive.

Review: 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on May 16, 2019 by itnerd

If you’re looking for technology in the Mazda3 Sport GT AWD, there’s a lot of it. Some of it which is really different. And some of it is new for 2019.

First let’s start with the driving experience. You get a proximity key with push button start. Thus all you have to do is press a button on the driver’s door handle. Well, it’s not a button. It’s more like a touch sensitive indent on the front door handle. And it took me a while to figure out how to use it because I didn’t read the manual. Specifically:

  • If the car is locked, grabbing the door handle will unlock the door.
  • If the car is unlocked, touching the indent will lock the door.

My challenge came when locking the door as grabbing the handle and touching the indent would not lock the door. Once I figured that out, it became second nature to me.

Once you get in, hit the start/stop button and drive away. When you’ve reached your destination, press the start/stop button to turn off the car. Then get out of the car, touch the indent on the door and walk away. You never need to pull out the key fob to do any of this. But the key fob does have the ability to lock and unlock the doors and it has the ever useful panic button. As an added bonus, it has a backup key inside the key fob should you need it. And you can set the car to auto lock if you so desire which will allow you to just walk away from the Mazda3. The car that I had this week was set up that way and it was a very handy feature to have as I never had to think about locking the car.

Let’s go to the safety technology:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: This system keeps an eye out for cars in your blind spots so that you don’t hit them when changing lanes. It works well as the area of detection was large enough to keep me safe, but not so large that it created false positives. One cool thing is that unlike a lot of systems which only work when the car is above a certain speed, this system seems to work all the time for an extra level of safety.
  • Lane Departure Warning With Lane Keep Assist: If you cross over into another lane, this system will buzz you on either the right or the left side. The buzz really gets your attention I must say. You can also set it to vibrate the steering wheel. And it gets really loud if you’re too close to a car and you’re in danger of hitting it.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: If you back out of a parking space in a busy shopping mall and you have limited visibility to your left and right, you’ll love this system as you will be warned of any cars that cross into your path.
  • Rear Backup Sensors: The Mazda3 has sensors that help you to revers into a spot without hitting anything. And the Mazda3 is capable of stopping itself if you are about to revers into something.
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System and High Beam Control: I wrote about this previously and I have to admit that on some of the back roads that I drive at night, this feature comes in handy. I was always able to see what was in front of me clearly. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that the LED headlights were very bright.
  • Radar Based Cruise Control: I really liked this feature as you can set the speed you want and the distance that you want to have between yourself and the car in front of you, and you can pretty much let it slow down and speed up depending on the conditions. It’s very handy on long highway drives.
  • Smart City Brake Support: Let’s say that you you do not react in time to a car that panic stops in front of you. This Mazda is capable of coming to a stop on it’s own, or slowing down to make the impact less severe. You can get more details on this system here.
  • Rear Backup Camera: The camera is a fisheye camera that has an impressive degree of clarity. You can see anything and everything that is behind you when you’re backing up and the camera is insanely clear. One thing to note is that the camera is exposed so that the potential exists for dirt to obscure the camera.
  • You get anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and electronic brake force distribution. Plus you get hill launch assist which keeps you from rolling backwards when you’re on a hill.
  • Finally, you get dual front air bags, dual front side air bags, dual side air curtains and knee air bags.

The next piece of technology that stood out was this:

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The Mazda Active Driving Display is a heads up display that places everything from speed and blind spot monitoring info, to navigation and warning for the lane monitoring, and how close you are to the car in front of you. On top of that, the car is capable of reading speed limit and stop signs so that it can display them on this heads up display (as is the case here) in color. It works very well with the only thing that I should mention is that polarized driving sunglasses will filter the display out. Thus choose your sunglasses carefully.

But Mazda has a new feature for 2019. Mazda has a new version of Mazda Connect. Here’s a look at the screen which is an all new 8.8″ super sharp widescreen, which for the record is not a touch screen. More on that in a second:

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The interface is clean and easy to understand. As you can see there’s a list of functions that you can scroll through. And it takes one only minutes to figure out. Another feature is that you can set up either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to pop up automatically when a phone is plugged into the system. That’s a very cool feature as there are some who will just want to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead of Mazda Connect. And Mazda has fully leveraged the screen real estate for both Apple CarPlay as displayed above or Android Auto.

The screen is not touch sensitive as mentioned earlier so to interact with Mazda Connect, you have to use this:

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This is the HMI (Human Machine Interface) Commander Switch. It’s been redesigned and feels a lot better in the hand and becomes second nature to use after only a few uses. The logic behind forcing you to use the HMI Commander Switch rather than a touch screen is that it is way safer than a touch screen. And I would agree with that as I didn’t realize how distracting a touchscreen in a car is until I started using Mazda Connect. I say that because touchscreen usage while driving takes my attention from the road. But using the HMI Commander Switch for me is far less distracting.

One other thing. this new version of Mazda Connect is fast. It’s fast on startup, it’s fast in terms of navigating it, it’s fast in terms of how the screen responds. It’s just plain fast. I was impressed as it was one of the fastest car infotainment systems that I have ever seen.

Mazda Connect comes with SiriusXM which include the following:

  • More room for song/artist/genre metadata.
  • Album art display.
  • Channel logos on Now Playing and Station List screens.
  • New SiriusXM features: TuneStart, TuneScan, and TuneMix.

On top of that, SiriusXM Traffic Plus is now onboard and it includes the following features:

  • Live Traffic: View traffic flow and incident information directly on the Mazda Navigation map. This feature is available in 20 different Canadian communities. It ties into the on board navigation system to allow it to better route you.
  • Weather: View Forecasts, Radar Maps, and Severe Weather Alerts.
  • Fuel Prices: Find the lowest fuel prices or the closest fuel stations and see the available fuel types.
  • Parking Information: Find parking locations, pricing, and hours of operation.
  • Sports: Follow your favorite teams sports with play-by-play details and game/event schedules.

SiriusXM Traffic Plus is free for five years. This is separate from the three month trial SiriusXM audio subscription.

The only hiccup that I noted with this new version of Mazda Connect was that if I used Apple CarPlay, it would disable the ability fo the Mazda3 to display traffic signs either on the Mazda Active Driving Display or in the instrument cluster. I wondered if this was a bug or was it by design. It turns out it was the latter when I asked my contact at Mazda about it. Mazda’s goal was to avoid inconsistent speed limit displays between what is shown on the gauge cluster with Traffic Sign Recognition and what Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, etc. would show on the center display.

I should note that I will be doing a separate story on the new Mazda Connect so that you can see how much it has changed.

A 12 speaker Bose audio system is on board. It impressed my wife who usually isn’t impressed by many car stereo systems as she is a classically trained pianist and takes audio seriously. My wife compared this sound system to one that was a $4000 option in a $75000 SUV we recently spent time in which is great company for Mazda to be in. My new audio torture playlist which includes LookLA, Ruelle, Snoh Aalegra, SAHED, Astrud Gilberto, Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, 10,000 Maniacs, Death Cab For Cutie, Chicago, Röyksopp, and Thutmose & NoMBe sounded amazing on this system and the one thing that stood out was that Blue Lights by Jorja Smith sounded amazing as the stereo separation that the song has was next level on this audio system.

One last bit of tech that caught my eye was the fact that the windshield wiper nozzles were integrated into windshield wiper blades. That means that the fluid gets sprayed directly onto the windshield where it will be most effective. It also means less waste when it comes to the fluid which is a good thing.

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my final verdict. Watch for it tomorrow.