Archive for Mazda

Review: 2019 Mazda3 GT AWD – Part 3

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

The interior of the Mazda3 GT AWD is a class above with a few minor issues that don’t detract from that class above feeling. Let me walk you through it and you’ll see why I feel that way.

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The drivers seat is a comfortable place to be. It’s leather, power adjustable in ten ways with two memory settings. While it could have a bit more bolstering in the lower part of the seat and be slightly wider, you’ll find no issues with it.

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The mirror, door locks, and window controls are lit and easy to reach. There’s a leather and piano black finish along with silver trim around the speakers that gives the interior an upscale feel.

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Here you can see the buttons for the electronic overseers as well as the driver seat memory settings. You can also see the pedals and the dead pedals.

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There’s also this storage area for coins under the buttons for the seat settings as well as the button to pop the trunk.

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Here’s a shot of the dash which when you look at it, you really get the feeling that this is a very modern, clean and upscale design.

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The steering wheel is on the thick side. I have to admit that even though I have large hands, it didn’t really feel comfortable to me for most of the week that I had it. I did eventually get used to it though. It is heated and has all the controls that you need to use the infotainment system and cruise control. There are also paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

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The gauge cluster is made up of two real gauges on the outside, and a TFT screen in the middle which you can flip through a series of screens that allow you to get the information that you need. It’s generally bright and easy to read, though I did note that it is sometimes prone to glare.

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Moving to the center of the dash, there’s a 8.8″ widescreen for the infotainment system. The screen is bright and very, very sharp. I’ll have more on this and the whole infotainment system tomorrow.

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Below the screen are the controls for the dual zone HVAC system which includes the controls for the heated front seats and the heated steering wheel. Right below that is a USB port to plug your phone into.

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Right under the HVAC controls is a cubby that also contains a pair of cupholders. I have to admit that when I first saw this, I was dubious that it would pass my Venti Starbucks drink test. But….

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….. It passed that test with ease.

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Here you can see the leather wrapped gear shift, the redesigned HMI Commander Switch, as well as the parking brake, auto hold switch and the sport switch on the left. You can also see the fingerprints that tend to get left behind on a piano black finish like this.

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The armrest as a storage area that contains a USB port and a 12V outlet.

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There’s a decent sized glovebox.

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You also get a decent sized powered moonroof.

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The back seats are a decent place to be for two adults as I tested that with two six foot tall adults during the week I had the Mazda3. Three adults back here is a non-starter because of the tunnel in middle of the floor.

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There’s a pair of cupholders in an armrest that flips down from middle of the back seats.

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The trunk is deeper than I expected. You could likely fit a couple of bodies back here. Not that I would advocate that.

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But I will advocate the use of the trunk for your grocery shopping as it held our shopping with ease and with space left over.

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There’s a handle on the trunk that allows you to close the trunk without getting your hands dirty.

Overall the interior is first class in every way possible. Mazda really did a great job putting the interior together as it it really impressed anyone who saw it. The interior is also very quiet. More so than I expected it to be. 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 Mazda3.

Tomorrow I will talk about the technology in the Mazda3 which has made a massive transformation for 2019. Stay tuned for that.

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Review: 2019 Mazda3 GT AWD – Part 2

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

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This is the 2.5l Skyactiv-G 4 cylinder engine that powers the Mazda3 GT AWD. It puts out 186 horsepower and 186 pound feet of torque. Now this engine combined with a 6 speed automatic transmission will move this Mazda3 GT AWD with authority. It’s not head snapping fast. It’s more like the speed builds in a wave fast. Regardless of what you call it, you won’t be complaining about acceleration as you’ll have zero issues getting off the line or you need more power to pass a transport truck on the highway. And not once this week did I ever touch the sport mode switch as I had no need for 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 Mazda3 GT AWD is able to get the power to the road. It constantly monitors the road and shunts power to where it is needed. Not to mention it will assist in keeping you shiny side up when driving in inclement weather. The system worked transparently and without drama during the week that I had the Mazda3.

As for handling, I’ll deal with the elephant in the room. Mazda swapped out the independent rear suspension for a torsion beam suspension in this iteration of the Mazda3. That’s caused the Internet to explode with rage because the belief was a torsion beam suspension was going to make this new Mazda3 handle poorly. And as a result, the Internet thought that Mazda had lost the plot when it came to making cars that handle exceptionally well.

The Internet was wrong.

This Mazda3 carves corners, is extremely agile, and generally handles insanely well. It’s everything that you expect a Mazda when it comes to handling. In fact I seriously doubt that anyone who test drives it could tell that it didn’t have an independent rear suspension, But in typical Mazda fashion, they didn’t stop there. 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 is sharp and direct. I will also give Mazda credit retaining a lot of road feel in the Mazda3 so that I could feel what the car was doing. The only catch to that is that on rougher roads, the Mazda3 might not be your cup of tea as the vibrations from hard bumps may turn you off a bit. You might want to include some rough roads on your test drive to see if you find this to be an issue.

The brake pedal is firm but easy to modulate. The accelerator pedal is easy to modulate as well. In terms of fuel economy, I am currently getting 8.5 L per 100 KMs which is great as I am driving in city and highway traffic, most of which is in rush hour, and I am making no attempt to drive in any way that saves fuel.

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

Review: 2019 Mazda3 GT AWD – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on April 15, 2019 by itnerd

I usually don’t start a car review with a conclusion. But for one I will. The 2019 Mazda3 GT AWD is going to turn heads, generate lots of traffic into Mazda dealerships, and move a lot of copies of this car for Mazda. Thus this review will cover why all of that is very likely to happen. But let’s start with the looks of the Mazda3 first:

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The look of the Mazda3 is just head turning regardless of what angle you look at it from. The Kodo design language clearly works here and you’ll be getting a lot of attention wherever you drive.

My review of the 2019 Mazda3 GT AWD 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. Seeing as this is a compact car with all wheel drive, there will be a lot to cover. Tune in tomorrow to see what’s on tap.

 

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on February 8, 2019 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of my week long review of the Mazda CX-5 Signature. The closest competitors to the CX-5 Signature are the Ford Escape Titanium and Kia Sportage SX Turbo as they are close on horsepower, but they have less torque. But I really think that there are three reasons why the CX-5 in the Signature trim level beats all of them:

  • The CX-5 has a superior interior. As in one that doesn’t exist in any mainstream competitor, as well as one that will rival competitors in the luxury space.
  • The torque of the engine is better in the CX-5 Signature than in any of those vehicles.
  • It has the best implementation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that I have ever seen.

My final fuel economy was 10.7 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 if I wasn’t utilizing the power of this engine as the CX-5 Signature was so fun to drive. But I will take this fuel economy as that is a great for a vehicle of this size.

Now the CX-5 Signature goes for $40,950 before freight and taxes. But you can get a CX-5 for $27,650. Quite frankly, Mazda has a winner on its hands here. The CX-5 is at the top of the compact crossover space as it frankly is better than any other compact crossover out there. My advice is test drive the rest, then test drive the CX-5. I am confident that you’ll find that CX-5 is head and shoulders above the rest.

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on February 7, 2019 by itnerd

If you’re looking for technology in the Mazda CX-5 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 and that became a bit of an issue when backing up as I couldn’t use it to back the CX-5 Signature into a parking space.
  • 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 and this iteration seems to be a bit faster than I have found it to be in the past. But there’s more to Mazda Connect this time around as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are 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.

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. My new audio torture playlist. includes LookLA, Ruelle, Snoh Aalegra, SAHED, Astrud Gilberto, Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, and 10,000 Maniacs and the one thing that stood out was Who Needs Forever by Astrud Gilberto sounded amazing as I was hearing details that I have never heard before.

So what’s missing? 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-5 Signature. If Mazda included them it would take the CX-5 Signature from being a great compact crossover to being perfect.

Finally, there’s actually driving the Mazda CX-5 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-5 Signature – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on February 6, 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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You can see the stitching, Nappa leather, and Abachi wood trim on the left.

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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 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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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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Audio is supplied by an amazing 10 speaker system made by Bose. More on that tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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The glove box is also lit and is decently sized.

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There’s a power moonroof with a manual sunshade.

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The rear seat sits two comfortably. Three might be a bit of a stretch. 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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But 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.

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-5 Signature.

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

 

Review: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on February 5, 2019 by itnerd

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This is the 2.5l turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that powers the Mazda CX-5 Signature. It puts out 227 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque. But if you use premium instead of regular fuel, it puts out 250 horsepower. The torque remains the same. Now this engine combined with a 6 speed automatic transmission will move this CX-5 Signature in ways that will blow your mind. Acceleration is beyond brisk whether it’s off the line or you need more power to pass a transport truck on the highway. And not once this week did I ever touch the sport mode switch as I had no need for 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-5 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-5 Signature. There’s less body roll in the CX-5 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 a visit to Germany. You can legitimately take the CX-5 Signature and carve corners on some back roads and have some real fun like you were driving an MX-5 as it is approaching that level of handling.

In terms of fuel economy, I am currently getting 10L per 100 KMs which is decent as I am driving in city and highway traffic, most of which is in rush hour, and I am making no attempt to drive in any way that saves fuel.

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