2014 Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback - Very, very pleased with my purchase!
My brother, who works for Edmunds, suggested I take a look at the Mazda3 and I'm glad I followed his advice. My first test drive into the mountains outside Denver was impressive. Everyone buying a car on the west side of town hauls A__ WB up the fairly steep Interstate grade, turns around and heads back to the dealership. The Mazda3 felt very competent and didn't feel in the least bit strained like the Outback we'd driven on the same route. Instead of turning around and heading back down the Interstate, I decided to take US 40 which has more turns in which to test the car's handling. The paddle shifters were easy to get used to but if I muffed it, the Mazda3's smooth transmission seemed to say, "That's ok, you're new to this car, I'll handle it from here..." On my last test drive before purchasing the car, the salesperson had a great test course and encouraged me to really wind it up. I did and was very impressed by the smooth ride, shifting and taking a speed bump at about 40 MPH. On the way back, she gave me some very specific instructions to wind it up again, but then hit the Sport button. A bigger engine seemed to slide seammlessy into place, replacing the already powerful 2.5 liter engine.
We ended up buying the car using many of the Edmunds.com buying tools including the Dealership Quotes and using the tips described in "Eight Steps to Buying a New Car" by Philip Reed. If the "Price Promise" had been available, I suppose I would've used that Edmunds feature but as it was, I was able to follow the eight steps and I felt much more confident walking into my first dealership experience since 1999. The price they emailed me was even better than the TMV price so I felt very good about the price I was paying for the fully loaded Mazda3.
Yesterday, I took the Mazda3 for a real test drive with the Bluetooth Bose system set to my favorite Spotify music. On I-70, I set the Mazda Radar Cruise Control to 75 and settled in behind a car doing 65. A car passed me in the center lane doing 75 or so and as it sped by, I signaled so as not to trigger the Lane Departure Warning System and moved into the center lane. It felt like a magnet engaged in the rear end of the bumper of the car in front of me and I followed along at a comfortable distance, not touching the accelerator. I exited the highway and got off at Clear Creek Canyon. It was a bright sunny day, the roads were dry and I quickly forgot about everything in the real world as I tested the handling on every one of the 149 curves between Blackhawk and Golden. It was so much fun that I pulled over whenever someone was in front of me so that I'd have an unencumbered driving experience, through four tunnels and down the canyon into Golden.
Next up, I was due for a Cappuccino. The Mazda3's cup holder held my Grande with ease as I motored out of the drive-thru and up the Lariat Trail. As my finger found the Sport button, I looked up to see a police officer at the entrance to the windy, twisting, turning road that soars from Golden up to Buffalo Bill's Grave, high above Golden and the Metro Denver area stretching out for miles below it. What a great place to test the car's aggressive cornering abilities, it's smooth braking and easy-to-get-used-to paddle shifting, giving the car a good workout that could've been much harder if it weren't for the memory of the police at the bottom of the road.
I can't say enough about the Mazda3 and all of it's safety features (Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning System, Mazda Radar Cruise Control and a bunch more that are too numerous to mention), great Bose stereo (can you still call something with NINE (9) speakers a stereo?!!!) a great infotainment system that's easy to navigate with the commander button by your right hand and a car that looks great cruising down the curvy, twisty mountainous back roads of Colorado, which is where I'll be driving as much as I can with this car!