Mazda3 i Grand Touring – Zoom Zoom + Skyactiv = Fun: Final Impressions + Gallery

Hi, I’m Charis Michelsen. I write about cars (among other important things). I’ve been fairly quiet the past couple months due to the rest of my life clamoring for attention, but this week I’ve got a Mazda3 i Grand Touring to play with. It’s a happy car – just look at its smiling face:

Mazda3 i Grand Touring FeaturedFor the technicalities, head on over to the first post in the series.

The last few things I learned about the Mazda3 i in the last three days I had it mostly served to make me like the car more.

Day 5, 2:17pm

I have decided to see how long it takes for the seat belt warning noise to go off. It does not shut off before I lose patience and just put my seat belt back on (the car wins that particular battle of wills).  On the other hand, I do manage to effectively drown it out with the radio. I think I can call this a wash, safety-wise.

Day 5, 10:51pm

While I can’t turn the engine on without pressing the brake, I can turn it on without being seated in the driver’s seat.  (This requires some awkward positioning that is garnering stares in the parking lot.)

Day 6, 12:33pm

The Mazda3 i has 6 years’ worth of backwards compatibility: the first-generation iPod touch connects flawlessly.

Mazda3 i Grand Touring iPod Touch
The device’s name is “Tiger Lily.”

…I know it will connect with the new stuff, okay, it’s the older stuff that’s questionable. This is why I test it. I never did manage to get music through the Bluetooth connection, though.

Day 6, 1:38pm

The “shuffle” function for the iPod has given me the exact same track order four times out of five. I don’t know if it’s glitching or if I have managed to twist probability somehow.

Day 6, 2:04pm

It has taken me six days, but I’ve finally realized why the sound is so amazing – there are Bose speakers in here.

Mazda3 i Grand Touring SpeakersDay 6, 11:23pm

So there actually is a manual in the car. The glove box is not the standard glove box it appeared to be from the driver’s seat – behind the first compartment is another compartment of extra storage.

Mazda3 i Grand Touring Glove Box

I absolutely love this (again admittedly minor) feature, because I hold attention to detail in very high regard. (I am, however, not the one that found the extra glove box space.)

Day 7, 2:34pm

Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone, but the Mazda3 i handled the pouring rain just as well as it handled the driving snow.

Mazda3 i Grand Touring Inclement WeatherThis not-so-little car has taken whatever the elements have thrown at it and just kept on trucking. I like this quality in a vehicle, even if it means I have to continually go around literally every other (so much slower) car on the road.

Day 7, 11:46pm

Very important for those of us considering the limited supply of fossil fuel – I calculate an average of 32.5mpg over 500+ miles of driving the Mazda3 i.

Given that the Mazda3 i is as quick as it is, and that I’ve been driving it fairly aggressively (look, it handles so much better than my daily driver that I can’t help having fun with it), I’m pretty happy with the mileage. The Skyactive system lives up to its claims of efficiency while not sacrificing one iota of the car being fun to drive.

Definitely, definitely loved this one. I really did not want to give it back.

I leave you with a gallery of the incredibly happy-looking Mazda3 i, in the striking Velocity Red, against a backdrop of fantastic Wisconsin snow.

About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.