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:
For the technicalities, head on over to the first post in the series.
Day 1, 1:34pm
The Mazda3 i Grand Touring comes with keyless entry and start. (The keyless start button is my favorite button ever.) It will not, however, start the engine if the brake is not simultaneously depressed, not even if the car is in park and clearly not going anywhere.
The gauges are also pretty standard – RPM on the left, MPH on the right. There’s also a trip odometer button out-of-frame to the right that I failed to see until I’d already driven 300+ miles (more on that later).
A compass in the rearview mirror also helps you determine what direction you’re driving, which may or may not be useful in conjunction with the GPS. Or maybe your touchscreen is broken, I don’t know. Either way, if you can’t see the sun, this is a helpful gadget.
Day 1, 1:43pm
Ah, the legal notice has appeared. I hit the NAV button, and this popped up:
Day 1, 1:45pm
When the car was dropped off, I was asked if I needed to be shown how to pair it with my phone via Bluetooth. “No,” I said. “I think I’ve got it by now. And if I can’t figure it out, I’ll check the manual.”
I can’t find the manual.
However, pairing the phone with the Mazda3 i was ridiculously easy. Push the “phone” button, turn Bluetooth on on your phone, and follow the instructions. You cannot screw this up. (By the way, if you know of a cool feature you want tested, please tell me, because I can’t read the manual to find out. I’m sure it’s somewhere, I just don’t know where.)
Notice also that there is the potentially extremely useful Automatic 911 Call option. I do not know if this works without a phone in the car, and I am not about to test it to find out. (Go forth and Google, my child.)
At this point I notice that the heater, which I accidentally turned back on, has heated the car already. It’s way too warm for me, since I’m dressed for the cold and don’t drive with the heater on as a matter of course anyway, but it’s a nice touch for pretty much anyone else.
Day 1, 1:51pm
Sadly, I cannot make the Bluetooth audio work with my phone, or at least I can’t figure out how to do it while I’m driving and need to keep my eyes on the road.
Bizarrely, despite being 95% made in Japan and assembled in Hofu, Japan, the bloody thing doesn’t read Japanese characters in my mp3 files. WTF, Mazda. (Why is Kia the only manufacturer I have reviewed that has a car that reads Japanese.)
The auxiliary cord works just fine, though, which means I can still listen to the music on my phone.
Bonus point! For those of you who listen to Chicago’s underground alternative, the dial does in fact go down to 87.7 FM.
Day 1, 1:57pm
Either I was going too fast, or the brakes aren’t as good as they should be. (No, nothing was hit. Not even close. Have a little faith in me.)
Day 1, 2:01pm
Ah, I was driving too fast. (Really, the 25mph speed limit on the on-ramp is just supposed to be a suggestion, right?) The brakes are fine.
Now seems like a good time to mention that the suspension (independent front/rear, by the way) makes for a ridiculously smooth ride. Yes, I am going to accelerate over those train tracks.
Day 1, 2:05pm
The Mazda3 i just chirped at me. Why did it chirp at me. …there is a little glowing icon in the side mirror warning me that someone is in my blind spot! How awesome is that! (Spoiler: this will come back to haunt me.)
It activates when someone is coming up behind you from either side, which is very helpful for when semi drivers attempt to murder you by merging without warning. Seriously, this thing is sparkly and bright red and has all sorts of lights on and the only way I could be more visible would be if I were driving Optimus Prime. The flaming Bayformer version. I can only assume I’m being nearly run over on purpose.
Fortunately for me, the Mazda3 i does accelerate very very smoothly and pretty quickly for a sedan. I will not be crushed by a semi today. (This is perhaps ever so slightly overdramatic, but really, adrenaline, I have so much of it right now.)
Day 1, 11:12pm
And thus begins my inevitable love-hate relationship with the navigation system. It has a very clean look to it:
It has also not sent me down the freeway. No. It has sent me down back roads in the middle of the night for no discernible reason. I don’t want to be on Quentin. The speed limit is 35, and now the navi is complaining at me for speeding.
That says “44mph” and “35max”, by the way, because it’s really hard to take a clear picture while also trying to drive, particularly if you’re also looking for snow. Which is not manifesting. At all.
The winter storm arrived late and failed to hit before I made it home around 1:00am. Come on back tomorrow, because I will totally make up for not driving through a blizzard in the dark by driving down the tollway through a blizzard during morning rush hour.