Car Reviews

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Review: Hello, Old Friend

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Before we get into the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring, I wanted to start with a couple photos (courtesy of my younger brother, Tyler) of a different car:

2006 Mazda3 S | getinmymouf.com

2006 Mazda3 S | getinmymouf.com

That blue beauty right there was my first new car purchase. A 2006 Mazda3 S in Winning Blue Metallic. No co-signers. No help with the down payment. And since it was new, no previous owners!

It’s ridiculous to think now, but buying that car felt like a serious rite of passage into adulthood. A decade later I’m still not not sure if I’m actually an adult, but at that moment I sure did.

Not only was it my first new car purchase, but it was also my first introduction to Mazda and the “zoom zoom” philosophy.

What’s changed since 2006? A lot, but the core heart of Mazda has remained the same. Driving the 2018 Mazda3 was like reconnecting with an old friend. It felt familiar and comfortable, while also exciting to see what had changed over the last twelve years since we were first introduced.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

An Emotional Decision  

After having had a week to enjoy the 2018 Mazda3, I was reminded of just how much a car purchase is an emotional decision.

You can spend hours–days even–researching vehicles. Comparing options, reliability, and scouring reviews, but the only portion of the decision that really matters is how you feel when you sit in the driver’s seat.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

My old Mazda was a stick shift with killer handling, so even though the car only had 160 hp, it was a blast to drive. It felt great.

The 2018 Mazda–my sample equipped with an automatic transmission–was no different. It was peppy. It hugged corners. It made driving fun and helped tug at my emotions.

Yeah, I cried a little, so what?

That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of logical reasons to enjoy the Mazda3, but the final choice is ultimately made with the heart.

Continuously Evolving

At the time, my Mazda was part of the first generation of Mazda3s, which were originally introduced in 2003. It was lauded for its performance, refinement, and aesthetics in an otherwise boring car class. For me, it was the perfect vehicle for what I needed. As a college student, I was looking for a reliable four-door car, that was also affordable and fun to drive. None of the other brands came close.

Over the last decade-plus, Mazda has continued to not only create solid vehicles that connect with the driver on an emotional level, but also introduce features and options that are a reflection of innovation in the car industry.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

The first is efficiency in gas mileage. In real world driving, my Mazda averaged about  25 MPG with just 160 horsepower.  The 2018 Mazda–with about 28 more horsepower–averaged roughly 30 MPG during our week of test driving. More power, less gas? I’ll take it!

Next, comes a technology system that is user-friendly, a screen that is easy to see, a a crystal-clear back-up camera.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

And you can’t forget about safety! Radar cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning (and assistance), and blind spot monitoring are just a few features that can help satisfy the fact that the Mazda3 is a logical decision (you’re welcome, brain).

Last, but first to my hands, we must also commend the presence of a heated steering wheel. Cold weather never felt so warm.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

Gratuitous Labradoodle Section

It wouldn’t be a car post without mentioning how much our pup, Cooper, loves hanging out in the back seat of a Mazda.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

Yeah, he approves.

Something to Talk About

Even excluding this post, I’ve always been a vocal proponent of Mazda–and specifically the Mazda3. My brother and I share fond memories of my car since I sold it to him after I grew out of it. It’s easy to share an appreciation for a vehicle that just feels right. Although he had to upgrade to a larger vehicle for his growing family, we still reminisce about changing gears and taking tight corners in the ol’ Mazda.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

Aside from nostalgia, even the new Mazda3 is a great conversation icebreaker. Upon hearing that my buddy, Micah and his wife, Lizzy, recently purchased one, I instantly lit up. They gushed about how much they loved the car and I emphasized my fond memories for Mazda. The rest of the table probably thought we were weirdos, but who cares?

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

It’s worth stopping to point out that this is a compact car. It’s not a sports car or the latest electric car that will eventually transport you to mars.

It shouldn’t be exciting.

But it is.

Because driving matters…

…hmm…where have I heard that before?

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

2018 Mazda3 Specs (As Tested)

MSRP (as tested):  $28,470
MPG Estimate: 27 city – 36 highway
Engine:  2.5L Skyactiv-G, 4 cylinder
Power:  184 hp | 185 lb-ft torque
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Snowflake White Pearl
Options:  Appearance Package and Premium Equipment Package

For more info, click here to view the 2018 Mazda3 Brochure.

2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mitsubishi, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $17,830
MPG Estimate: 35 city – 42 highway
Engine:  1.2L MIVEC DOHC 12-valve 3-cylinder
Power:  78 hp @ 6,000 rpm  | 74 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission:   Continuous Variable Transmission
Color:  Infrared (exterior) / Black (interior)

For more info, click here to view the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 brochure.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

As much as I enjoy test driving SUVs, it’s always fun to have a smaller car to zip around town in. They’re more fuel efficient, easy to park, and if you get stuck underneath it, you can probably find a few strong folks to lift it off of you.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

Enter, the Mitsubishi Mirage. It’s kind of an adorable car. You’re tempted to both pinch its cheek and also try and lift it off the ground.  Despite the cheek-pinching, the Mirage was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM):  You are not a figment of my imagination, correct?

Mirage:  A Mirage joke. Very Clever. Yes, I am a real.

GIMM:  What’s with the name, then?

Mirage:  I like to think of myself as a thirst quenching pool of water in a dessert of cars.

GIMM:  Dessert or desert?

Mirage:  Dessert.

GIMM:  Dessert?

Mirage:  Yes, the world as a sweet place, filled with candy, ice cream, and pastries.

GIMM:  Like the game, Candyland.

Mirage:  Never heard of it. Look, in this world we live in, I find it’s best to be an optimist. Some might say that my trunk is half full, but I would argue that it’s half-empty.

GIMM:  I think you have that backwards…

Mirage:  No, if it’s half empty, that’s a good thing.  It means, there’s room for more suitcases, more beach towels, more picnic foods.

GIMM:  You seem to subscribe to the ol’ adage of “big things come in small packages” philosophy.

Mirage:  Quite the contrary, that adage is cliché, dated, and it really is offensive to small packages. I’m a small car and I embrace that. For example, I bet you could parallel park two of me in one space.

I’ve seen the way you park; you need all the help you can get.

GIMM:  Fair enough.

Mirage:  But should it be fair enough? Life is naturally not fair. If it were fair for everybody, then would that not actually be unfair to those who would otherwise have an advantage?

GIMM:  You’re quite the philosopher.

Mirage:  Am I, or is it just a figment of your imagination?

GIMM:  …anyway, your gas milage is very efficient.

Mirage:  Miles and gallons are simply man-made constructs in which we subjectively measure what is efficient. I believe efficiency is a measure of pleasure, divided by time.

GIMM: And now we’re doing math…

Mirage:  But either way, by your human definition and my more accurate definition… I am indeed efficient.

GIMM: Last question–or rather, I’ll just make a statement and you can turn it into something deeper and more philosophical. Your warranty coverage is one of the best in the industry: 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable New Vehicle Limited Warranty, a 7-year/100,000-mile Anti-Corrosion/Perforation Limited Warranty and 5-year/ Unlimited Miles Roadside Assistance.

Mirage: Yes, I’m pretty well covered.

GIMM:  That’s it?!

Mirage. Yes. Sometimes saying nothing is more powerful than saying something.

GIMM: There it is.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

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Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mitsubishi. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a few days. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $34,350
MPG Estimate: 21 city – 27 highway
Engine:  Skyactiv-G 2.5L 4-Cyl Engine
Power:  184 hp | 185 lb-ft of torque
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Machine Grey Metallic (exterior) / Parchment Nappa Leather (interior)
Options:  GT Premium Package (regenerative braking system, active grille shutters, shifter LED accent lighting, bright finish interior trim, Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, steering wheel w/ unique stitch, black headliner)

For more info, click here to view the 2017 Mazda6 Brochure.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

We spent a mostly rainy week with the 2017 Mazda6.  Sure, we wished the weather was better, but the Mazda6 still made the most of running errands, commuting to work, and chauffeuring a labradoodle around town. Although we didn’t have an opportunity to take any fun road trips or long weekend drives, the Mazda6 did make for a solid daily driver.

With features galore, for example excellent handling and surprisingly good gas mileage, we were excited to sit down with this beautiful automotive creation for a quick Q&A:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM):  Should we discuss the elephant in the room first?

Mazda6:  Not sure I follow you…

GIMM:  I test drove a previous version of you–2015, I think–and came very close to making a purchase.

Mazda6:  Way to make this awkward interview right out of the gate. Why didn’t you?

GIMMIt just wasn’t a fit at that time–Look, I wanted to address it, but let’s not dwell in the past.

Mazda6:  For the record, you brought it up. Why don’t you go ahead and ask what my favorite food is. This is a food blog. That’s your schtick, right?

GIMM: We’ll get to that, but I wanted to first ask you about the Lane-Keep Assist. It’s a pretty slick safety feature that autocorrects the steering wheel if you start to drift out of a lane.

Mazda6:  Apples.  That would be my favorite food.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  Okay. That’s jumping ahead a bit–

Mazda6:  Crisp and juicy. They can be sweet, tart, or both. It’s a breakfast food, it’s a dessert, it’s a snack. What can’t an apple do? As a vehicle that’s what I aspire to be. I want people to think of me as being as versatile as an apple.

GIMM:  Judging by your reviews on Edmunds, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend, I think it’s safe to say people are viewing you a versatile option. Speaking of safe, the Lane-Keep assist is a nice feature that–

Mazda6:  Sure I get solid reviews from all the pros, but you know what really gets me psyched? The people. That’s who I do this for. Read these reviews.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  Yes, I have read those. We prepare pretty thoroughly for our interviews.

Mazda6:  Of course you do. Anyway, when I read things like “Best car out of 12 that I have owned” it makes me feel like I’m truly making a difference out there. When people go car shopping, too often they have to sacrifice something–budget, performance, options. But, I feel like I do a pretty good job of minimizing those sacrifices. I help people realize that they can have it all in one vehicle:  Race-car like handling, high-tech safety features, luxury-car comfort, impressive fuel economy–all combined in a family sedan that looks “sexy as hell”. That last description is an actual quote from a reviewer.

GIMM:  Of course it is. Anyway, speaking of high-tech safety features–

Mazda6:  *Sighs* Yes, the Lane-Keep assist is cool. If the driver is distracted, it allows me to temporarily take control of the steering wheel to ensure the car doesn’t drift out of the lane.

GIMM:  You like to be in control, don’t you?

Mazda6:  This interview is over.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

***

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2016 Mazda CX-9 AWD Signature

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a few days. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $44,915
MPG Estimate: 21 city – 27 highway
Engine:  Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo Engine
Power:  250 hp @ 5,000 rpm  | 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Sonic Silver Metallic (exterior) / Auburn (interior)
Options:  Navigation System and Sirius XM Satellite Radio

For more info, click here to view the 2016 CX-9 Brochure.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

Look, you don’t need me to convince you to check out the 2016 Mazda CX-9 AWD Signature. Plenty of experts have already written enough praise about this vehicle to make you want to trade in that ’98 Explorer for something far more fun. Oh, you want me to list the experts? Fine. Car and Driver gave it a perfect five star review. Consumer Reports called it the “Driver’s Choice”. Maybe an “A” grade from Edmunds is what you’re looking for

Rather than listen to one more person rave about this piece of four-wheeled vehicular art, we thought it would be better to go straight to the CX-9 itself on what the spotlight is like. While spending some time eating tacos and pie in LA, we sat down in the CX-9 for a quick interview:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM): You’ve received quite a bit of accolades over the last year. From your design, to interior craftsmanship, to performance. What are you most proud of?

CX-9:  Definitely the performance. Looking good is nice, having all the bells and whistles is great and all, but first and foremost, I’m a vehicle. My fleet’s motto is “Driving Matters” for a reason. It ain’t “Comfortable Seats Matters.” But, without sounding too boisterous, my seats are very comfortable.

photo-nov-12-10-12-10-am

GIMM:  Yes, they are–And beautiful in that Auburn color. Seeing as how you pride yourself in performance, what are some of your favorite roads to travel on?

CX-9:  Easy one. I’ve spent most of my time in California, so definitely the PCH.

GIMM:  You and I actually spent a bit of time on the PCH in Malibu together.

CX-9:  And that was nothing! Next time you’re out here, I’ll take you up further north into Santa Barbara and up to the holy grail of driving at Big Sur.

GIMM:  You mention Big Sur–We’ve previously driven on that road with a Mazda CX-3 and I think most people think of sports cars or smaller vehicles to get the full experience of the road. Being an SUV, how would you like to change people’s minds about the “big and bulky” SUV stereotype?

CX-9:  It’s more difficult than simply telling them. To break the stereotype, they really need to meet me. Sit behind the wheel and let the performance do all the talking. Look, I enjoying doing interviews like this, but what really brings me joy is getting out there to meet people and change minds. I encourage any of your readers who may be undecided about SUVs to just take an hour or so to visit their local dealer and give the CX-9 a shot.

GIMM:  You mentioned the fact that you’re based in California, home to some of the most amazing food in the country. I know you don’t eat human food, but is there any genre or dish that you wish you could eat?

CX-9:  Tacos.

GIMM:  Nice choice – Any particular type?

CX-9:  No. I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, so I see a lot of taco stands and my drivers are always tossing bags of tacos in the back seat. They smell so amazing. One time someone spilled carnitas juice on my floorboard. That was as close as I’ve gotten to tasting a taco, but it made me wish I was a human for a second.

GIMM: Getting back to bells and whistles, you do have quite a few. The Bose stereo system is pretty sweet – What’s your favorite type of music to rock out to?

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

CX-9:  I’m partial to television and movie soundtracks – Stranger Things is a recent favorite and of course Drive. It makes me feel like I’m one of those famous cars in the film industry. And with my performance, the driver can easily pretend they’re in an action movie.

GIMM:  While obeying all traffic laws.

CX-9:  Absolutely.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  I want to wrap things up by talking about dogs. What are you thoughts on having a dog in the car?

CX-9:  I can tell you’re trying to push me into saying something bad about dogs and how I get frustrated with their loose hair clogging up my vents and getting stuck to my carpet.

GIMM:  I wouldn’t dare.

CX-9:  The truth is that when I see their heads hanging out the window, tongue flapping in the wind, and wagging tails, it’s all worth it. Dogs get it…the performance, the thrill of driving (or riding in this case). The fun and exhilaration of exploring the world, one road at a time. That’s why driving matters.

GIMM:  Now that’s how you end an interview!

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

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Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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