Saturday, June 17, 2017

Living The Mazda Spirit

Buying a car is more than just picking out interiors and how much horsepower it has but more importantly how it makes you feel.  Mazda lives by the motto, “Hashiru Yorokobi” the “exhilaration and liberation felt from being moved.”  They believe that “We exist to make people experience the unique Mazda feeling of exhilaration, joy and wellbeing that will enrich their everyday lives and make them smile.”  Have you ever heard a car manufacturer talk about how you feel in the car except for asking if the seat is positioned correctly?  I certainly have never heard anyone explain how they make cars the way Mazda does.  
We got to see and even try to design like the Mazda designers do.

Mazda makes up only 2% of the global automobile industry currently but they do a great job of defining their space.  They might be small but they are mighty as you have probably seen if you have ever driven one of their great vehicles.  If you have never driven a Mazda let me tell you a little about their history.

Mazda started out as a cork manufacturer in 1920 and for the next 26 years also made machine tools and 3-wheel trucks.  In 1946 they started to grow and committed themselves to making cars only with rotary engines.  The first rotary engine car they made was the Cosmo Sport in 1967. The Cosmo Sport was a very sexy little car much like the new MX-5 Miata RF.  In 1973 there was a huge oil crisis which put a damper to the smooth riding rotary engine because it was not as fuel efficient as piston engines.  Mazda had not totally given up on piston engines so they just adapted to the new landscape and went into a partnership with Ford and they came out with the GLC also know as “Great Little Car” which really was great.  During this time Mazda grew and built factories in the US and in Thailand.

In 1990 Mazda came out with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and made everyone's jaw drop.  Mazda continued to grow and re-establish its brand through the financial crisis of 2008 which hurt a lot of car manufactures but Mazda kept going.  Today Mazda has 8 cars in its lineup and attracts passionate loyalists to its brand throughout the world.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

2017 Mazda CX-5

I was recently invited to drive the 2017 CX-5 and the 2017 MX-5 Miata RF for a day in San Diego. We stayed at the beautiful Rancho Valencia Resort to learn about these great new vehicles.  The resort was absolutely amazing with fresh orange juice at your door in the morning from the onsite orange grove.  The resort is very lush and the cars looked amazing against the bright green foliage. The first thing you notice before you even get into a Mazda is how the light hits the car and shows off the beauty of its design.  I love all the colors that Mazda makes for its vehicles but I specifically love their signature red.  It really makes the car stand out.

Look how sexy this 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is!  I love how the design catches the light and makes the car look hot!

The Navagation Display in the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
I first drove the MX-5 Miata RF in red of course.  I was a little timid at first because I tend to like cars that sit up high and this being a sexy little sports car was definitely not going to sit high.  Once I got in  and became situated with the car it did not feel so small.  The route I took had me going around some curves and up some hills and even a highway.  By the time I got to the highway I was a pro and the car really felt like it was a part of me.  I loved having the top down and the sun beating down on me but who doesn’t?  Getting on the highway I was a little nervous with all the big semis but with 155 horsepower @ 6000 rpm this little car flew and those big bad trucks were never a problem.  It averages 35 miles per gallon on the highway and has a 2.0 Liter Sky-Active-G 4 cylinder engine.

Me in the passenger side of the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF with the top down.

The price point starts at around $31,000 for the manual club model and goes up to almost $33,800 for the automatic grand touring model.  Another great quality I loved about this vehicle is that there were cubbies behind the seats to put your purse in and what I really loved was the trunk.  I have driven a few convertibles in my day and the trunk space is always an issue and I thought this one was really pretty good compared to most even though you probably do not have much luggage with you when you are driving this baby.  It is the perfect car for that Sunday drive to the beach or a romantic night out on the town with your partner.  

This is where we had lunch at the Temecula Olive Oil Company Ranch.

In Temecula, CA we stopped for lunch and an olive oil tasting in at Temecula Olive Oil Company’s olive ranch.  Besides the wonderful lunch and delicious olive oils the ranch was stunning and we got to relax at a table underneath the olive trees and enjoy.  This was also our switching point so I had to say goodbye to the MX-5 Miata RF and hello to the CX-5.  

Once again look how the light catches on the curves of the 2017 Mazda CX-5.

I was very excited about driving the CX-5 because honestly it is more my style with sitting up high.  I got in the car and I was right at home.  I had actually driven the previous model of this vehicle so right away I could see the upgrades from the previous version.  The first difference I noticed immediately was the driver-centric interior. Everything is at a quick reach reach or a glance for the driver.  The space between the driver and the passenger is very nice and it looks and feels better than vehicles double its price.  Mazda engineers and designers are focused on the driving experience so they even tested the car with someone blindfolded to see how fast it took them to reach different knobs and gadgets and then if it took too long or was confusing they redesigned aspects of it.  

My favorite aspects of the CX-5 are how quiet it is and Active Driving Display.  The Active Driving Display positions important data such as speed and route guidance on the windshield right  in your line of sight and allows you to better adjust your focus minimizing distractions while driving. The car also has Smart Brake Support which alerts you to when traffic is slow or stopped ahead and will even engage the automatic brake control if collision is unavoidable.

Other great features of the CX-5 are heated seats not only for the front seats but for the back seats as well, Mazda’s Lane Departure Warning System, and Adaptive Front Lighting System that helps you see around corners better when turning.  The vehicle also gets 31 MPG on the highway, seats 5 and is AWD.  You have your choice between the Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring models.

Our dessert break at The Julian Pie Company with another 2017 Mazda CX-5 in front.

I really enjoyed driving the CX-5 in the curvy mountains of San Diego County and really enjoyed our dessert break at Julian Pie Company.  Julian Apple Pies are a famous must do thing in the mountains and are so yummy.  After our short stop we continued our drive back to Rancho Valencia Resort and end our drive.  I really learned a lot about Mazda and their spirit and how they make cars.  They are not ordinary in the way they think of their customers and that is seen by how many loyal customers they have.  Why be drive ordinary when you can drive extraordinary with Mazda.