I had the pleasure of rolling out in yet anther green(er) car this week. Unlike the last, which was all electric, the Mazda 3i is a greener choice because it has great fuel economy. This of course makes it a great option for anyone who wants to feel better about their time spent behind the wheel. That would be me…how about you?
As I have mentioned before, I am researching cars so that I know what I will want to get when my 13 year Oldsmobile sedan kicks the bucket. I love the idea of electric but that has its own set of limitations, not to mention the fact that most within our price range are only four passenger. The first big bonus for this fuel efficient car is that it has room for my family of five. We were a bit cozier than we are in our current car but my current car also is lucky to get 22 mpg. It would be a good trade IMO.
So what IS the fuel economy on this car?? Well, it varies a little by model but generally up to 40 highway mpg/28 city. I drove it for a week in the city with one outing that included a fair amount of highway miles. All in all I drove about 450 miles in this baby and my average mpg was 35.2. I found this to be awesome since so much of my driving was/is done in the city with tons of lights and stopping. I personally don’t have much reason to get on the highway on a regular basis. Everywhere I need to drive is relatively close. So 35.2 mpg for city driving rocked. I drove about 440 miles on one tank of gas and refilling only cost be about $60. I am sold!! We spent way more on gas than that right now, way more.
The data on your fuel economy is right on the dash monitor.
The price is also right in my opinion. You can get a Mazda 3i from $16,700 to $24,350. I saw greener cars at the NAIAS marketed as family cars for upwards of $60K so this price is phenomenal in my book. I appreciated the fact that it was an automatic but amazingly enough you can also drive it in manual. I had never seen a feature like this before. Just put it in D for regular drive or M for manual drive.
Other features that I liked included the navigation screen:
It is nice to not have to use my phone. Especially since my 12 year old goes bizerk if he sees me messing with my phone while driving…something about Myth Busters proving that you are more incapacitated being on a phone than if you are drunk. Anyway I loved seeing a map while driving. On more than one occasion I got to thinking surely I passed the street I need to turn on but no, one glance shows me that it is still ahead, cool. My kiddos also liked seeing the bullseye on our house.
I liked that I could plug in my iPod shuffle and listen to my own tunes while driving and the sound system is pretty darn good. It has a 265-watt Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound System with AudioPilot®, AM/FM stereo, in-dash CD/MP3-compatible player and 10 speakers. My son would also appreciate that it has a Bluetooth hands free phone capability as well.
I love the appearance as well. It is a sleek, good looking car. The dash is well designed, the screen display is the perfect size, and the lighting (inside and out) is awesome. I loved driving it at night. ;) And while I would have preferred the rockin Indigo Blue color they have available, I also liked the Dolphin Grey we got.
The power sliding-glass moonroof was awesome as were the side mirrors. There are some pretty big blind spots towards the back of the car that would make changing lanes a challenge but the side mirrors actually detect other cars for you. If another car is too close and you should not merge or change lanes you will see a picture of a red car light up in the mirror and it will also ding if you don’t appear to be heeding this warning.
My fave feature had to to be the heated seats though. It was downright frigid going to the gym in the mornings but the seats heated very fast and kept me toasty warm. My mother was a big fan of this also. I think she is ready to trade in her car for something with heated seats now. ;)
The seat heating dials are right above the gear shift.
So what didn’t I like? Well, I don’t have many drawbacks to write about but there were a couple small issues.
I didn’t like the blind spots, despite the safety mirrors. But then again I didn’t like using the rear view camera on the last car I drove and I was terrified of the automated parallel parking in another car. I suppose these things grow on you as you get used to them.
I would have preferred a better integration with my iPod than just the use of an auxiliary jack. I like seeing my songs displayed on navigation screen and using the car to change songs, rather than the device…it just awkward to have to grab the device and use it while driving.
I also would have liked the ability to start the car remotely from inside my house so that it could be toasty and warm before getting in. None of these issues/complaints would prevent me from purchasing though. I would in fact still highly recommend the Mazda 3i and it is on a short list of cars I will choosing from myself when the time comes to buy new.
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Disclosure: I borrowed a Mazda 3i for the purposes of this review. Sadly I had to give it back…