The joy of loving cars is that I get asked to drive a lot of cars and I’m more than happy to oblige. But this latest request had me a little tickled.
“Can you or your husband drive manual vehicles? We’ve got a few in your area that are wide open available in the next few months.”
That’s a no brainer. OF COURSE I can drive manual vehicles. But back in my day, we called it stick shift. And you had to be able to drive a stick shift to buy cheap, used cars. And as I got older, it was important because that was pretty much all you could rent in Europe.
Now, driving stick is a choice and apparently, I’m not the only one that appreciates it.
Upon arrival of the 2015 Mazda3, I casually posted this picture:
And whoa. I can’t say if everyone I know on the internet can drive a stick, but those that can are certainly vocal and passionate about it!
“Yup! I drive a manual Mazda3 myself, but a 2005 with 212k miles on it!”
“My dad made me learn to drive in a car with a manual transmission. I was 15 and I hated it at the time, but was sooooo glad once I mastered it. Total life skill.”
“Yes, I grew up in a place where 4-wheel drive was a must. Automatic transmissions were for city folk!”
“Yes! Our second car is a 5-speed shift…this one is 6?! Then I would drive fast.”
“I love love love stick shifts. I really miss driving them, and that’s actually one of my motivations for wanting to retire in Italy.”
“Wouldn’t have a car without it! In Europe only rental agencies have automatics…for the visiting Americans!”
“I grew up with that! Brazilian cars are normally not automatic and the huge hills make you learn fast.”
So there you go. Not only were people excited about the sportiness of my manual transmission but some of them were actually true Mazda fans already. Now I know why.
This is a small, compact car that I would refer to as meaty and muscle-y. Just look at the lines of this vehicle!!
But to make the most of this car, I had to put it to the test. Namely, I had to integrate it into my everyday life. And as this short video will show, a day in MY life really puts this car to the test.
Color me impressed.
We’re not a big sports family so a large gym bag of tae kwon do equipment is all we need. No problem. But the groceries?
Yeah. This was a big load AND I still had the tae kwon do equipment in there. But that wasn’t all I loved. Here are the top 5 things you might love too.
1. Center console controls
This setup was just so natural. I controlled it at my side but the display was on the screen. It’s kind of like the mouse/screen model. Every car manufacturer should take note of this design.
2. A little shift help
Maybe it was the torque. Maybe it was the 6 speed. Maybe it was the recommended fuel economy. Whatever it was, I appreciated Mazda suggesting the right time to shift because I was a little out of practice.
3. Perforated Leather
Hello, beautiful, breathable leather seats.
4. Cargo space extraordinaire
I don’t want to push the limits here but I’m pretty sure I could take a trip to IKEA and come home with a healthy load.
5. Screen display
I’m sure there’s an official name for this pop-up display but it was totally awesome. Not only did it display my speed but also gave an indicator of my next turn based on what I plugged into the GPS. More eyes on the road definitely is an underestimated safety feature.
But the week finally came to an end. I had to trade in the 2015 Mazda3 for a 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander. I have to admit – the transition wasn’t easy. I missed that Mazda but don’t worry. I’ve got a full report on the Mitsubishi coming your way.