The side view appeals more, with wheels pushed to the corners and a super-fast windshield sweeping back over tautly drawn side glass. This leaves substantial mass below the bumper line that's only slightly lightened by a massive mouth braced by large intake-like recesses that double as housings for the optional fog lamps. The dash is a prime example. There's some torque steer where the front tires pull one way or the other, most commonly to the right under hard acceleration, and we've noticed it in both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. The Mazda finishes last in front-seat headroom and rear-seat legroom, the latter a true dead last by a substantial two inches. To change gears manually, slide the shifter into the Sport slot, which is conveniently placed on the driver's side of the primary shift gate. In interior accommodations, the Mazda splits the difference between the Honda and Toyota in front-seat legroom, rear-seat headroom, and in hip room, front and rear.
They combine the high seating position and cargo capacity of a truck-based sport utility vehicle with the agility, smoothness and fuel economy of a car. And they avoid the image of a minivan or station wagon. Crossovers, as they're called, have become the hottest segment in the auto industry. Even with the driver's seat at its highest adjustment, however, the hood drops away so severely it's below the sight line of a six-footer. Fixed, hard-plastic, front door map pockets are shaped to hold a pop can or small water bottle, too. Substantial front-seat side bolsters are fitting for a vehicle with sporty aspirations. The seat-bottom cushions offer slightly more thigh support than economy class airline seats, which is to say more would be better.
. Then simply push the lever forward to downshift, pull it back to shift up. A less expensive Sun and Sound package includes just the moonroof and Bose audio system. We found it stable at high speeds. Over rough pavement, the suspension tends more to stiff than firm, with a hint of harshness.
Some people I saw at the garage have had timing chain and turbo issues but if you change the oil regularly and you won't have an issue. The fold-down center armrest in the rear seat also provides two cup holders. The insurance on this vehicle is also affordable. I really enjoy the Mazda's feel on the road, the comfort, and the performance. This is similar to the way it works on many race cars. Yes, its design default mode when carrying too much speed into a corner is understeer where it wants to go straight instead of turn , but the electronic stability control system shields all but the most lead-footed driver from ever experiencing this. For starters there's what Mazda calls the double-roof instrument panel.
The premium Grand Touring adds a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and turn signals are now integrated into the exterior mirror housings. The sporty looks are backed up by sporty handling characteristics. The seatbacks are designed to fold flat without needing to remove the adjustable headrests. The glove box holds more than gloves, but not much more; at least it finally comes with a lock as well. Some parts look right, while others come across almost as an exercise in Design 101, and not much of it looks of a piece with the rest.
The kicked-up beltline and tapered cabin constrict vision toward the rear. All the pieces for this are there, so the job is doable, but the way everything is put together doesn't make it all that easy or appear that seamlessly integrated. The transmission shifts well and adapts well to different driving situations, quickly learning a driver's preferences and holding lower gears longer and adjusting shift points to match. There is some head toss in quick left-right-left transitions, not a lot, but it's notable. It's a five-seat crossover whose turbocharged engine recommends premium fuel and returns subpar gas mileage, and its cargo area is as small as its price tag is large. Visibility is best out the front. It is not, as Spock might say, a particularly logical choice — but is it ever a fun one.
Very comfortable for the family. In speaking with Mazda technicians, they stated to me that there is a problem with the oil cooled turbo that Mazda refuses to admit to because it will result in a huge recall. More importantly, the engine's lightweight construction places less weight over the front wheels, helping improve steering response and maneuverability as well as creating a more evenly balanced chassis. Rear seat passengers get no map pockets, but magazine pouches are provided on the backs of both front seats. The rear seats favor two passengers over three, an impression reinforced by the decently contoured seatback and the absence of a head restraint for the center seating position. Has been very cheap to maintain and Mazda are really good at sorting out any issues I've had over the years.
Translated, this constitutes, first, a ridge stretching across the top of the dash that's supposed to make the front seat passenger feel included in the interior's dynamic. That easily makes it worth a look. Tom Lankard filed this report to NewCarTestDrive. Two cup holders fill the space in the front center console between the shift gate and the storage bin. A set of bright streaks added behind the fog lamps for 2009 break this mass up a bit.
Seat comfort is average at best. It features a powerful yet frugal turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Illuminated vanity mirrors are located in the sun visors. Assisting the smooth transfer of power is a six-speed Sport automatic transmission featuring a manual shift mode for a more spirited driving experience. It's not the roomiest in the class, trading some interior space for sporty styling. Base-level Sport models add leather wrappings for the steering wheel and shift knob. I think for the money it is a great buy.