We collected our new ride yesterday afternoon. Not that we’re ultimately fussed over these things, but it was quite a different experience at the Mazda showroom compared to the Nissan one 8 years ago. We were ushered into a large private room at Eurokars – Mazda’s Authorized Distributor – with the new car waiting. Our customer executive who sold us the car took a picture with us posing with the new vehicle and had it printed and photo-framed, then walked us through each feature, followed by the final paperwork for car registrations, and warranty policies and the like. So yep, that little feeling of class and care at Eurokars for a six digit purchase that was oddly absent from Nissan / Tan Chong Motors experience back then, though all things on balance, we liked the Nissan customer executive even more.:)
The wife gets dibs on the first drive-out,.
Both have us have taken short drives on the new ride, and the initial observations:
The car feels (actually factually is too) a lot heavier. We’ve not had a lot of recent experience on continental-styled cars, but the Latio in comparison felt nimble, light, and almost occasionally unnerving when we do a hard turn. The Mazda is rock steady – especially evident when making turns and going up and down humps.
Both kids eased into the new car readily. Peter didn’t wail, and in minutes, was babbling to himself again – which is a sure sign that he’s happy.
Hannah was especially excited over the sunroof, and was nearly over the moon when I casually mentioned that the vehicle’s entertainment system should be able to screen Tom & Jerry cartoons!
Many of the features are really nifty and actually useful. Like the super-cool HUD-like Active Driving Display which makes it much easier to check your current vehicle speed, the driver console to control the media system, dual air-con adjusters, USB charging, auto-sensing window wipers, auto-retracting side-view mirrors, headlights, and proximity-based auto-locking. A few other features are less useful or just stuff we won’t use very much – like the Bluetooth connections to handphones for messaging, but are still nice to haves.
This sort of thing is normal in modern cars today – but I cannot sufficiently emphasize how grateful I am to finally have a ride which can play MP3 music off a USB thumbdrive. No more CD switcheroos. I can finally put to use that 64GB thumbdrive jam-packed with about 900 hours of music. Happy day! :)
On the other hand:
We miss a couple of things from the Latio, and its absence only now reinforces how much we took it for granted in the old car. Especially the foot-brake. Greatest vehicle invention ever, and sadly not in the Mazda 3.
The iStop – which basically kills the engine at temporary stoppage and gets it ready for quick start again – is intended to help the car be more fuel efficient, but we’re worried if it’s going to impose wear/tear on the car engine. And that little jolt when the car auto restarts will take getting use to. Ling already wants to permanently disable iStop, but from what I know from checking around, that’s not possible.
General space for rear-seat passengers is indeed more compact and limited than the Latio. Not that our kids mind at the moment, but they might when they get older and bigger.
Brake and acceleration pedals are pretty stiff and require more pressure before they register input. Hopefully they will loosen up over time.
Seemingly fewer but also smaller storage compartments. The Latio had a lot of storage compartments (e.g. passenger and driver side) and the key ones were cavernous! We could chuck books, maps, bottles and the like in the side-storages – but we couldn’t find similar equivalents for the Mazda 3 at this moment.
The car doesn’t provide the driver as much easy visibility all-round. One thing we really appreciated on the Latio was large windows, which really helped in checking for blind spots. The Mazda 3 in comparison feels more enclosed and walled off, and in part because of the chassis, provides less easy visual cues for drivers just at the edges of our peripheral vision. Case in point. We were gingerly making turns in and out of carparks in part of course due to the car being longer and wider than the Latio, but also because we couldn’t see for certain out of the windows how much clearance the car wheels had against kerbs and walls.
I banged my head coming out of the car – twice now LOL. The door frame is smaller, and will require getting use to.
And finally; Hannah did a drawing after she had her first ride. She’s making it abundantly clear who the car belongs to.:)
Close enough visual representation of the Mazda 3 – except for the rear antenna.:)