Cars have come a very long way from the very first horseless carriage. And while they may not have been around for as long as some of their rivals, Mazda cars, such as these, are among those pushing the envelope in the modern era. Not only are they reliable, but they deliver excellent tech packages at remarkably affordable price points. Where some once scoffed at the label ‘made in Japan’, it is now a badge of honor and quality.
Life in the fast lane
Today, drivers aren’t satisfied with a simple mode of transportation from one place to another. They generally want to get where they are going quickly and safely or to be entertained during their otherwise tedious commutes. Often, they want both. While our parents may tell us how lucky we are to even have cars while they had to walk five miles in the snow just to get to school every morning, times have certainly changed.
These days, cars are quickly turning into computers with wheels. Infotainment systems are growing, with more factory-installed apps than ever before. And four to eight speakers are now the norm, where once two seemed to suffice. More premium brands even go so far as to offer 20 or more. You won’t find quite that many in a Mazda, but these fun vehicles come surprisingly close at a fraction of the cost.
From ABC to MX
Mazda has been around for quite some time now – since 1920 to be exact. So, naturally, there have been a number of different models produced over the years. Not all of these have survived, like the Tribute crossover or the much-loved RX-8 sports car. And even with many brands cutting their lineups of compact vehicles from the US market, Mazda’s current list is far from short, though, with just some of the options including contemporary, well-specified variants such as:
- Mazda 3, either sedan or hatchback
- Mazda 6 Sedan
- CX-3 Crossover
- CX-9 Crossover
- MX-5 Miata
Of course, this is just the list of cars available in the USA. Only one hatchback model is offered here, but the CX range of utes is highly popular among families that value economy and safety. The MX-5 Miata and the sportier RF are praised by those with a need for speed since they have excellent acceleration and handling. They only seat two, though, and they aren’t as tech-heavy as the more family-friendly vehicles. Still, the list of standard features is hardly short, with navigation, smartphone integration, and driver-assistance features included, along with a nine-speaker Bose sound system.
What to expect when you’re not expecting
Mazdas are not particularly expensive, and the latest offerings are surprisingly plush for what you spend. The midsize CX-9, for instance, tops out at around $47k MSRP. For that price, you may not expect to get much, but these cars are astonishingly well-packed. Each model is powered by a punchy four-cylinder engine with a turbocharger attached to give it even more oomph. Coupled with their sleek size and well-tuned handling, even the more sedate sedans or crossovers can deliver quite a bit of fun on the road. But horsepower and driving dynamics aren’t all they have going for them.
Inside, these automobiles are well-stocked. Whether dressed in cloth or leather, the cabins are built with attention to detail. We spend a lot of our lives in our cars, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t feel like a home away from home. And, while our mobile phones are very quickly turning into handheld computers, driving is not a one-handed task. Thus, the infotainment suites equipped to these vehicles are ever-evolving to ensure that we remain connected. Smartphone integration is a given, even on base models, while upper-spec configurations add Wi-Fi hotspots and advanced listening options like HD or satellite radio. You won’t find a rear-seat entertainment setup in the economical cabins, but premium audio systems are available.
Practical, safe, fun… it’s a no-brainer
Aside from fun driving experience and plenty of quality-of-life amenities, cars from the Japanese automaker managed to cover more mundane daily needs, too. They may not have the most cargo capacity in the segment, but they are far from disappointing. This is especially nice considering both rows of seats in every four-door model supply enough room for even growing families.
And, speaking of your family, you will obviously want to keep them safe. In this regard, every Mazda car scores top marks. Most have been rated by the NHTSA and IIHS, with several walking away with Top Safety Pick awards. Collision mitigation technology is becoming as commonplace as a rearview camera, and most models offer other advanced driver-assistance features like lane departure mitigation and blindspot monitoring, assuming they aren’t standard features already. Just because these little cars put an emphasis on fun, it doesn’t mean they’re irresponsible.
All this, and more, for the low, low price of…
We’ve already seen that there is no such thing as an ‘expensive’ Mazda, but that doesn’t do these vehicles justice. Apart from being affordable, they are excellent value for money. Sure, they come decked out with loads of modern tech, especially if you aim for the upper trim levels, but they will save you money in the long run, too. As smaller vehicles with zippy engines, they naturally offer above-average fuel economy figures, too.
The smaller sedans and hatchbacks reign supreme in this regard, offering up to 30 mpg or more in combination driving situations. Even the sportier MX-5 options come close to this. The SUVs are a little thirstier, generally getting around 25 miles per gallon in the same conditions.
This means that, aside from a very reasonable asking price, these Japanese autos will present you with a very appealing gas bill at the end of the month. Top this all off with excellent reliability ratings, and you can expect to trade your Mazda in for a decent rebate on your next new car, which will likely be another Mazda.