We spent quite a few weekend on the trot visiting dealers and looking at various cars and models, but quickly narrowed it down to just three options; another Honda Civic, a VW Scirocco or the all new 2014/2015 Mazda.
- While the Scirocco with a vast array of added on options would have given us pretty much every feature we wanted (in particular the Holy Grail of a sunroof to make the most of every bit of nice weather we get to enjoy) we just didn’t like the squashed frog face and after adding all those options on the price was just nuts. German cars just don’t have the same reliability or long term owner satisfaction of the Japanese… and having been a Honda driver for many years with no issues whatsoever the Japanese draw was strong.
- The Mazda 3 got us almost everything we wanted, with a quality interior and a much nicer dash layout for a mere fraction of the price. Add on expensive financing and the VW defenestrated. No sunroof, gaah. No reversing camera, gaah – but spending way too long in a Sainsburys car park bemusing the car wash guys and a chip repair guy with an insane repeat reverse parking ritual we gained enough comfort to live with just the sensors.
- Wrt the Civic we couldn’t agree on the Tourer or the straight Hatch. Neither of us appreciated the cheap interior materials and the blanking plates for the options we either didn’t want or couldn’t get just looked honestly pathetic. Heated seats only available with leather? Why? No sunroof option – but then the Mazda wouldn’t give us that either. Hmm. Price wise we were in the same ball park, but with expensive finance on the Civic started tipping us over the edge.
In the end, all things considered heads started nodding towards the Mazda. Emotions and heart flooded in and Mazda won outright…
- Kodo design on the front really sets the car apart in the class – of course a subjective view.
- Excellent finish quality interior (Civic I’m pointing at you).
- Fun to drive.
- HUD (though the Civic and Focus RS deep dash I much prefer – subjective).
- Central tach.
- Aren’t forced to have leather just to get heated seats (what’s that all about anyway?).
- Fits in my 1950’s garage (just).
- Value for money.
- Extensive list of included techs.
- The infotainment control knob.
- Don’t feel like a twat being seen driving one (i.e. it’s not a BMW).
- Adaptive headlights.
- MZD works with Blackberry 10 and Windows phones (not an iShite in sight here).
- Fuel efficiency.
- Reputation for reliability.
- 18″ alloys.
- Comfortable seats.
- 0% finance (though we’d rather just save everyone money and buy with a cash discount – but with 0% finance we capitulated in the end).
- No rearview camera on any trim. Not even an accessory fit equivalent to a factory fit, just a straight full screen camera.
- No sunroof on any trim: wouldn’t risk an after market fit and jeapoardise the warranty.
- Kodo’s facelift stops short of the rear – of course again subjective. It’s ok but nothing special.
- Forced onto measly 120ps petrol as the 165ps isn’t available with automatic transmission.
- Forced onto measly 120ps petrol as the 165ps isn’t available without leather seats (wtf?).
- In cabin storage – those slanted bottle only pockets in the door are verging on useless.
- No rear power points.
- Location of the infotainment screen (though the jury’s out on this one).
- Road noise.
- Electric seats only available with leather upholstery (but absolute nail in the coffin my wife’s feet couldn’t comfortably reach the pedals at the extreme of the electric seat position!) and no memory.
Now we wait. Unfortunately Mazda don’t do a next day Prime delivery…