Back in February, I got an e-mail as I headed out of a Mexican restaurant and toward the P!nk concert. The subject line said something about my blog and the representative from STI wanting to send me a car. Or two. At that moment, as I probably dodged a car (or a jogging homeless man) while crossing the street, I began to shriek to my friends standing close by. I read them the e-mail.
“A car! A car! This guy wants to send me a car!”
If they had a taser, they would have used it on my left kneecap to make me calm the frickfrack down.
You see, I have this record with cars. This long, long, long record with cars. In my family growing up, we didn’t get a new car every 4 years. I think my Dad drove his Dodge Ram Charger for probably 15 years. My car just before the SUV I drive now was a Nissan Altima and we got rid of it when it had over 234,000 miles on it. We had his FUMEral in 2010. Just before he kicked the bucket, my husband’s car kicked the bucket. We had to share a car. I drove him to the bus stop every day. If I hadn’t done that, he probably never would have that affair with the bus driver. In high school and in college, I drove TWO DIFFERENT Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieras. One was my parents’ and one was my grandmother’s. Both were awful. The lining fell over my eyes in one of them so many times that we had to rip it out finally. One of those cars would sputter and die when the car came to a complete stop, so I had to make my friends jump out while the car was going forward very slowly.
Character building at it’s finest, is what that was all about, homies.
So, I freaked out a bit when the guy called to say he wanted to send me a car to test drive in exchange for a review. In general, I don’t do reviews left and right on this blog. This was an exception to me, because, well, I need to give the car I drive now a break when I can. I’ll be driving that little Bessie until I start collecting Social Security, if my husband has anything to do with it. She needs a break from time to time. If this car thing becomes something I do frequently, I will create a little house for car-related posts here in the Break Room so that those who are interested in reading about my experience can check it out and those that aren’t can read about the day I got kicked out of Schlotzsky’s or skim the flowchart made for people who like to throw other people’s stuff away willy-nilly or throw darts at my face. Maybe I’ll tuck the car posts away near the vending machine or something. Watch your step when you are walking over there in the future.
So, what did they drive to my house one Thursday afternoon?
|Check out an up close picture of the tree HERE, if you dare…
This is a Mazda Mazda3 with SkyActiv Technology. “SKYACTIV”
is a series of technologies developed by Mazda which increase fuel efficiency and engine output. That is the simple answer. Mazda created a handy little video to explain it more here
Now, before I go into the ins and outs of this little fella, let me share a conversation my husband and I had about this opportunity.
“They’re going to send YOU a car to test drive?” he asked.
“But, you don’t even pay attention to gas mileage at all. You don’t even check to see how much gas costs before you buy it. You don’t even like cars.”
“I pay attention to gas mileage. I know when that light comes on, I have to get to the gas station real quick like.”
“So, what is your review going to say? IT DRIVES. IT DRIVES FAST. I LIKE IT.”
“Maybe, you little fart.”
I can give you more than that, though. I will do this because a) I want to prove my husband wrong and b) the fine people over at Mazda deserve a better review than that!
But, it does drive fast. That little fart whipped in and out of parking spaces like nobody’s business. Do I need to turn right? Oh, yes, I do. DONE. Do I want to be over in my right lane? DINGDANG STRAIGHT. Finished. Oh, I gotcha. You want to make a quick left and then a sharp right? NO PROBLEMO, PAPI.
|My least favorite part of the car had to be those Michigan license plates. I felt like a traitor! I felt like writing a letter to Sam Houston and asking him to forgive me for betraying my home state this way! I honestly felt like Santa Ana himself. I’m sorry, Sam! Forgive me, Sam!
I DID pay attention to gas mileage, though. I took a trip to my parents and back one afternoon and hardly noticed a dip in the gas tank electronic thingy on the dashboard. My parents live a half mile down the road, but still. Kidding. They live about 25 minutes away. I loved how the electronic dashboard would tell you how efficient you were being with your fuel at different speeds. I noticed I was getting pretty awesome gas mileage at 2 miles per hour. So, it’s 2 miles an hour all the way to our next road trip destination, kids. BRING LOTS OF PUZZLES!
I also paid attention to how easy it was to hook my son’s booster seat into the back. I’ve always said that prisons should have inmates busting rock and placing car seats in and out of cars. Both are equally hard work and MAKE ME WANT TO CRUSH LIGHT BULBS WITH MY BARE HANDS. There is nothing that I dread more than dealing with car seat latches in cars that don’t make it easy to find them. This Mazda3 did not present that problem for me. It’s a GOOD THING, Mazda!
|In hind sight, I should have put my 5-year-old on the opposite side of the car. My 5-year-old son is about the same size as a full-grown Grizzly on stilts and he wasn’t happy with his leg room. I had plenty of room to scoot up, though, so we worked that out.
So besides the look of the car, the ease of the car seat latches, the gas mileage and the way that car zipped and zapped everywhere it went, I loved, loved, LOVED the music selection.
Don’t even get me started.
I felt like I was manning a small plane. I loved all the buttons I could push. I know other cars have Sirius and Pandora and whatever, but mine doesn’t. So, driving this car to me was like standing in front of a juke box back in the day with a wheelbarrow full of quarters at my disposal.
The fact that I could also plug in my iPhone directly to charge while also having an extra outlet to charge, say, my Nook or portable Light Brite game (don’t I wish!) was the icing-like stuff on those cake pops from Starbucks.
I don’t have those gizmos on my SUV now either. (I’m not talking about cake pops anymore here, guys. I’m referring to the USB outlet and whatnot.)
It was SUPER nice driving that car around. My SUV wasn’t liking it one bit, though. No, sir. He still isn’t talking to me, but I know he’ll get over it. HE BETTER! Who else is going to take his stinking butt to Bubbles Car Wash, huh? NOT MY KIDS! He’ll come around. Probably.
My number one criticism about this car, besides those Michigan plates, has to be that there wasn’t a change tray at the front of the car and a pocket behind the driver’s seat. There was a console for change, but in my SUV now, I have a little tray that I can drop quarters in really easily that is located right at the front below the radio. I like having a place to stick tweezers in, too, because Lord knows nothing shows the world that you are harvesting a small farm of light and dark wheat between your eyeballs like the sunshine. Gotta always have those tweezers ready to go. The pocket behind the passenger seat? Well, I don’t care about that as much for me. It’s just if kids are going to ride in this car, they’re going to both want a pocket in the seat directly in front of them. Mine did, but maybe that’s just because they’re nit-picky little squirts. They need all the extra space for storing spare Lego heads and Anakin Skywalker arms that they can find.
You know, maybe my husband is right. I didn’t get into the nitty-gritty details of the car. The primary reason for that is because nitty-gritty details about cars make me want to eat fire ants. That has got to be more pleasant than hearing a bunch of mumbo jumbo car details. I can take about 30 seconds of that before I zone out and imagine monkeys juggling gigantic kiwis while sitting on your head.
I know I need to grow up.
My husband wins this one, I guess.
Oh! You want to know the spoiler?
They took it back after a week. Boooooooo.
(I still appreciated the opportunity, though. Now, if I can just get my SUV to talk to me again…)