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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra
Driving the Mazda3 i Grand Touring 5 door on a grand tour up to Big Bear, it covered the freeway without any issues of course. It is quiet enough, nimble enough and comfortable. I had connected the phone through Bluetooth, and have tried to get my messages synced as well, so that I could use that very interesting new messaging system they have, but that sadly failed to transfer my messages from my new Android phone.
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Going up the mountain the Mazda3 had to prove it was up for the challenge. Equipped with a 6 speed gear box, it was not an issue at all to get by some of the annoying slow drivers, the kind of people who drive way below the speed limit because they don’t trust themselves. If they don’t, why get on the mountain in the first place?
Thankfully on the road to Big Bear there are a number of passing zones, since the slower people seem to be oblivious of the signs suggesting slower traffic to use the turnouts. Those passing zones with double lane allowed me to overtake most of the trail of slow vehicles each time, only rarely to get stuck with just one more slightly up ahead.
Face-lifted with an even more refined exterior and interior, the 2012 Mazda3 also is the first application in North America of Mazdaâ€™s innovative SKYACTIV1 fuel-saving and performance-oriented technologies, achieving an EPA-rated 40 mpg on the highway. The Mazda3 model is Mazdaâ€™s best-selling vehicle worldwide and accounts for nearly two thirds of all Mazda car sales in the United States, making the vehicle a prime candidate for introducing SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY to consumers looking for dynamic performance coupled with high fuel efficiency.
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â€œSKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY is not just an engine; it is a new generation of advanced vehicle performance and efficiency,â€ said Jim Oâ€™Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). â€œSKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY embodies Mazdaâ€™s philosophy of engineering only vehicles that are fun to drive, satisfying to own and environmentally responsible; and there is no better vehicle to start than with the Mazda3, one of the most exciting sport compact cars on the road.â€
Redesigned for the 2010 model year, the refreshed 2012 Mazda3 receives an all-new SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine as well as the all-new SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission and all-new SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Mazda3 also features improved sporty driving dynamics, responsive handling and a comfortable cabin space. The exterior design also has been refined to express a bolder stance, alongside new interior appointments creating additional functionality without sacrificing the touch-and-feel quality. New safety features complete the all-around package of performance and practicality.