6 Speed Test Drives

Mazda CX-3 – The Perfect Cool Nerd Car

For all of you nerds out there, the Mazda CX-3 might peak your interest. With it’s rugged yet futuristic features, fun drive and Android-like technology, this car seems like the perfect fit for a ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Fast and Furious 47’ mash-up.

1. Smooth Nerd Style – Immediately, Mazda won me over with that beautiful blue paint job and unconventional look, an especially good look for LA where the most original vehicle out there might be a Prius (no diss, just alternative facts). At any rate, clearly going for the edge of what’s trending and other worldly design, the CX-3 style is for the bold and progressive. In fact, while driving this car around the city, there were some head turns. Of course it’s hard to say what anyone was thinking, but the CX-3 certainly stood out in the sea of similar.

2. Get up and Go! – Have you ever been on a freeway (that’s what they’re called in Cali) on-ramp in a car with no power? It’s pretty sucky, slow and frustrating. The CX-3 gave me the drive-kick (yes I made that up) I needed to feel like I was in control of my journey. Getting to red lights faster was like being the first to the microwave at work during lunch break – satisfying.

3. Gentle safety features – Lane departure notifications are so necessary because let’s be real, drivers are more distracted than they have ever been. And so features like lane departure are necessary. You know that smooth operator voice on ‘Star Trek?’ The safety features in this vehicle are kind of like that voice. Instead of making a buzz or annoying sound that completely disrupts the driving mood, the CX-3 sends a vibration sound (the best way I can describe it) throughout the car and drops the radio’s volume. I found that this was much more pleasant and less jolting. The warning was more like a gentle reminder to stay focused.

4. Sounds like a Boss – Yup, the system is everything. I played songs and heard base lines I didn’t even know were there.

5. Navi on Bleak – Yeah, you read that right. I’ve mentioned this before. Navigation is a must have. It should be a standard feature in any car. But when it acts more like a hindrance rather than a co-pilot, I’d much rather use that digital space for something else. Often, when attempting to use the navigation, I grew frustrated quickly as the maps seemed outdated, restrictive and slow to react to missed turns. For the most part, I deferred to my mobile navigation, which was much more accurate, human sounding and direct.

6. Tech Needs Some Love – When connecting my iPhone to the car via USB, most of the time the CX-3 system didn’t recognize the device. Perhaps I’m not aware of a tech rivalry happening between Mazda and Apple. And perhaps CX-3 drivers are inclined to more customizable devices.

Bonus. Poor User Design – The CX-3 has a few uncomfortable quirks like the only front seat cup holder being directly underneath the armrest. Imagine going through a drive-though spot, getting some super refreshing lemonade and looking forward to drinking it on your journey. Each time you want to grab your drink, you’ve got to lift up the armrest, where your arm is resting and reach beside yourself to lift a drink. It’s uncomfortable and distracting. I started to ponder whether or not the CX-3 designers did this on purpose to discourage drinking and driving. Further, the control panel felt slightly off – designed in a way that doesn’t fit a driver’s natural movement.

By Brittney M. Walker for SimplyRides.com

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