Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Upstate NY, Capital Region
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For the last 10 years my daily driver has been a Nissan Frontier pickup. It's been (and still is) a reliable vehicle. We pull a pop-up camper, I loaded it with gear and kids when our sons were in Boy Scouts, is handy when it snows, and it hauls my photography gear wherever I go.
I've always been a fan of Mazda from afar, but I've never owned one before. I wanted a mid-size sedan under $35k that was fun to drive, had solid performance, modern tech, and looked sharp. I also have a kind of strange requirement that one of my photography gear bags fits in the trunk. You should have seen some of the sales reps when I said the first thing I want to look at is the trunk and I stuck my gear bag in!
I drove Accord, Camry, Altima, Optima, a few CPO BMW 3-series, and the 6. The 2019 Altima was nice but CVT is a non-starter for me. Optima was also nice but by the time it was optioned where I wanted it, was too much money.
I struggled with the Camry, I just can't get over the hump with the new styling. To me it's like they're slapping a bunch of aftermarket pieces to make it look more aggressive. The black trim pieces outside of the taillights make me think a piece of trim is loose. I wasn't crazy with the interior.
The CPO BMWs were very nice cars, though to stay in my price range it was tough to find something in my price range that was recent enough without a ton of miles on it. Maintenance costs down the road were also a concern, and some of the tech I expected wasn't always present.
I drove the new Accord, which was solid but didn't blow me away. Honda makes nice vehicles but everywhere you turn there's another Accord. I drove the turbo with the 10 speed. Nice car, but it seemed like it was always shifting. The interior is nice, the exterior is ok. Funny, the more I looked at the Accord the less I like the exterior styling.
Which brings me to the 6, which I actually drove before the Accord. The first one I sat in was a Grand Touring Reserve. I was blown away by the quality, detail, and workmanship of the interior. I've always been a fan of the latest generation 6 and the tweaks for 2018 are incredible. On the test drive, performance was crisp, handling excellent, the heads-up blew me away. I felt like I was in a luxury vehicle. It had everything I wanted - performance, looks, current tech (nav, great stereo, CarPlay/AA), comfortable interior, and at a price I could afford. I also drove a Signature, again a very nice car.
Last Friday I decided to save a few thousand and came home a new Grand Touring Reserve in Soul Red Metallic. After driving a few hundred miles the first week I am thrilled with my choice. The car is beautiful inside and out. We pulled in the driveway yesterday and our neighbor's jaw literally dropped. I'm already looking forward to summertime cruises through the back roads of the Adirondacks.
This is my first Mazda. I know it's only been a week and I'm still in honeymoon mode, but I dig this car. I'm looking forward to driving this vehicle more than any new car I've owned and having a ride that everyone else is also driving. I'm also looking forward to participating in the forums. In the few days I've been a member it's obvious many Mazda owners are passionate about their cars, and about driving.