There might indeed be pandemic weight gain on my part…..
…..but I did find it a bit more challenging to get in and out of this year’s Mazda3, an all-around excellent small car – assuming you can get in and out of it comfortably.
Starting at $21,500 US, you will get a combined mpg of 32 and a 186-horsepower engine that really is a kick-starter as you go about your business. That’s the starting price for the sedan with automatic transmission (no clutches available for the 3); the hatchback (always a lifesaver when you go to the big box stores or your oversized Amazon locker) will cost you an extra $2.2k for the convenience.
Handling and agility are hallmarks of the Mazda 3. I found it easy to maneuver and be responsive when I needed it to kick into a gear a bit. Are you going to win any races with the 3? Probably not, but you can keep up as an anxious spectator, at the very least.
Edmunds.com calls this year’s 3 “something that’s a little special”, noting how much it stands out from its small-car competitors, most of whom have no Umph! or vibrancy when it comes to putting the power in the drive. I will say this: the 2020 ‘3’ is a fun, responsive little car to get you around town and in and out of the tight spaces that have always been a condition of ‘out’ gay life here in the colonies.
As of late, I have really been paying attention to the audio systems, and what comes standard for Mazda does a nice job. Assuming you don’t need to totally reproduce the quality at your favorite queer haunt, this will work just fine. And if you are into older, less-re-mastered songs from when your parents were young and stupid – yeah, you will be fine with what comes standard.
Also standard is frontal collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and a drowsy driver monitor.
To me, all that safety stuff is important; I hate it when you have to pay extra just to keep you and your family safe. I would personally still go up the trims to the Select or the Preferred, which add blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and keyless entry.
There are some notable downsides, however.
Rear visibility is challenged because of thick roof pillars. When I was turning my head to see if there was any traffic to my right, I immediately noticed the considerably (IMHO) diminished view. So, yes, one should always take time to carefully look and see if there is traffic next door (and not rely solely on the car’s sensors to tell you) regardless. Just something to watch out for……
And it does get a little tight in the backseats. Angling to get in and out seems necessary for anyone of size (that would be us, yes). Again, just a word of caution. (Cargo space is a bit diminished as well.).
My advice, as always, is to sit in every seat and bring along any constant companions that may spend as much time in the car as you do.
And, of course, enjoy the ride.