Every so often, manufacturers arrange driving days so that journo’s can mess around… ahem, I mean drive, and properly assess their range of vehicles, and this particular Driving Day was arranged by Mazda up in t’hills of Halifax, Yorkshire. Being a Lancashire lad I grabbed my passport and made sure that all my jabs were up to date and set off towards the Pennines.
Arriving at the rather posh hotel, the first thing I thought of was, ‘The food’s going to be great at dinner!’ My second thought was, because of all the fog, the photos aren’t going to be up to much! After signing in and chatting to the Mazda team, the first keys I grabbed were for the 2ltr, 150ps AWD Sport Nav CX-3. I really do like the CX-3, it handles like a sports car and like all Mazda’s it comes packed with a good amount of safety stuff, but I won’t go into too much detail as I have one coming within the next couple of weeks, so watch this space. (click here for the review)
Next was the CX-5, a bigger and perhaps more sensible brother to the CX-3. I grabbed the keys for 2.2 AWD diesel that churns out 175ps. Around March I borrowed one for a week and absolutely loved it. Again, the steering is light and the gearbox is slick and a joy to use, which means you get a sporty drive that gives good feedback and confidence. Click here for my previous review.
By lunch time it was still foggy and damp, quite grim really, but by the time we’d filled our bellies with Cottage pie and some chocolate things for pudding, it had gotten noticeably warmer out. The only respectable car to drive in this mini heatwave was of course the new 2ltr MX-5.
Usually, the only 2 seater soft top that I would normally drive is a rag topped Series Land Rover (and the F-Type Jag that I go for during general press days), so this was going to be a newish experience for me.
Whilst waiting for Mrs Turner, I had a quick chat to the Mazda guys, and we all came to the same conclusion, yes it’s a pretty car, and as you walk from the back to the front you can see hints of the F-Type, then the curves of the Corvette. It was still foggy, but you can't drive an MX-5 with the roof up, so with a simple flick of a switch, the roof was disconnected and manually lowered into place, the next part was a bit more complicated, how can a 6ft 1", 18 1/2 stone bald bloke get into a car like this? That's easy, you let gravity take over, the really difficult bit is getting out again!
At this point I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find a comfy position, I mean look at it, it’s tiny, and I’m, well, quite big. But once the steering wheel was raised I found that it was quite easy to get comfy, of course it was still quite snug, but I never felt like a sardine.
The roads around the event are scattered with speed cameras and fairly straight, so even if I wanted to ‘give it some’, I couldn’t. We still had fun, we had it out for just under an hour, and in the fog with the top down we received some odd glances from other motorists, but we didn’t care, we were having a great time, the MX5 really is all that it’s cracked up to be.
Up to this point we’d driven 3 fun and funky cars and I wasn’t sure if we should go home or take out one more, which was the most sensible of the lot, the Mazda 6. Of course I couldn’t resist. Driving the damp roads of Halifax, the 6 made me happy, it’s a nice big 4 door saloon that I would be content driving all day long, if I was into big 4 door saloons that is.
The other day I was asked why I have a thing for Mazda, and it’s odd because before last year I had never driven one before. I think it’s all down to the new KODO design and the raft of safety features, but mainly they all have a sporty feel about them, from the suspension, the steering, the handling and the slick gear changes, they all drive and handle really well.
Here are some specs of the cars we drove:
2ltr, 160ps Sport Nav
2ltr, 150ps AWD Sport Nav
2.2ltr, 175ps AWD Sport Nav Diesel
|Mazda 6 Saloon
2.2ltr, 150ps SE-L Nav Diesel
Add Soul Red Metallic paint, Safety Pack and Sand Leather seats and trim - £24,505
Add Soul Red Metallic paint, Half Stone leather, half black LUX SUEDE® interior trim - £24,505
Add Soul Red Metallic paint, Safety Pack and Light Stone Leather (in lieu of Black) - £31,455
Add Soul Red Metallic paint - £24,655
|Model||160ps SE-L Nav||120ps SE-L model||SE-L Nav model||‘SE’ model|
|Interior||Half black leatherette seat trim with red piping (black fitted as standard, half stone leather is fitted to this car as an extra)|
|Audio and Communication||Premium Bose® sound system with 9 speakers (incl. 2 driver and 2 passenger headrest speakers)||Premium Bose® surround-sound system with 9 speakers|
|Comfort and Convenience||Smart keyless entry system||Smart keyless entry|
|Safety and Security||(optional on Sport Nav Diesel models only)
||Smart City Brake Support|
|Weights & Capacities|
|Fuel economy & CO2 rating|
|Warranty & Servicing|