I hate car shopping. This can probably be traced back to the fact that I have very few real requirements for a car. Namely, it has to be reliable, fuel-efficient, inexpensive and preferably not a horrible color. Eight or so months ago, I finally traded in my 2003 Mazda Protege5 and bought a Mazda2. You really can’t get a more basic car. Yes, it has a radio and air conditioning, but that’s about it for the bells and whistles. It’s a tiny car, it cost me less than $16,000 new and it gets 36 miles per gallon. I also have a pretty long standing loyalty to Mazda- this is the third one I have owned.
This past weekend it was time to go car shopping for my husband who graciously agreed to part with his not so fuel-efficient and very costly to own and maintain BMW 5series. Buying premium fuel and getting less than 25 miles to a gallon hurts in many ways. Fuel-efficiency was one of our top priorities for his new car, but it also had to have enough tech gadgets and features to satisfy his love for such things. Plus it had to have at least a little bit of a coolness factor. We were hoping to reduce his car payment, so we ruled out the “luxury” brands this time and zeroed in on Mazda, a brand I am very loyal to, and Volkswagen, a brand he is very loyal to.
We test drove several cars at the local VW dealership, including the new Jetta Hybrid, the Passat TDI (clean diesel) and finally a standard gas CC which was still pretty fuel efficient and definitely a cool car. Both the Jetta Hybrid and the Passat Diesel got gas mileage in the 40+ mpg range. The fuel economy was very attractive, but the sticker prices and leasing options meant that we weren’t really going to lower our monthly payment much at all and the money saved on gas did not seem to make up for the increased sticker prices of the hybrid or diesel technologies.
At Mazda, we limited our looking to the CX-5 and the Mazda6. My husband liked the idea of the CX-5 compact SUV and the gas mileage was actually pretty good at almost30 mpg combined, but I had a suspicion that he really wanted an SUV so he could tow our group’s tailgate trailer and it just seemed like a lot of vehicle for just a few towing occasions. We started leaning toward the Mazda6 and were pretty impressed. The 2014 Mazda6 was just released and features Mazda’s “Skyactiv” technologies. In the case of the Mazda6, this is a whole range of technologies aimed at fuel efficiency including a lighterweight car body, streamlined aerodynamics, a super efficient gasoline combustion engine and regenerative breaking to power the car’s electronics. The result seems to be a car that can get up to 38 mpg on the highway without the sticker shock of an electric or hybrid solution. I was also a big fan that the car doesn’t have a battery that costs thousands of dollars to replace and has to be disposed of as toxic waste like a hybrid. Electric cars are intriguing to me, but we live in Ohio where most of our electricity comes from coal and a coal powered car doesn’t really seem much better to me than a gas powered one.
Mazda’s Skyactiv technology seem like a great combination of fuel-efficiency, affordability and just enough style to please my husband. Sign us up! We are now the owners, well make that lessees, of a Mazda6 for the next 3 years. We’ll see how it goes…