What they really mean is neat freak. And they don’t mean it in a good way. Frankly, I don’t understand the problem they have with my proclivity for the neat side of life. Why can’t a guy impose a couple of simple rules on house and car guests? Shoes off at home. Not leaving dishes in the sink. The car window-all-the-way-up-or-all-the-way-down-to-prevent-dust-lines?
In the interest of self-improvement I will admit I crossed the line once: I used to carry around my wallet in a little felt baggy. Now before you condemn me to the funny farm I must present my defense. I was in college and money was tight. I found a wallet I absolutely LOVED but it was a bit above my price range. So, I found a ‘seconds’ version at an outlet and I promised myself I would keep it perfect shape. Enter the baggy. Well, the ONE time it was out of it’s protective case, - boom - a strategically spilled beer ruined it. Now I carry a small card wallet and keep it hidden but you see the peril when the neat rules are not strictly adhered to?
That said, I do consider myself an expert on details. I see it in all sorts of things but really respect it in technology and design. Two big names that obsess over detail in both areas are Apple and BMW. Apple for great products like the iPhone and BMW for, well not their latest designs but you get my point when it comes to the way their cars drive and technology. I submit Mazda be added to that list.
Again, before you condemn me as the fool that used to carry around a wallet in a baggy I present the new Mazda3 as my defense.
Let’s get the business end of this review out of the way. The Mazda3 drives great. Very easy to drive quickly. The perfect tool for dissecting traffic in cities like LA or New York. Mainly from a wonderfully balanced 2.5 4-cylinder engine combined with a 6-speed manual smoother than churning butter at an Amish convention. I often found myself shifting from first to third to fifth gear because of such a wide power band.
The suspension my Grand Touring level equipped example was something perfect for Goldie Lox - not too soft and not to hard. Just right for commuters with a bend towards sport for which this car is intended.
Now the thing is, the way this car drives is not what makes this car stand out. It’s the details. There are soooooo many that I have to devote the better of this review to my favorites.
Let’s start with the toys. For a small Japanese 5-door (or sedan, pick your poison) costing a hair below $25,000, you don’t see technology like this. It’s like finding the liner of a Brioni suit in something off the rack at Men’s Warehouse. If you tick the right boxes on the order sheet, you get electric leather heated seats with memory. But wait, there’s more. Way more.