Zoom-zoom-zoom through the New River Valley
It’s never an experience on the Highway without a trip to the laundromat, right? While I couldn’t stand my bag upright in the hatch area, there was plenty of room to throw in my usual load. All I needed to do was walk to the back, reach under the Mazda badge, and pop the whole thing open.
As for grocery runs, this is where the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus truly shone. On the last full day at the roadhouse, I took my mom to get her bi-weekly groceries. She usually brings quite a few reusable bags of various sizes, all of them filled to the brim an hour or so later. The Mazda3’s backside held it all, and still had room for a few more bags.
On the road itself, the Mazda averages 23 city and 31 highway for a combined 26 mpg. The only highways I saw were I-81 to and from Carilion’s main hospital for a CT scan, and U.S. 460 between my town’s north and south ends. Combined with the streets in my little town, I managed around 24 mpg. And of course, you can’t beat the power of that turbo-four in front of you, let alone the sound when you give it the beans.
Finally, with the front seats pushed back, I still had good legroom in the back. As a reminder, though, I am 5 ft 6; your mileage will vary.
Most hatchbacks don’t call to mind performance. The Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus is not among them. When you get behind the wheel, you’re connected to a lineage of performance going from the Cosmos of the late Sixties, to the Daytona prototypes of today.
Photos: Aubernon Highway/Cameron Aubernon