Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.
Doing one or the other is easy. If you cram a giant engine into a little car, you’ll get people’s hearts racing. And on the flip side, you can put a puny engine into a tin-can car and get good gas mileage.
But what Mazda has done with this car, the all-new Mazda3, is remarkable.
First of all, it’s rated for 41 mpg on the highway. To put that in perspective, it’s the exact same mileage figure as the first-generation Toyota Prius hybrid, which set the standard for hyper-efficient cars when it was introduced.
Unlike many fuel-saving cars, though, the Mazda3 doesn’t feel like a dinky, hamster-powered contraption. It feels quick and nimble, matching the breathtakingly fun feeling that I loved in the previous generation 3.
I’m not quite sure how Mazda managed to do that. Mazda’s Department of Marketing Mumbo Jumbo came up with the term “SKYACTIV” to describe how the engine, transmission, body and chassis work together to boost performance and gas mileage, but black magic still makes more sense to me.
Whatever the root cause, this is one of my favorite small cars to drive in a long time. And it’s for reasons that go much deeper than gas mileage.
From the driver’s seat, this new design feels like one of the fastest, most fun compact cars you can buy. It doesn’t drive at all like a car that’s designed for good gas mileage, strangely enough.
I love the new look Mazda gives this car for 2014. It gets a long, sports-car-like hood, swept-back headlights and a sleek, expensive-looking overall shape. I think it looks like a smaller, sportier version of the pricey Lexus RX 350 that I tested last week.
Inside, this is one of the best cabins I’ve ever seen in a compact car. It has soft materials on the dash, tight construction, and — at least in my test car — all the bells and whistles you could possibly imagine being in a commuter vehicle: automatic headlights, a heads-up display, lane departure warning, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, blind-spot sensors, a navigation system and lots more.
On the downside, all those extras added a lot to the price of my test car. It rang up over $29,000, which — to me, at least — seems like an awful lot of money for a Mazda compact car. The base version of this car, starting under $17,000, makes more sense for most people.
As a whole, though, this is one of the most impressive small cars I’ve driven in years. Even at the end of its lifespan, the previous generation Mazda3 was one of my favorites, and this new version raises the bar even higher.
It’s kept the lovable, fun-to-drive spirit of the Mazda3 while adding better gas mileage for today’s world. If Mazda had to stick pins into Honda and Toyota voodoo dolls to do that, so be it.
Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
New YMCA celebrated
The Edmond YMCA at Mitch Park, at 2901 Marilyn Williams Drive, recently had a ribbon cutting in conjunction with Edmond Public Schools and the City of Edmond to celebrate the grand opening of the new facility. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, leisure pools and a variety of classes, the new structure also houses a competition pool that is owned by Edmond Public Schools and dedicated to their use by high school swim teams. For more information, call 330-4016 or visit www.ymcaokc.org.
Kimray announces relocation of Oklahoma City headquarters
Kimray Inc., a manufacturer of oil and gas control equipment, recently announced its intentions to relocate its Oklahoma City headquarters. The company plans to move to a 136-acre property on the northwest corner of Eastern Avenue and Britton Road. The company initially plans to develop about 30-35 acres of the property. The relocation will allow for decades of future growth and will improve the efficiency of Kimray’s operations.
Coolgreens to temporarily close downtown location
Coolgreens, a healthy alternative to casual dining offering fresh salads, wraps, flatbread pizzas and homemade soups, recently announced the temporary closing of its downtown City Place location at 204 N. Robinson March 1. The downtown store is slated to reopen in January 2015 with new morning hours and menu options, including breakfast items and a juice bar.
Local state representative wins technology award
Oklahoma state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, has been designated as one of Government Technology magazine’s top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for his work to apply innovation and technology in Oklahoma state government. Since 2002, Government Technology has honored those individuals who have transformed the public sector through the smart use of technology.
Heartland Payment Systems breaks new ground in city
Heartland Payment Systems executives were joined by Edmond City Council members for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the site of the new Heartland Payment Systems’ 22,000-square-foot facility.
Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest payment processors and a leading provider of merchant business solutions, celebrated the start of construction at the site in Edmond on South Boulevard.
Flourish delivers care from new state-of-the-art facility
In business since 2004, as part of its ongoing efforts to offer Oklahomans a premier healthcare experience in a caring environment, Flourish Pharmacy & Nutrition has opened the doors on a new, state-of-the-art facility on North Pennsylvania Avenue, just north of Memorial Road.
Flourish president and CEO Jerrod Roberts says the new facility is part of alleviating pain and suffering with unique pharmacy care practice on the cutting edge of technology.
One of the new facility’s hallmarks is the state-of-the-art compounding lab for preparing custom prescriptions. Flourish is the first and only Oklahoma compounding pharmacy to achieve accreditation by PCAB (Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board), a certification that ensures best practices for the quality and safety of compounded prescriptions.
Patton moves east for new corrections gig
In Robert C. Patton, Oklahoma is getting a new corrections director from Arizona who is more than willing to use private prisons as a means to deal with inmate overcrowding.
“I’m a (prison) bed manager. I’ll tell the policy makers I need beds, and if I can convince them that I need beds, then it’s their jobs on whether it’s public or private,” said Patton, whose first day as Oklahoma Corrections Department director began Tuesday.
Patton’s position on private prisons is far different than that of Jones, the former director who resigned in October following clashes with elected officials who wanted to put more inmates in private facilities.
The Oklahoma Board of Corrections last month approved a measure that allows the state to seek proposals from private prison companies to provide an additional 350 to 2,000 medium-security beds for state inmates.
Staples to close 225 stores as online competition hurts sales
Staples Inc., the largest U.S. office-supplies chain, will close as many as 12 percent of its North American stores and cut as much as $500 million in costs as online competition continues to hurt sales.
What you need to know about subtle office bullying
Sad to say, but bullying does not just exist in the schoolyard. It is alive and well in the workplace.
REVIEW: Avenger an American value
If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.
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