Words, Weights, Whatever

Monday, August 29, 2005

***Weekend Words****

R. was on-call Friday night. So I spent the morning and much of the afternoon test-driving various cars at the Zoom-Zoom Live! event sponsored by Mazda.

As long-time readers of my blog know (all eight of you), I was looking for a new car last year to replace my aging 1996 Dodge Neon. Ultimately, I took over my spouse's 1998 Mazda 626 while getting a 2005 Accord hybrid to replace it. (We donated the Neon.) But I continued to keep an eye on cars (and even SUVs) since the 626 has nearly as many miles as my Neon.

One of the cars of interest is the Mazda6. While I checked out the car, I never test drove it, thinking I couldn't fit in it. I discovered, during the Zoom-Zoom Live! event, that impression to be a mistake.

I arrived at the Pomona Fairgrounds shortly after noon. Heat and dust blasted across the concrete surface. I quickly bolted to the circus-like tent for cover. I hadn't seen many cars in the parking lot so I thought there were few attendees. That turned out be an illusion caused by the sheer size of the fairground. Many had already arrived or had carpooled together. There was easily a good 20-30 minute wait for many of the events.

When I had discovered Zoom-zoom on-line, I found no info on the event's cost. Well, that's because it--from parking to food and drinks to driving the cars themselves--was free.

When I walked in the tent, there was a long line for the free food (pretzels and popcorn). Not feeling hungry at the time, I instead checked out the new MX-5 (commonly known as the Miata). Now I never liked the MX-5, always thinking it as a toy. (My nickname for it was the "putt-putt" car.) Also, at six feet in height, (taller with my platform sneakers), headroom is a top (no pun intended) priority.

So I was amazed that I actually fit the car. Yeah, the top of the front windshielf was at eye level but the top of my head didn't pass it. And those seats were quite comfortable, wrapping around my body like a cocoon. Impressed, I pulled myself out of the car. I now knew how several same-height or taller friends and acquaintences of mine actually enjoyed the vehicle.

Near-furnace-level winds pushed against me as I stepped outside the tent. A circle of Mazda vehicles stood nearby. To my right was the first Zoom-Zoom event.

Zoom-zoom Live! was the opportunity to test-drive almost all the Mazda vehicles on test tracks. To make it more interesting, everyone received points in matching (not exceeding) a certain time on the track. The closer you matched the time (36 seconds for the Mazda3,5, and 6 track), the more points you gained. Your accumulated score garnered prizes.

I didn't care less about accumulating points. I was attending to see how the cars drove. While there were others with similar views, the vast majority viewed the event as some sort of "legal " opportunity to drive as fast as possible. (Hilarious, especially, in the van-like Mazda5.) I heard the event sponsors constantly blaring to remind people to match the time on the track, not beat it.

There were four tracks: two for the Miata's, one for the RX-8, and one jointly for the Mazda3,5, and 6. The first track I waited in line was for the 6. Later that day I checked out the 3. R., who's owned Mazda RX's in the past, pushed me to try out the RX-8. I'll post reviews on those vehicles in future posts.

Between test drives, I chatted with event sponsors about the models which included checking out the interior of the new Mazda5. Unfortunately, all the other cars were locked. One sponsor confirmed that the 2006 models would be including a NAV system as an option, something I had been wanting after the purchase of our Accord hybrid.

R. and I spoke several times throughout the event. I headed home around 4PM to attend another event.

To be continued


  • ooooh!! do I smell a post about you and a shiny new Mazda 6 in the very near future. those are pretty sweet looking cars. Zoom Zoom indeed.

    By Blogger angreeblkcub, at 6:30 AM  

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