I don't care what Regular Car Reviews said. I think it does stand out in a crowd. Here's why.

So as some of you may remember, this past weekend was my 10th wedding anniversary. The wife and I took a trip to BEAUTIFUL Door County Wisconsin, in the height of the Autumn color change. As you can see. It was a bit chilly, and windy, but still sunny and pretty and all those things that made for a good time. Plus the hotel room had a whirlpool tub, HEY-O!

So since the kids were staying with their Nana, and her Focus 3-door is too small to fit them we left the wife's CX-9 behind with them, planning on taking the Camry on the 300 mile trip. But I didn't wanna. We had gotten in about a dozen ex-Executive Demo 2014 Mazda6 GTs from Mazda, some with the Tech package (FOW, MRCC, BSM, AFS, and power heated memory navi everything), and I wanted to arrive in style. So I asked nicely, and was given one.

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Anyways, onto the car. First impressions: Its nice. Ooh, lookit all these toys! I hope this auto trans doesn't suck like it does in the 3. WTF, why does the radio sound so... light. HOLY SHIT THE RADAR CRUISE IS AWESOME-O.

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Plugged in my phone via USB, which allowed me to read and respond to texts, and download my address book to the car. Bluetooth took care of the audio, which worked as well as it did in the 3, which is to say: Not perfect. Still not sure if its my phone, but songs sometimes skip, pause, and end early. And sometimes I can't skip to the next one right away. STILL need to turn up the volume during phone calls, but its better than the 3, probably because its quieter inside the cabin. As far as texts go, it'll allow you to download them while driving, but it will not let you read them. But you can respond. Its a crapshoot, but you can always just send the one and only smiley face: :-)

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And man, that screen LOOOOOVES fingerprints.

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Yes, you can use the steering wheel controls and redundant control knob/buttons on the center console, but what's the fun in that?? The area below the screen too should be some kind of rubber, as you tend to rest your hand there when pressing on the screen... so that gets all palm-printy.

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Oh, there's the TomTom navi screen. Its..... a BIT childish. But in night mode, there's stars in the sky. Neat! It led me to MOST of my destinations well enough, but the British lady voice got tiresome, and her pronouncing LAKEVIEW street was funny at first, but after you hear "La-kee-view" a few times, it gets old. There is no option to change. It got us lost once trying to find a zoo. It was off by a few blocks, stopping us in front of some dude's house. Only animals he had was a couple cats. He got mad when I asked where Marky Mark was.

We Found The Zoo.

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And inside was a big ass tire. The wife asked me to climb inside. It was wet. I said no.

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And this sign made me laugh.

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Fucking deer. Oh, right, back to the car. We took the back roads out of town from the zoo, and it gave me a chance to play with a few of the car's features. I had gotten used to the Blind Spot Monitoring's comfort zone and Mazda Radar Cruise Control's following distance on the highway (from 15MPH+ you can just set it, and almost NEVER have to touch the gas or brake. It'll slow pretty firmly if the car ahead of you does), so now I wanted to see how it did out in the sticks. But first, lets put the trans in manual mode!

Uh, where is it?

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*looks OVER the parking brake (non-electronic, yiss) that's been stabbing me in the knee when I use the MRCC)* "Oh, there it is". Ergonomics fail X2.

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Hey, I see you saw that tire pressure gauge in the cubby hole there. Yeah. This car was ridden hard for its first 8800 miles by a Mazda Corporate employee. Probably a sales or service representative. In the Michigan area. Two of the tires needed replacing due to cuts and gouges in the sidewalls. 250 miles into my 300 mile journey the damn warning light came on. Stopped at a BP near the hotel and bought the gauge to find two of the tires OVER inflated. BY FOUR FUCKING POUNDS. Had to let it sit and cool down before the system could be reset. Thankfully, an owners manual was provided, and it was just a matter of pressing a button once. ONCE! Hit it too many times in these new Mazdas, and they explode. I think.

Hmm, what else.... well, the horrible wind noise from the rear windows made me think they were cracked open, and when I pulled up on the switches on the driver's door, the cheap plastic thing creaked like cheap plastic. The hood bounced perceptively in the wind at high speeds, not only in the middle, but out on the edges which... is kinda freaky. There was the ever present loud SKYACTIV cat warm up procedure, and once, the car vibrated roughly when put in reverse. Other than that, NVH wasn't bad, but for nearly $40k new, I would expect a quieter cabin. The 19" tires were loud, and the aforementioned rear window wind noise was supplemented by wind noise off the massive side view mirrors. Also, small clunks were heard when reversing out of parking spots when turning the steering wheel, but the car passed safety inspection, and no other ill effects were noted on our long, long, LONG road test.

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See what I did there?

So, I really haven't mentioned styling, but I like it. It's a nice looking car. Belt line is sorta high, so its hard to rest an elbow on the sill. I did have ONE issue with it, so I took a picture before going into the store so I knew which car was mine when I got back out.

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More things. I averaged 35MPG on the trip, including a lot of city driving, some back road shenanigans, and letting the cruise keep up with traffic. Also, there was a big relay marathon up there that weekend and we got stuck in traffic a few times. Did I mention it has Forward Obstacle Warning? The car will stop for you under 15MPH if you don't see the big flashing red BRAKE! symbol come up in the display. Neat. Yes I tried it out. Yes I was scared. The back-up camera was a GODSEND, since the rearward visibility isn't the greatest. Car's got a high ass. It was nice to be able to see everything behind me, especially at night (very bright!), and having the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (think that's what Mazda calls it) was handy when something was coming at, or was too close to the rear quarters. The gas pedal has a detent to help you save gas, but once you press past it, the full fury of the 180ish horsepower are unleashed, and its adequate. Handling is handling. Took it through the roundabouts by my house on the way to take it back to work and it rolled through flat and without any drama. Stuck better than I expected it to.

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Anything else? Mmmm I dunno. I just wasn't that impressed with the car itself, except for the toys, which was only because I'm not USED to them. I drive a '98 Camry.

Pretty pictures:

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Car's for sale, $28k. NP?