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Discussion Starter #1
I stopped by the dealership after work today. They had 3 iTouring's on the lot. Didn't test drive them, no time, but had time to kick the tires a bit.

Likes:
- Love the styling, inside and out. Beautiful car in person.
- I prefer the dune interior. Looked at 2 cars, one black interior nad one with dune. Both the cars were sitting outside in the 100F temps and the black interior was noticably hotter. (Both cars were white.) Also, the black interior feels more cramped and looks more monotonous.
- Seats front and back are quite comfortable. I've no doubts that my family could take extended trips comfortably in this car.
- Plenty of leg and head room. I'm 5'9". So, I fit most any car, but they did a great job sculpting the backs of the front seats. Lots is space for your knees and your feet have ample room to extend under the front seat cushion without touching. Not luxury sedan size, but improved from the 2013 MZ3 I compared it with on the lot.
- Cabin insulated from engine noise pretty well. Reving the engine close to redline was not bad. You could hear it, but it didn't drown out the radio. Will have to see about wind/road noise on an actual test drive.
- Love the advanced entry/start key. Just hold down the clutch and brake, then push start. Key never leaves my pocket even when unlocking the doors. I have the same feature on my Prius and it was the only feature besides great gas milege I would have missed when I trade it in for the MZ3.
- Visibility is good. Some blindspots to the back, but not bad and always expected with a hatch, nothing that adjusting the side mirrors couldn't handle.
- Like the Bluetooth, USB, and aux connectivity, It's all I need. The rest of the stuff and the the big touch screen I could care less about and these cars didn't have that. Perfect for me.
- I like the manual AC. Simple and direct. What you see is what you get. I've had automatic AC for a decade in the Prius. Hate it. I'm constantly fiddling with the temp to try and get the fan blowing at the temp, speed and location that I want. Missed the standard controls.
- Love the shifter. Throws not as short as my Miatas used to have but close. Will have to see how the clutch feels on an actual test drive, but it was light enough in the parking lot, that I know I'll be fine in stop and go traffic.
- I actually like the 16" alloy wheels. Don't think they look too small at all. Will likely switch to 55 profile tires when the oem 60s wear out, but the upside is 16" tires are cheaper to replace than 18"s.
- Hatch had plenty of space and seats easily fold down for plenty more.
- Unlike some, I like the looks of the hatch more than the sedan, but I just hate sedans anyway; so, I'm biased.
- Soft touch plastics in the front are nice. Harder plastics in the back, but the back passengers get the soft fold down arm rest with cupholders.
- Like the little cubbie hole that replaces the iCommander knob that is absent from this base model. The more storage the merrier.

Dislikes:
(Not many but here they are)
- Digital tach. I'd have preferred the analog one on the S models, but don't hate it enough to pay 4k more to have one.
- Radio seems tacked on and out of place on the dash. It's a long reach as well. Had to lean over to use it. Won't be a huge issue because of the steering wheel controls, but it seems misplaced in an otherwise excellently designed dash. Almost like somebody forgot about it and glued it on at the last minute. I have the same comment for the big touch screen. That's even worse; since it is so much bigger. So, the small radio is the lesser of two evils.
- No seatback pocket behind the driver's seat. Really? Did you save that much manufacturing cost by denying my kid a place to put his paper or tablet or whatever else be takes on a trip?

Lots to like. The negatives are nits mostly. Definitely buying one of these come January. (Waiting for tax reasons, and I like to give dealerships time to build up stock; so, I can get the exact car I want at a reasonable price.)

When my wife gets back in town, we'll schedule a test drive and I'll post how that went.
 

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I got to test drive the i grand touring today and agree with your points too. I really like this car and definitely want to test drive the 2.5 model. Surprisingly the new 2.0 engine has more low end torque compared to the 2010 2.0 I had as a rental. I only drove a couple of miles on city streets and didn't get to floor it. Car handled very nicely and ride was pretty smooth and quiet, compared to my current car it's very smooth and very quiet lol Hopefully the S models won't be too rough with the 18" rims. Car has the leatherette seats and they feel soft and very comfortable to sit in. The LCD touchscreen actually doesn't look that bad in person, it's very nicely positioned in eye level.

Happy to report the A/C is really good. Car was parked outside and it was just under 90 degrees so it was very hot inside. Turned on A/C and got cool very fast. Got to the point I had to turn down the fan speed a bit lol
 

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Discussion Starter #3
+1 on the AC. It was over 100 when I tested it and it blew cold quickly and cooled the cabin nicely.

Sounds like your test drive went well. I can't wait to try one out on the road. Sounds like I figured it would be. Mazda seems like they worked hard to refine the ride and quiet down the cabin. You also confirmed that the higher torque at lower rpms vs the previous 2.0 cars is noticable too. I guess it won't impress folks who are pining for the 2.5 or an MS3, but for me, I thought the 2013 touring hatch I test drove earlier this year was fine. So, the '14 should be even better.
 

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I'm curious, the radio placement has gathered many jeers, but what about the CD slot? From pictures it looks like it is behind/in front of the shifter in such a way as to hinder inserting/ejecting a CD...at least with the shifter in park. What did it look like in person? You did confirm what I thought about the radio being quite a reach for the driver....that would annoy, even with steering wheel controls.
 

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If I remember correctly, CD should insert/eject without any problem as there's enough room. I haven't paid much attention to the CD player tho I did notice it being all the way down by the storage area. The whole CD player/radio thing looks too much like an after thought. Not too worry tho, don't think I'll use the CD player. Haven't used a CD in years lol

Another thing I noticed was the sunroof. It's only auto open but no auto close which is kind of disappointing. The 6 has auto open and close. I guess that's what you get for the lower model mazda.
 

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I am def old school when it comes to Cd's. I have to have a physical copy of my favorite music. It's not how I primarily listen to music in my car either, but it has to be functional.

None of this matters too much to me since I went ahead and got a 2013, but I was thinking on waiting for the '14. These interior gripes are some of what made me pull the trigger on the '13. Visibility was also a concern for me with the '14, but you say it is good. I'd still like to see one in person just to compare....
 

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If I remember correctly, CD should insert/eject without any problem as there's enough room. I haven't paid much attention to the CD player tho I did notice it being all the way down by the storage area. The whole CD player/radio thing looks too much like an after thought. Not too worry tho, don't think I'll use the CD player. Haven't used a CD in years lol

Another thing I noticed was the sunroof. It's only auto open but no auto close which is kind of disappointing. The 6 has auto open and close. I guess that's what you get for the lower model mazda.
I load my CDs up with my favorite rated mp3s. I've been recording them all at 200-300 k bits now and they sound great. One CD will hold about 5 hours of music. The Bose system in my 2012 sounds fantastic; I hope they don't fool with it.

The sunroof on my 2012 also doesn't auto close.. you have to hold the button down and wait the couple of seconds for it to close. Also thought it was odd, but not that big a deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
About the CD player... I didn't try to load one. But it looked like there was plenty of space to load and remove them without interference from the shifter; although, I could see a problem if your passenger was changing one and you wanted to shift. That would be the the only problem I see.

Also, seems to me that removing the CD unit might provide the best spot for an aftermarket system. But I didn't measure; so, I can't be sure.
 

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I couldn't agree more with the auto climate controls. I had them in my speed and never used it. Plus it was confusing to use. The manual controls in our 2.5 are so much easier to use.
 

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I couldn't agree more with the auto climate controls. I had them in my speed and never used it. Plus it was confusing to use. The manual controls in our 2.5 are so much easier to use.
I don't like auto climate controls too but good thing you can still adjust it manually. My old maxima had auto air and sometimes it was getting hot and it was still blowing at the lowest speed and I would have to turn up the speed manually lol The 2014 I tested I just set the speed and temperature manually, works fine and the unit looks pretty nice too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I also like the shape of the manual AC controls. You can tell the settings by touch. Never have to take your eyes off the road. The auto AC settings can only be known by looking at the system.
 
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