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I rented a Mazda 3 2.0L while out in Maui. Of course it lacked the raw power and noise of my MS3 but it was still a joy to drive. It had enough pep even with A/C running fulltime to get me up, down and around and passing folks on the passing lanes. Even drove the Road 2 Hana loop (14 miles of wildly bumpy unpaved road, over 600 hairpin turns, 49 bridge crossings, 128 miles total) with the Bridgestones. I'd never do that in my own car but the MZ3 held up. And when I got back on the smooth sections, zooming at 50 in 25-35 rated roads was probably one of the most fun cruises in my life. Quiet, compliant and more comfortable, I began to wonder if I should let go of my MS3 for something like this.

Then I drove to work this morning in my MS3 and absolved that thought. ;)
 

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that's great! Did you go up to Haleakala? How did it held up? Last time I went there, we drove a rental charger and it held up pretty well..
We stayed in Kihei and didn't have enough time to get up to the Haleakala crater for sunrise. Next time I suppose. At 24k miles when I picked up the car, it already had some noise at full steering lock- presumably a bad CV boot or something worse. I also had the funky fishy smell when I first picked up the car but that disappeared after a day. It was missing cruise control, the sunglass holder and the automatic HVAC but it was still totally comfortable and familiar to drive. I played around with the gear selector feature in the automatic but it's really nothing like a manual and kind of jerked weird if I didn't drive it hard.

The tires are on their last legs, I can't even begin to imagine what state the shocks are in (from various folks doing the Hana loop) but it certainly held up with the 400+ miles or so I put in!

Damn you....but glad that you had fun! Think the MS3 would have been overkill on that road?
Considering the really low speed limits across the island, yeah it would've been overkill. But the MS3 would've been an absolute blast to drive on Piilani highway just before getting to Kaupo. Hardly any straight sections- you're either turning or going up and down small crests. Considering a lot of the underdeveloped areas are single lane roads with blind turns (where you have to honk while at the turn), it would've been downright suicidal to be going as fast as you'd want.
 
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