This is the fourth part of a multi-part series. The links below will get you all caught up.

When I was a young girl, I didn’t really have much interest in cars. I enjoyed going to shows to look around at the old cars, but that was pretty much it. I didn’t know much about cars, and I still don’t really, and only reluctantly got my license when I was 16. We had a blue 1990 Oldsmobile Delta Eighty-Eight that I enjoyed driving with my friends, but I would never even think of just driving for the sake of driving.

I never had my own car until I was 25, which was a blue 2002 Toyota Camry LE that I received in 2012 as a wedding gift. Before that I would walk or take the bus most places around the city. My girlfriend at the time (and now wife) had her own car since before we met in 2006. She introduced me to the concept of “going for a drive”.

Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon when I was young we would go on a “Sunday afternoon drive”, but there was always a purpose, a place to go see. This was different. There was no real destination or route in mind, the purpose was to just drive. I would get in the car and she would drive us around for a few hours listening to music or with a couple of friends.

"But the first time I drove outside the city on a curvy coastal road something awakened in me that has never been dormant since."

A couple of years after I had received the Camry, I decided that instead of putting more money into it, I would buy (well lease) my first car. I had already put about $4000 into it at this point, and it still needed about $3000 in additional maintenance, so spending that much more on a 12 year old vehicle didn’t make financial sense to me at the time.

One massive comparison spreadsheet later and the 2014 Mazda3 GX sedan was the winner. It had the most features, the price was better than the comparable base model Corollas/Civics/Lancers etc., and I liked the look of it the best. I liked it when I test drove it, and the only thing I was looking for at the time was that it would get me from point A to point B and also have Bluetooth Phone/Audio and air conditioning.

Driving that car around the city was nothing spectacular. It was very much a point A to point B kind of thing. But the first time I drove outside the city on a curvy coastal road something awakened in me that has never been dormant since.

I was having fun. I was having unintentional fun. I was having fun before I even realized I was having fun. I had never had fun while driving before. Driving was always a boring “how are we not there yet I’m so bored looking at these trees and lines on the road oh my goooooood can we just be done now??” experience. As a passenger I would often fall asleep while in the car, even on very short drives from point A to point B.

"And that’s why I was so disappointed when I originally took the 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD for a test drive. It felt like a betrayal from the very company that ignited this passion in me in the first place."

But this was fun. This gave me joy. My mouth turned into a smile without my permission after every curve in the road. That little Mazda had awakened a love for driving that I never knew or thought I would have. Ever since that day I’ve enjoyed driving, even “just around the city”. Even going from point A to point B, it didn’t matter, I felt different whenever I drove.

My 2014 Mazda3 sedan birthed my love for driving and cars in general, and my 2016 Mazda3 Sport continued it. I dove into learning more about cars, and staying up to date with the latest automotive news and car reviews. I started watching reviews and repair videos on YouTube to learn even more. Last year I even changed my brakes and also just recently helped my father-in-law with his.

Cars are not all of who I am, but they’re important to me nonetheless. They’re a core component of my state of being. And that’s why I was so disappointed when I originally took the 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD for a test drive. It felt like a betrayal from the very company that ignited this passion in me in the first place.

I was excited to drive the new 2021 Mazda3 Sport GT Turbo AWD, but also nervous. What if it failed to deliver in the same way that the 2019 did? Will my continuing love for Mazda slip further again? Would this be another move away from what made me like cars and driving in the first place?

Coming up next:

Other articles in this series:

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Thanks so much for reading ^‿^

Claire

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