I sink back into the driver’s seat of the Mazda3 and speed forward as the light turns green along Wilshire Boulevard. Before starting the engine I adjusted the manual lumbar support and the leather-trimmed sports seat now perfectly matches the curve of my spine. I’m leaned back and relaxed.
Like everyone else in Los Angeles I’m in a hurry, trying to make it to a networking event at the Beverley Hills Montage on time. Yet as I weave around cars I feel a sense of calm, the vehicle’s blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems alerting me if I get too close to any vehicles. These systems serve as an extra set of eyes for me and help me relax.
During the past three months that I’ve been living in Los Angeles I’ve become accustomed to the height of my CRV, which admittedly gives me the advantage of increased visibility on the highways where I do most of my driving, commuting to and from work.
I’m much lower to the ground in the Mazda3 and surprised to find the decrease in height gives me a new feeling of oneness with the road. The Mazda3 may be a sedan, but it drives like a sports car. As I press on along Wilshire I feel a new sense of joy in driving, each acceleration and turn visceral.
The interior of the vehicle is as sleek as they come, all features finished in a classic black. Red accents on the driving display dashboards give the interior an extra aesthetic enhancement that makes me feel as if James Bond should bee behind the wheel, not me.
In the center of the dashboard there’s a 7-inch color touch screen display that shows entertainment, a backup camera and driving directions. It’s higher than I’ve seen in a vehicle before and seems perfectly positioned for optimal visibility. There’s mounted controls on the steering wheel and the radio can also be controlled using a wheel on the center armrest.
The exterior design of the Mazda3 is as sleek as the interior, and the vehicle I am driving is soul red metallic. The color is trendy and I know I stand out as I change lanes.
The Mazda3 is above all sleek and driving it I feel sleek too, which is a useful feeling to overcome me as I pull into the valet of the Beverly Hills Montage, one of LA’s most elegant hotels.
After that drive I feel sleek and I feel confident, which is admittedly something I haven’t been feeling often lately. Moving to Los Angeles from anywhere would be a big change, but moving from the jungle of Costa Rica, my new life here couldn’t be more different. It’s come with a lot of “I don’t knows,” awkward moments and faking it, hoping those around me won’t be able to see that I’m feeling anything but self assured.
But the Mazda3 is like your favorite pair of black pumps or that red dress that hugs your curves perfectly – it’s a little leg up that doesn’t change who I am but makes me feel that who I am is alright. It’s a vehicle that helps me look the part in front of this prestigious hotel.
I swing open the door, stick my black and silver stiletto out the pavement and swing my body out of the vehicle with a newfound swagger I didn’t have when I left the office.
The event goes smoothly and I leave the Montage just as the sun is setting, following Wilshire all the way down to my home in Santa Monica. I may not be able to call myself a local yet, but by now I’ve learned at least enough to be able to find my way home without a GPS.
I flip through the radio stations, sample a few before settling on 53 Chill, one of the Sirius XM stations that I don’t get to listen to in my own vehicle.
It hits so deep, I closed my eyes and I just took off running
I turned around and saw the look on your face
So I stayed, stayed
As darkness takes hold the futuristic red lights of the interior come on and the breezy voice of Kygo and airy dance beats drift through the Bose ® 9-speaker centerpoint audio system. Inside the car is another world – my own personal dance floor where I can be who I aspire to be.
I follow Wilshire all the way home with a newfound understanding of why some people like cars so much. Cars can give you such a special feeling, and the feeling I get in the Mazda3 – a sense of otherworldly space and cool confidence – is more than welcome to sweep me away.