2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Traffic-Friendly Clutch
October 28, 2010
Last night, the streets and highways around our Santa Monica offices were a mess. A truck driver had a medical emergency at the wheel and plowed into 18 cars on the 405 Freeway. On the other side of the same highway, there was yet another pileup. Surface streets were clogged as a result and I was stuck in the Mazdaspeed 3. Back in March, I noted how I disliked the MS3's touchy clutch, but I'd like to revise my position on this particular subject.
Chalking it up to acclimation or muscle memory, I've made peace with the Mazdaspeed's clutch takeup. Having the engagement point so close to the floor proved an asset in bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper traffic. It meant that my leg didn't have to travel as much to nudge it forward and the effort itself was fairly light in this range.
It took me about two hours to travel the 7 miles to get home. That made it the third worst commute, behind the President's visit back in August and when a massive crane fell across the same stretch of the 405 back in 2007. Next time, I'm taking a motorcycle home.
Then again, it's still not as bad as some of the traffic snarls in China or Moscow. The picture to the left looks like the place automotive journalists would be sent off to in Dante's Inferno.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor