2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Sojourn to Solvang
August 26, 2010
Suffering from big city burnout (chronic crowds and traffic), my girlfriend and I decided to take a little road trip. The destination? Solvang, CA, which is about 130 miles up the coast (and about 15 miles inland) from Santa Monica. A quaint Danish town located in Santa Ynez wine country, Solvang makes for a nice one-nighter get-away. We sampled Danish pastry, visited the Solvang motorcycle museum and checked out the Gainey vineyard. The long-term car choice was between our two Mazdas; I opted for the MS3.
Follow the jump for notes and pics of the trip.
The 'speed 3 had most of my basic requirements for a road trip vehicle -- firmly supportive seats (especially for my lower back), navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, generous cargo capacity, effortless power and a decent ride. Although its display is rather small, the navi worked fine with clear visual and auditory prompts. We left L.A. at 10 am to minimize traffic and were able to cruise at 70-75 for most of the way up there on the 101. My only notable gripe with the MS3 was the abundance of road noise that had me cranking the stereo's volume to 30 (forget "11"). To be fair, said noise was/is "optimized" via the grooved concrete superslab that makes up much of the freeways around these parts.
The MS3 averaged 24 mpg for the trip, not too bad considering ambient temps were 90 to 105 degrees, the A/C was on if the car was, I enjoyed the curvy parts of the 154 and the EPA highway estimate is 25 mpg.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 16,978 miles