Guy and the Blog was invited on this trip by Mazda to review and drive the MX-5 and CX-5. All accomodations were included, but all opinions are my own.
When you think of an automobile, do you think of it as art? Do you think about all the thought, work, and design that goes into making something like that? While it might not always be the #1 thing that comes to mind, it could be and maybe should be. A car is something that you can touch, feel, and utilize, but it is really something that people connect with. They love their cars, just like they fall in love with them. Most people like the look and feel of their cars before they get into the finer points regarding fuel economy, safety features, and price point. This is all tremendously important, but so is love at first sight. And that takes a lot of thought and a lot of hard work to get right. What I respect the most in just about anything I purchase is a masterful combination of both form and function. Does it work well…awesome. Does it look fantastic…wonderful. Does it feel right…excellent. Does it do all of that…perfect!
I recently had the pleasure of seeing beauty and function working together in harmony out in beautiful southern California on my visit to the fantastic Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa with Mazda to experience the MX-5 Miata and the CX-5.
From the moment I arrived, the stage seemed to set for a great experience. Let’s just say, if you want to set a feeling of luxury, design, and pure enjoyment, there’s hardly a better spot in the world for it then at the Rancho Valencia. The place is stunning, and it all worked perfectly with the fleet of Mazdas parked around the entryway and courtyard. The different models, shapes, sizes, and colors all made perfect sense, looking like they were all very ready to be driven and enjoyed. It was time to get settled, to enjoy the sights, and to have some food and cocktails amongst the autos. I was left to do nothing but have a good time and ponder life…
The next day came up quickly, as I just didn’t want to leave that amazing casitas in the morning. The pitcher of fresh OJ was the kicker, but I had a job to do! And what a day did I have ahead of me. I first learned over breakfast of the amazing history and heritage of Mazda, from it’s roots as a cork company to a company ravaged by world war to a world leader and innovator in the complex art of auto making. The design team was experienced and passionate. They wanted us to really know what Mazda was all about and how it did what it did. The driver was paramount, and so was the balance of performance and beautiful design with roots firmly planted in Hiroshima, Japan.
When this presentation was over, it was time to take the MX-5 and the CX-5 out for a test drive through the majestic hills and windy roads of sun-soaked San Diego. Man, could it get any better than this? I was off, with my GPS navigation set and my perfect little roadster warmed up and ready to rock. Keep in mind, this was the first time I’ve really ever driven a two-seat convertible joy-car like this through mountains and hills. This was a first and I couldn’t wait. The destination for lunch was the Temecula Olive Oil Company, about 90 minutes away. Time to crank up the tunes, put the top down and enjoy!
From the start, the car just seemed right. The look, the feel, the vibe. It hit all the right notes and then some. Seriously, I don’t know if there’s anyone in the world that would not fall in love with this car.
Miata. Roadster. MX-5. Whatever you might want to call it, it’s timless and it’s simply pure, unbridled enjoyment and excitement. The car has been turning heads and raising heart rates since 1989, with this latest installment lighter, smaller, quicker and more nimble than its predecessor. MX-5 has adopted Mazda’s full suite of SKYACTIV Technology and KODO—Soul of Motion design.
The drive and the car could not have been more perfect. The ride there was just fun from start to finish. I wished it would never end, but when it did, I could not have picked a better spot. It was time for olive oil and vinegar tasting then a picture-perfect picnic amongst the vines. The spot was perfect, the oils and vinegars truly amazing, and the lunch was perfection. The entire experience really paired up perfectly with the Mazda philosophy I’ve been hearing about and experiencing. This place was the Mazda MX-5 through and through!
Alas, it was time to leave for my next destination, this time in the Mazda CX-5. The destination this time was the famous Julien Pie Company, for a little afternoon sweet snack. The CX-5 was the perfect crossover SUV, again mixing all that form and function into a great package. The ride is smooth for an SUV, and the inside is pure comfort. The car looks great, too.
From becoming Mazda’s second-fastest vehicle to reach 1 million units to winning the hearts of customers all over the world, the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV has been an unequivocal success for the Mazda brand. It returns all-new for 2017 with hundreds of improvements. The 2017 CX-5 transcends its class with elegant design and a class-above sophistication. Following the RX-VISION concept car that was introduced a year earlier at the Tokyo Motor Show, CX-5 became the first production application of the next iteration KODO—Soul of Motion design ethos. Where the first CX-5 carried strong character lines that ran alongside its body, the second-generation ushered in “reflection-based surfacing,” distilling KODO to show volume through curves and subtlety.
When we returned to the Rancho Valencia, it was time to relax and do some meditation. A cherished practice in Japan, this is also a practice taken very seriously by Mazda in both Japan as well as the US. I can see why, the beauty, calm, and presence of the experience was something that really stuck with me. The group shared some experiences and I could see how it all relates to designing and building amazing machines. Not only did I enjoy my time meditating with Mazda, I’ve since made it a part of my daily life and experience.
After a brief time alone to collect my thoughts from the day’s amazing experiences, it was time for some delicious Mexican fare, tequila tasting, and more insights into Mazda’s philosophy of art and design. We learned even more about the amazing art involved in created the sultry look and feel of the cars. It’s a true art, still sculpted from raw clay with massive skill and passion. The tacos, tequila, and conversation wasn’t too bad either…
The next morning, it was time to leave, but not without one more meditation session. This time outdoors, which made the experience even more powerful. I loved it and it was literally the most perfect way to end this amazing experience. I came away with a huge appreciation for Mazda, their cars, and, perhaps more importantly, the way they do things. It’s a great company that yields great results. I’m a big fan. How can I not be when form and function seem to come together so well in perfect harmony?
To find out more about Mazda, the RX-5, MX-5, and KODO design, please check out: