Marcia and I will be picking up a new Family Truckster this afternoon, going with a 2020 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Edition. We’ve owned and been really happy with a Mazda 3 Hatchback for about five years now, but for our recent trip out west, we needed a bit more hauling space, so we rented a standard-sized SUV and put about 4,000 miles of hard driving on it. It was actually quite a comfortable experience in several ways, as the extra size and height felt better on the highway at the prevalent speeds in that wide-open part of the country, the newer safety features were helpful and appreciated, and the higher clearance and all-wheel-drive were reassuring when we were doing gravel road rambles en route to hikes. Also, as a tall gentleman of a certain age, I noted that I could get in and out of the larger, higher car without making as many Dad Noises as are typical for me with our smaller, low-slung car. Ahem.
Around the time that we left on our westward adventure, our local Mazda dealer (where we bought the hatchback) sent us an email saying they were looking for 2015 Mazda 3’s for trade-in, so we started poking around to see if that made sense for us. As it turned out, the CX-5 is one of the highest rated cars in its class, with a reasonable price tag to boot. We took it for test spins, and it had all of the benefits of our rental SUV, plus the familiar cabin configuration of our current Mazda. We got a good trade-in deal for our well-maintained and fully paid-off 2015 hatchback, so it was pretty easy to pull the trigger and step up to a more Western-friendly vehicle this weekend. We also booked our household goods move to Arizona (leaving Iowa on October 22) during the past week, so those are two steps closer to the next chapter in our life, which feels good and exciting. Moving onward, with bigger wheels!