Friday, July 19, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 Review

I bought a 2014 Mazda CX-5 because of the fuel economy. I drive over 100km a day and I was spending around $450 a month on gas with my 2005 Ford Escape. Switching to the CX-5 has reduced my gas expense to around $300 a month. That $150/month in gas savings reduces my cost of ownership significantly. With an automatic transmission, the CX-5 is rated for 6.0 L/100KM highway and 7.9 L/100KM city. I do a lot of highway driving and get about 680 KM before I have to fill the 56 L tank.

I need the space of a small SUV to carry around things like a bass guitar and amplifier and the CX-5 has plenty of room for that.

The styling is sporty. Clever lines, curves and trim make the CX-5 look more like a car that stands tall than a truck. Several of my friends have asked how I like my new little car. I tell them that it's bigger than my old Ford Escape! It's about 4cm wider and 6cm longer. 

It's very roomy inside. I'm 5' 11" and 250 pounds and I find it very comfortable. The rear seats fold down to expand the cargo space. Unfortunately, they don't fold down flat. That's something I miss from the Escape. The CX-5 doesn't have rear seat cushions that pull out for the seat backs to fold into, so the folded down seats leave a surface that's a little on an incline. If a completely flat cargo area is important to you, then this might not be the right vehicle for you.

The air conditioning could be a little more robust. We've had a heat wave the last few days and it's taken awhile for the interior to cool down. The black interior could also be contributing to that. The sand interior is only available on two colour choices: White on the GX trim and red which is only available on the upgraded GS model.

The convenience package is a $1700 option on the GX that gets you 17" Alloy Wheels, Bluetooth with Audio Profile and steering wheel controls, Privacy glass, Colour display screen, and HD radio. The bluetooth is a nice feature that allows me to stream podcasts and play lists without having to connect with a cable. When I get back in the car and turn it on, the bluetooth picks up where I left off.

Overall, I'm happy with the CX-5. The 155hp engine with 6-speed transmission is more responsive than I thought it would be, but I had set my expectations low for that to begin with. Acceleration is less than I had with my 200hp Ford Escape. But, the tiptronic feature allows you to easily change to manual shifting without the need for a clutch. It allows the driver to take over achieve higher revs before shifting. It's fun to do and it gains back most of the acceleration performance. For me, the moderately lower acceleration is a totally acceptable tradeoff for the vastly increased fuel economy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Aeroplan Backtracks on 7-Year Points Expiration

There is good news for frequent flyers. Aeroplan announced Thursday that it would not implement the 7-year points expiration policy that was slated to begin on Januray 1, 2014. Points will now remain on account, provided the account has at least one qualifying activity in the previous 12 months. A qualifying activity includes accumulating, redeeming, donating, or transferring points. For complete details, see the 12-month expiry policy in the Aeroplan FAQ.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Trendy Outing

The Contact Photography Festival is on all month in Toronto. I went to the Magnum Photos lecture at The Underground in The Drake hotel last night.

Overheard before the lecture: Girl to friend, "I was rolling around in the dirt and a drunk guy with a scabby lip tried to kiss me, but I still couldn't find a picture!"

Man, I've been hanging around with the wrong crowd! Because, that sure sounds like a picture to me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fourteen Inches

It's not very big. It's enough to make do. At least it's colour. But there's no remote, so I have to go to the set to change channels. And because it's one of those, I only get channels two through thirteen. One of them is the TV listings channel. Two are French. One is a local cable channel. So, what I'm saying is, it's a TV no man's land. I can't even get Lost. It's on channels 18 and 20. Don't get them. Argh! Something must be done!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Best Free Advertising Ever

Every time I go to the spam folder in gmail, a link from this site shows up in the web clip.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting

I don't have children. I don't want any. But, I absolutely adore my nieces. So, I was delighted when asked to babysit them for four days while their parents went on their first adults-only vacation since having children. S is four and a half and R is two and a half. They're both at really fun ages.

A couple weeks before the babysitting gig, I was running errands and spotted something I'd never seen in a store before: twisty balloons! You know, the long, thin ones you use to make balloon animals. I just had to get them.

I googled balloon animals and found a site that has videos showing how to make them. V laughed at me. But it's a month later and she's still enjoying her balloon frog.

It turns out that having children is a memory trip. The girls did things I remember doing when I was their age. More than that, I felt like I felt when I did them at their age.

When I dressed R in the mornings, I rolled up her socks and stretched them open with my index fingers so she could get them on easily. It seemed the obvious thing to do. I sat on the floor, she would stand and hold my shoulder, then lift her foot to put the sock on. I had a flashback to my mom putting my socks on that way. Then I remembered what it felt like to be two and have my socks put on. I wasn't imagining what it would be like. I was remembering what it was like. Wow.

The same thing happened when I pushed S on the swing and she tried to swing higher than her shadow. It happened again when she finished her bath. I opened the drain and she covered it with her little fingers and laughed while she tried to stop the water from getting away. It was so much fun. And it was nostalgic. But nostalgia was just the bridge to re-experiencing my youth. It was wonderful.

R makes the happiest sound I've ever heard. I wish I had a recording of it so I could put it on my mp3 player and listen to it whenever I want. You know those moments when you have a realization of something good, or you notice something new that delights you so much you can't be silent and you kind of go "Oh!" When that happens to R, her face brightens, she raises her hands, and she makes a lilting "Ah!" sound. It's a sound of discovery and joy that's childlike pure and makes me feel as joyful as she does. I love that sound!

And now for some practical advice. If you are inexperienced with children and find yourself babysitting, here are some things that will help.

It's important to know how much liquid a diaper will hold. Do a test if you need to. Take a measuring cup of water and fill the diaper. Subtract 10%. Then, schedule the diaper changes and drinks accordingly. You do not want to find yourself with an overflowing diaper in a car seat. Trust me. You really don't.

Parents are diligent about their children's diets. As an uncle or aunt you are allowed, nay required, to take liberties. The children will be missing their parents. They will need comforting and comfort foods. Indulge them. Also, try to ease up on the fiber and encourage more cheese. The kids will love it, and you will have fewer and more manageable poops to deal with. There is time for fiber once the parents return.

Learn a skill that you can have fun with and that can also be used as a distraction if needed. I learned to make balloon animals. The kids loved it. I loved it. Heck, everyone loved it. Even their dad ... until he realized that I had raised the bar and the kids might want more balloon animals after I left. Whoops! I hadn't considered the aftermath of being the best uncle ever. Buwaaaahahahaha!

I love being Uncle Rex.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Heard on Weeds

Nancy: "So, you had nothing to do with that pipe exploding?"

Doug: "That was clearly an act of God."

Nancy: "Well, tell God to watch his back."

Doug: "Nancy, don't anthropomorphize God."