Everyone drives in L.A. – and the Mazda 6 fit right in.
I’d been to Los Angeles 3 times before my latest trip, but I’d never had to drive there. For this visit, a car was necessary and I was bracing myself for the experience. I picked up the pretty Mazda 6 Grand Touring at the airport and cautiously headed out on the freeway.
Almost everywhere you need to go in L.A. involves getting on a freeway. The roads weave around one another intricately, providing access to all points of the sprawling city. You need to have a good navigation system and be prepared for traffic.
And don’t forget the lingo. It’s THE 405, not ROUTE 405 (like we say back in Jersey)!
Here’s how the Mazda 6 made my L.A. driving experience easier.
Driving like a boss in Beverly Hills
Our first destination was Beverly Hills. The Mazda 6’s 7-inch color touchscreen display was intuitive, but I had a little trouble with the sensitivity of the touch screen. It wasn’t super responsive. The clever dial control in the console was extremely simple to use, however, so I used that more than the touch screen.
There’s a ton to see and do in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, especially if you like movies and TV and music! Our plan was to visit the Paley Center to see an exhibit based on the TV show American Horror Story. There were costumes and props from the show.
This is one of my daughter’s and my husband’s favorite shows. I like it, but some of the gory, scary stuff is a little too much for me. I still enjoyed the exhibit, but more importantly loved seeing my daughter so excited and happy.
After the exhibit, we had a nice lunch and drove around the area. I felt pretty chic cruising down Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard! I couldn’t get photos while I was driving and we didn’t have any luck finding street parking in Beverly Hills, but my daughter got this shot out the back window as we drove down Rodeo Drive.
Next we headed toward Hollywood for another American Horror Story sighting – fans of the show may recognize this house from season one – Murder House! It’s the real-life Rosenheim Mansion in Los Angeles.
Time to face the music, err- traffic!
We headed back to our hotel in Laguna Hills, CA in rush hour traffic. Yes, it’s as bad as they show it in the movie La-La Land.
I was thankful my husband drove that leg of the trip. And with the driver’s seat offering two memory positions, we didn’t have to worry about getting it just right each time we switched drivers.
Some other features that really came in handy were blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. I was especially wowed by Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support, although I was glad I never had to utilize this safety feature! Smart City Brake Support is specifically designed to function in a city environment. It only activates at speeds under 20 mph. A windshield-mounted laser can sense when a car is in front of you. If a collision risk is detected and evasive action is not taken by the driver, the brake system delivers maximum braking power. As the brakes are applied engine output is also reduced to lesson the severity of the impact.
Getting to Disneyland was a piece of cake!
Our trip also took us to Anaheim for a visit to Disneyland. We had a 20-minute drive up I-5 with no traffic early on Sunday morning. We let the wind blow in through the sunroof, cranked up the tunes, and really felt that California vibe! My teen daughter had plenty of room in the backseat and was happy to have the USB port to keep her phone charged.
We only had one day in Disneyland, so we arrived before the gates opened at 8am. We made a beeline to Radiator Springs Racers, the ride we most wanted to experience, and got a fast pass. Then we were able to ride 2 more rides before returning to Racers. We explored Cars Land and the CA Adventure side of Disneyland.
At mid-day, we enjoyed lunch at Wine Country Trattoria. This is my best Disney tip – make lunch reservations. The menu is about the same and the prices are cheaper. Plus you can take a nice break mid-day and cool off when the park is busiest and hottest.
We nearly closed down Disneyland, but we were exhausted by about 10pm. We headed back to our hotel and I admit to falling asleep in the comfortable leather-trimmed passenger seat of the Mazda 6.
Who this car is for
- Singles, couples or families of four or less
- Empty nesters who want to downsize
- Drivers who want a sporty driving experience without the sports car price
What it costs
- Base price: $30,695
- Optional Equipment (cargo mat, gray paint, door sill trim plates,) $600
- Premium package (grille shutters, shifter led accent lighting, bright finish interior trim, nappa leather trimmed upholstery, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel) $2590
- Price of the model we drove: $34,530
Mazda 6’s best road trip features
Some of my favorite features of the Mazda 6 Grand Touring include:
- The Mazda-exclusive Skyactiv technology and G-Vectoring control, offering enhanced steering response – great for faster-moving traffic in L.A.
- Beautiful leather-trimmed sport seats
- 8-way power adjusted driver’s seat with lumbar support and two memory positions
- 6-way power adjusted passenger seat
- Heads-up display
- Smart city brake support
- Lane departure warning
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Dual-zone climate control
- 7” touchscreen display with rearview camera
- USB audio input
The 2017 Mazda 6 Grand Touring was safe, comfortable, and capable on the freeways of Los Angeles. I’m happy to have had this beautiful sedan for my first L.A. driving experience!
Here’s our California road trip playlist:
Our trip through Southern California included all the iconic landmarks, from Disney to Rodeo Drive. Here’s what we listened to.
Disclosure: The Mazda 6 was provided to my for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.