Car Shopping, part 2

On part 2 of our voyage to dealerships to find a car that could fit three humans and a double bass (without completely emptying my bank account), we tried the Toyota Matrix and the Mazda Mazda2.

Toyota Matrix

Having earlier struck out on finding a new Matrix at a dealership, we tried a used model. I think it was a 2010. I don’t know if there are significant changes for the current or upcoming model year. (If you just have to know, check

The bass fit on the “60” side of the folding rear seats, not only standing up, but even on it’s back. That is somewhat unusual, in my experience. There’s a reasonable bit of space left for some other equipment, as well. Of course the bass also fit on its side. But, too bad, it could not fit in the “40” side of the split, even when on its side–that would have been quite handy.

The seatbacks folded down to make quite a flat surface, probably very handy when packing for other purposes.

Projection of the scroll into the driver’s space was minimal, although it’s possible that it could be irritating on a longer drive.

We took the Matrix out for a spin. In the end, it was not a car that we were fully comfortable with. The slope of the front hood was hard for us to get used to… it just fell away such that one couldn’t really tell where the front of the car was when parallel parking.

Mazda Mazda2

After trying the Matrix, we were standing in the dealership’s main floor near a Mazda2. It wasn’t a car that we had thought of putting in our consideration set. But I was there with my bass, and one of the salesman walked by and practically dared us to try it. He thought he was joking with us, but I took the challenge.

Lo and behold, it fit. It fit just about the same way the bass used to fit in my Volkswagen Golf. Of course, it fit easily with both sides of the rear seat folded down. It also fit on its side with just the “60” side folded down. And in that position, the bridge faced away from the rear-seat passenger and any other equipment that might be stowed. In my opinion, that’s a good thing, as other gear shifting in the back would not hit the bridge.

Projection into the driver’s area is considerable, there’s no doubt about that. The Mazda2 is a smaller car than any of the others we tried. But as I said, I used to put this bass in a VW Golf, and this is exactly how it fit. From the picture, you might think that the scroll is very much in the driver’s way, but in practice, it is not. The peg box is actually so far forward that it does not impinge on the driver’s freedom of movement.

Granted, there is not a lot of room for additional gear, if one assumes three humans. But that is pretty rare for us, so it’s not a worry. That day when I’m playing a jazz gig (requiring an amplifier) and bringing my wife and daughter along, well, maybe I’ll just buy a smaller amp.

The Winner … for us … Mazda2

As illustrated by this and the previous car shopping posts (I’ve linked to it three times! go there!!) the fit of my bass was our primary concern. Others played a role: my wife refuses to drive a black, gray, white or silver car (“too boring!”) and I support her. We also had been looking to save some money by buying used and financing through a credit union of which I am a member.

I didn't park it next to the fire hydrant! And there's the old Subaru in the background

But in the end, when we discovered that Mazda was offering 0% 60-month financing on new Mazda2s, and that our local dealer had several in Aquatic Blue Mica and Spirited Green Metallic, we decided to go for a brand new Mazda Mazda2. After a longer-then-we-would-have-liked* negotiation and paperwork session, we drove home in our new car.

* Longer than we would have chosen, but far from being a horror story. I do recommend Autobarn Evanston for an overall good shopping experience. But don’t do your final shopping–at any car dealer–on a Saturday morning, if you can avoid it!


3 Responses to “Car Shopping, part 2”

  1. […] Now added: Part 2 of our car shopping journey. […]

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