The Mazda is proving to be a good choice for our trip. It is spacious (for a small car) comfy, has a moon roof (I’ve wanted one forever!) and is reasonably economical to drive. The factory installed stereo leaves a lot to be desired, with mediocre sound, poor reception, a hard-to-read red display and not-very-intuitive operation, but we have worked around that by adding two new speakers and using our iPods for music. NPR and other radio remains a problem, but oh well… it is all about trade-offs.
One other thing the Mazda lacked was adequate flat space. The dashboard is deep but not flat, ditto the glove compartment. There are plenty of cupholders, but sometimes you need a flat plane. Dan had a brilliant idea the other day. He suggested we make something to set into the open glove compartment, resting on the sides, which would provide that flat space. I noticed a plastic cutting board in a good size, marked down, even, and yesterday, Dan made a template from cardboard and using the band saw, we cut the cutting board to fit the space. When not in use, the board stores neatly into the extra-deep glove box.