Saturday, June 24, 2006

Car Quest: Mazda CX-7

Today I took the family up to Trussville, Ala. to check out Mazda's latest tall crossover SUV wagon thing, the CX-7.

Walking up to the Copper Red Mica ute, I was impressed both by how big it was, yet how small it seemed. Does that make sense? It's tall. It's long. It's wide. But the Mazda stylists gave the beast some curves, some shapes other than rectangles. And, in my opinion, it works.

Stacy, our salesman, showed Christina how to buckle our safety-seated Will into the back while I continued to check out the exterior. At eye level, the metal-flake crimson paint was smooth and shimmering. A closer look revealed darker streaks running through the gloss, which did not lend an air of luxury to the car. In fact, I might even say this car had some major paint flaws. Below the belt line, the paint was not smooth at all, with an obvious orange peel. For a car that costs this much, I expect rock-candy clear.

A turn of the key had the dual chrome-tailpipes burbling and us on our way. The throttle seemed a bit slow. By which I mean I stab the gas and...................get acceleration. An obvious lag between requesting ooomph and getting it. Turbo lag?

I drove mostly using the 6-speed Sport Shift, choosing to somewhat mix my own gears. It made the drive much more fun around the twisty course Stacy chose for us. Brake feel was touchy, but very effective. The four-wheel discs saved the life of one very frightened kitten early in the test. The turbo-4 had good pickup and felt quite powerful once past the lag.

I've read other reviews complaining of the CX-7's jolty ride, and expected something worse than my 1991 Camaro. What we experienced, though was closer to a tightly-sprung BMW SUV. Sure, the bumpy spots moved us around some, but Christina, who sat in back with Will, noted that it wasn't nearly as bad as my PT Cruiser.

Christina pointed the SUV in the opposite direction and took us back to the dealership. She said visibility was pretty good, no major blind spots. But she did complain about the huge A-pillar intruding on her left turns. She also commented on the touchy, but very effective brakes. She didn't experience as much go-lag as I did and didn't think it a problem.

So, all in all, the CX-7 survived and remains on the list as a contender. It's got the space we need as a young family, the luxury we so rightly deserve (right?) and it looks pretty damn cool. However, there are negatives. First, in a total slip of foresight, Mazda did not include an iPod interface or even a line-in plug. That's almost unforgivable in a brand new car. Somewhat below average fuel mileage isn't an instant killer, but that's on premium gas. YIKES! It's also at the tippy top of our price range and somewhat over-indulgent for a couple of fairly-liberal Democrats.

Next we may drive the VW Passat wagon or maybe the Honda Fit or possibly the Subaru Forrester. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sneaker Socks

Christina found these adorable socks for Will at Uncommon Goods.
They came in a pack of multi colors. Very cute...

First Father's Day II

My mom, Mary, and my dad, Q.T., drove over from Mississippi to spend Father's Day with us. Will loved the attention from his grandparents...

Monday, June 19, 2006

My first father's day

Sunday was my first father's day. Will honored me with a special shirt...

Then we had a nice visit from my parents (see accompanying post) and here's how I ended my first Father's Day...

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Since he was born, I've been fascinated by Will's tiniest little details. Like how furry the backs of his ears are. Or just how tiny his fingernails are. So I've been experimenting with how close I can get with our digital. If you're shopping, I recommend the Canon SD500. It's been pretty sweet so far. Here are some closeups I shot this morning...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I've been meaning to take this shot for weeks. Finally got it. I'm just fascinated by Will's hair whorl.

Will's Walking!

No, not really. Just kidding.

But he is advancing rapidly, despite my total lack of blogging the last week or so. Here are some of Will's latest accomplishments:

1. Reaching - Usually quite easy for you (at least when you're sober) but a big leap for Will. Until recently, his arms seemed to flop and flail with no direction. Now he actually moves them toward objects.

2. Grasping - And, when said hands touch said objects, Will grabs them, holds on, and pulls them toward him.

3. Rolling - That's right. At just two months, Will has rolled from his back to his stomach. He doesn't do it often, but enough that we now watch him much more closely on the changing table.

4. Standing - Not by himself, but he will sit up with some help and has then pushed himself up with his legs.

5. Poetry - Somehow Will got hold of a pen and paper (we're blaming one of the cats) and was able to compose some poetry. Let's just say it's not as bad as Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings', but it's bad enough we're discouraging any more.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cute Kid

This is currently my favorite picture of Will. It was taken in Jackson, Miss., just hours before Chris Baker's wedding.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Derek Smith Family

Somehow (I know how, it's just too long to explain here) I found my way to The Derek Smith Family blog. Amazingly, they have a son named Westin who was born 7 weeks ago. Similar to our William, born seven weeks ago Monday.

It's just interesting to peek in on another family and see how very similar their experiences are to ours. Good luck Smiths! I hear it gets both more fun and more difficult here on out.

Will video

Will has discovered movement and color in the last week or so. He's so cute when he tries to talk to the ceiling fan. Or his mobile...

If video above doesn't load, go to this link.

Auto additions

Adding two more vehicles to the list of possible future Tutor family conveyances.

The Mazda CX7 is officially a crossover vehicle but is, uh, about the same size as, uh oh, many midsize SUVs. IMO, it's sleek, sexy and oh so desirable. Unfortunately, it gets about 18 mpg on premium only and is on the far upper end of what we're willing to pay. Will and I drove to Trussville today to check one out. VERY sweet interior. Couldn't drive it due to having Will, though. Maybe next time.

And the other vehicle is the much more practical, economical and liberal Mazda5. It's basically a small minivan/tall wagon. But it looks cool, has lots of interior room (three rows of seats!) and gets about 26 mpg hwy. We drove one back before Will was born and I remember a somewhat favorable impression. No sports car, but nimble for what you get.

Again, we're open to suggestions, opinions, etc.