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A year-long test of the Mazda 929S

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TOM: When we're not fixing cars or defending ourselves against lawsuits, one of the things we do is test drive new cars. Usually, we get them for a couple of weeks, but once in a while we get one for a long-term test. And we've just completed a year-long test of the Mazda 929S.

RAY: The 929 is a wonderful, five passenger, luxury sedan that we think is under-rated. We drove it for a year, and it started and ran flawlessly every day. During the entire year, it didn't have a single mechanical problem. That's more than I can say for my brother!

TOM: Also, it drives like a dream. It's smooth, it's comfortable, and it holds the road well. In terms of power, I frankly think it has even more horsepower than it needs. I found the basic 929 (without the "S" package) powerful enough for my taste. Regardless, every time I drove the car, I was reminded of how much I liked it.

RAY: It's especially good on the high??way. The car itself is extremely quiet, and with the CD player on, you can't hear anything else. You don't hear trucks roaring or horns blaring. In fact, I found that other drivers had to resort to hand signals to communicate with me (I even learned a few new ones)!

TOM: Even my wife loved it. And and everyone knows, she's an ardent Volvodevotee. No matter what test car is in the driveway, she always chooses her own Volvo. The Mazda 929 (and the Jaguar XJS V-12 convertible) were the sole exceptions to this rule.

RAY: She said she felt safe in the 929. And it does feel solid and predictable. Not only that, but compared with other luxury sedans, the 929 is a bargain. You can get one with leather interior in the low $20's.

TOM: But despite all this, you don't see a whole lot of 929's around. And even if you did, you might not notice them. In terms of styling, the 929 is sort of the three-bedroom-ranch of luxury cars. Perfect, but unexciting. Because of that, it doesn't attract much attention.

RAY: Of course, to some people, that's an advantage. Some people prefer to go unnoticed. For example, if you want a great luxury car, but don't want your ex-spouse to know you're living it up, the 929 is perfect!

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