In this case, we wanted a machine with cargo space, comfort, and connectivity.
Well…we did a thing.
It was unexpected, actually. It was thought about for years. Yet, the idea was written off many times over.
It came about when George Torline informed me that he was pursuing this project. I was taken aback at first. I was also not 100% on board. His sales job on this project certainly helped to understand why we’re doing it.
There will be times when press vehicles will not be scheduled. There will also be times when either of us could use this vehicle for mobility and work-related trips. Therefore, this project vehicle was to fill in the gaps with both of workflows.
Therefore, this project is a vehicle. It has a name: The V&R Machine.
Think about it: A vehicle is actually a machine. Many moving parts as a sum of the whole to get one from point A to points B, C, D, etc. In this case, we wanted a machine with cargo space, comfort, and connectivity. In addition, it also had to be disabled driver and passenger friendly.
George’s requirements were a bit more stringent. He wanted one with a geared transmission, better audio, and other amenities. I get it, a geared transmission has better driving characteristics. Better audio is always a good thing.
As far as vehicle type, George settled in on the compact-intermediate SUV class. The most popular class of vehicle in North America, because why not? Given all of our criteria, we did not have a lot of choice in certain models. And, not everything ticked off the boxes for George.
There was one sticking point in selecting the right compact-intermediate class SUV. After I moved into my new place in Saint Paul, my landlord had a new parking pad set up in the back of the house off of the alleyway. The problem was that the people who did the parking pad did a terrible job of it. That included an apron – the approach from the alley onto the pad – which ended up as a 15-degree incline. Any vehicle being considered for us must clear that apron. Therefore, it made sense that it had to be an SUV at the least. Sedans and coupes were immediately eliminated from consideration.
We drove several vehicles that fit our crieria. One such model was eliminated due to market conditions. The other was simply not to our liking due to quality and reliability records.
It came down to one model. We drove several examples – both new and pre-owned. George wound up taking delivery of a final vehicle. It ticked most of the boxes and was certainly at a more reasonable price.
Let us introduce to you the V&R Machine: A Certified Pre-Owned 2021 Mazda CX-5 Touring with the upgraded Touring Preferred SV (Special Value) Package. Our Machine Gray Metallic vehicle has the black leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a host of standard and upgraded equipment. Among the upgrades were power front seats with driver’s side memory, a power moonroof, and a set of 10 Bose speakers emitting the sound from the Mazda Connect-driven infotainment system.
The odometer reads below 16,000 miles, which is quite good for a vehicle with over two years of prior use. It was a former lease vehicle, that was sold as a Mazda Certified Pre-Owned unit.
The only thing we had done to the vehicle prior to delivery was to swap the tires on the vehicle. Since the original Yokohama Geolandars were quite low of tread life, the dealer swapped them with new Michelin Defender 2 comfort touring tires. We’ll take them.
Granted, our CX-5 is powered by the 187-horsepower Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. The drivetrain also included the six-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. So far, so good!
Like I said, it ticked plenty of boxes. It’s not a sexy thing, but this is a work vehicle. It will help V&R – and both George and I – to do our job.
The name V&R Machine was George’s idea. It came from the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? cartoons from the 1970s on CBS. The crew rode in a psychedelically painted van called the “Mystery Machine.” It could’ve been worse. I would’ve picked the name…
Just to get this out of the way, do not expect us to customize it in any way, shape, or form. Not even change the plates for personalized ones. OK, maybe some V&R stickers and some other decals from our car community friends. Our intention is to let the CX-5 simply blend with the rest of traffic or others in a given parking lot. OK, save for the stickers and such. After all, how many CX-5s have you seen on the road.
To reiterate, this is simply a work vehicle – nothing to show off at car meets or to stunt in front of some crew.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, V&R will be doing plenty of content based on the ownership experience and other related content. When we hit the road in the V&R Machine, we will also chronicle it. There are no immediate plans for any road trips in the V&R Machine currently. When we do, we hope you can also follow along through our social media channels.
We now have a vehicle. One to transport us to wherever we need to be. Something that will be more of a tool that compliments the work we do.
Join us in welcoming our V&R Machine. We look forward to telling its tale to you in the time to come!
DISCLAIMER: This vehicle is the property of Victory & Reseda
All photos by Randy Stern