Mazda Adventure Rally: Days 1 and 2

If you aren’t familiar with the Mazda Adventure Rally, let me fill you in. For the past three years, Mazda has been organizing a rally that gets various media teams to vie for points by completing various challenges over the course of several days. The team with the most points wins a sizeable sum of money for the charity of their choice.

This is the first year that The Car Guide is taking part. Our team of two includes our content coordinator Marie-France Rock, and me. If we win the $10,000 prize, we’ll be sending the cheque to the Starlight Foundation, which helps families with sick kids.

Day 1
Right off the bat, we were surprised by the vehicles used for the rally. Last year, Mazda turned to the old-generation MX-5. So why didn’t they bring in the new one this year?

Instead, we were given a CX-3 for our adventure, and I had to admit I was skeptical. I’d never driven this vehicle more than five kilometres.

The first challenge was pretty easy: Find the vehicle, which was hidden somewhere in Vancouver Airport’s multi-level parking garage. It was a pretty easy thing to do, but then—lo and behold!—one of the exit lanes was closed.

Next up: Scouring Vancouver for unique coffee shops and picking up coffee cups to bring back as evidence. This was a lot easier said than done, and the judges didn’t accept our choices from Subway, Starbucks and Mac’s. This set us back, right from Day 1.

The rest of the day was pretty chill. We drove up to the superb Olympic Village in Whistler, with a stop in Squamish to learn more about the aboriginal community behind the town’s name.

Day 2 – A very busy day!
The first order of the day was heading out of Whistler on Highway 99, one of the most technical public roads in the world!

Then we took the 97, followed by some bucolic mountain passes. The desert-like views were beyond description. No words or even photos can do justice to the nature out there. We found ourselves sucked into our seats, humbled by our own insignificance.

In this remote area, we were asked to spot certain things and answer questions on some of the weird stuff we came across on our journey. We had to go slowly, as there were sharp rocks threatening to puncture our tires, which weren’t designed for this type of outing.

To give you an idea just how far we were from civilization, we had a can of bear spray in the vehicle. One of the teams actually came face-to-face with one. The bear came away unscathed, but the vehicle now needs a new front end!

Once our mountain adventure was finished, we took some more conventional roads and headed toward Kamloops, where most of the Day 3 activities were scheduled to take place.

A word about the CX-3
I was surprised by how much I liked the CX-3! I never expected a sub-compact SUV with a 2.0-litre engine to be so versatile. Granted, the engine isn’t overly powerful, so you can’t ask it to sprint up steep hills.

But the vehicle’s chassis is remarkable. Even in tight corners, weight is transferred from one side to the other impeccably. The steering offers good feedback and the four-wheel drive system proved excellent on the off-road trails we spent hours exploring.