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THE WORLD’S BEST DRIVES

Driving pleasure comes as standard in every Mazda. Mazda asked a panel of experts which roads

they think are worthy of the Japanese marque’s fantastic driving machines. The result is a list of the

very best driving roads the globe has to offer.

BEST HILL­CLIMB: PI­KES PEAK, USA

In numbers: 12.2 miles, 156 corners, altitude gained: 1,438 metres, record climb: 7:57.148 minutes 

 

Home of the annual Pikes Peak international race this massive mountain towers 4,302m above Colorado and the drive to the summit takes an hour for the average driver. “If the views don’t take your breath away, the thin mountain air might just,” says Dan.

BEST MOUN­TAIN PASS: IRO­HA­ZA­KA WIN­DING ROAD, JA­PAN

In numbers: first opened: 1954, altitude gained: 396 metres 

 

Carved into the mountains of the small city Nikko, the 48-hairpin bends of the Irohazaka Winding Road make up one of the most bendy and beautiful drives in the world. “For centuries people would come to Irohazaka for a religious experience. But these days it’s believers in the art of drifting who make the pilgrimage,” says Nik.

BEST COASTAL DRIVE: THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ROAD, NORWAY

In numbers: 5.14 miles, 8 bridges, width: 21 ft, 8 percent maximum gradient 

 

Now immortalised in the latest James Bond movie No Time To Die, this road links a series of islands in spectacular fashion. “It’s a breathtaking blend of stunning natural scenery and civil engineering,” explains Dan. “This road proves humans can make their mark on the world in a way sympathetic with the surroundings.”

BEST CUL­TU­RAL DRI­VE: TAR­GA FLO­RIO ROU­TE, SI­CI­LY

In numbers: 277 miles, first raced: 1906

 

Tracing one of the world’s most legendary races across Sicily is a journey that every auto enthusiast should take. “From 1955 to 1973, the Targa Florio counted towards the World Sports Car Championship. Today you can also drive the “circuit” yourself, tearing through winding mountain passes on the island of Sicily, passing remnants of the illustrious race along the way,” adds Odiel.

 

Best Mazdas for cultural exploration: Diving in and out of villages and zooming around the countryside and hills is just the job for the all-round excellent Mazda CX-3. And the sophisticated stylings of the Mazda3 hatch and sedan, combined with the responsive, spirited performance and impressive fuel economy from the Skyactiv Technology would suit an artistic tour.

 

 

 

 

 

BEST CITY DRIVE: PORTO, PORTUGAL

In numbers: 4.6 miles, lap record: 2:27.53 minutes

 

Driving through this beautiful World Heritage site, it’s hard to believe that Grand Prix racers used to speed through its narrow streets. But they did just that in 1958 and 1960. “Porto is one of my favorite cities,” says Odiel. “It is a city where nothing is necessary, where you can easily enjoy two or three days wandering between the old streets of Ribeira.”

BEST EPIC ROAD TRIP: ROU­TE 66, USA

In numbers: crosses 8 states and 3 time zones, first commissioned:

1926

 

Linking Chicago, Illinois with Santa Monica in California over 2,500 miles is America’s most famous road. “To understand Route 66 is to understand America over the past 100 years. It is a place wholly shaped by the automobile and the people who love, need, and merely tolerate it,” says Jack.

INSPIRATION ON BOARD

Discover what makes Mazda a brand like no other: unique, expressive, individual. We've collected some of the most inspiring content about what goes into our cars as well as where they can take you. Ready to get on board?

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