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Having recently ditched my '05 Lexus RX 330 for our long-term 2013 Mazda CX-5, the differences between a used luxury vehicle and a brand-new, non-luxury SUV are becoming more obvious.

It's All About Connection

Before I even left the parking garage to head home on my first day with the car, I paired my iPhone to the Bluetooth-capable Mazda -- a task that was much easier than I anticipated. Less than a minute later, I was calling my husband to tell him I was on my way home. The audio was crystal clear -- something I cannot say for my Lexus. In fact, I turned off my Bluetooth connection in the Lexus because it always sounded like the person on the other end of the line was swimming in the Atlantic. Is this a result of the car being eight years old? Maybe. But I bought it as a certified pre-owned vehicle in '07, and I honestly can't remember ever having a good connection in there. When I pulled into my garage and turned off the engine of the Mazda, I was very happy to see that the call transitioned to my handset without missing a beat. When I got back into the car later that night, it remembered me immediately. Love that. So, while Mazda isn't exactly known for being a luxe brand, easy-to-use and fully functioning in-car technology is one luxury this girl really appreciates.

Power Hungry

As far as power goes, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is slightly lacking. Confession: Until recently, I had never thought twice about a car's performance. I don't think I could have told you what kind of engine my Lexus has, at least not until I realized the Mazda has a significantly less powerful one, and started asking questions around the office. I have to be much more aware of how hard I'm pressing on the gas in the Mazda, specifically when I'm passing other cars or merging onto the highway. To be perfectly honest, it's kind of annoying. So, apparently I like powerful cars -- who knew? I think I took it for granted, since most luxury cars come standard with a pretty powerful engine. If you're like me, you may want to pay a little more attention to this when buying your next car, luxury or not. You'll notice it more than you might think.

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Tara Trompeter is the managing editor of AutoTrader.com's editorial team. A former writer and television producer for Turner Broadcasting, she's trying to blend her love of style and pop culture with the automotive world. Tara lives in Atlanta with her husband and two-year-old daughter.

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