All New 2014 Mazda3 It's A Game Changer


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)
New 2014 Mazda3


2014 Mazda3 Drive and Review

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor – New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

Mid-September brings baseball playoffs and Team Mazda has had a good season. Home run standouts for Mazda this year are the CX-5 compact SUV and the all-new Mazda6 mid-size sedan. In short, on the playing field of Mazda retail stores these two vehicles are sold very quickly. Dealerships could sell more if they had more.

And now it looks like there will be another home run for Team Mazda with the all-new 2014 Mazda3 compact four-door. Available as a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback, this new Mazda3 is at dealerships now.

The Mazda3 has been Mazda’s biggest selling model. Since its debut in 2003 more than 3.5 million have been sold around the world. The U.S. is the first market to get the all-new version.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2014 Mazda3 sedan has a starting MSRP of $16,045 and the 5-door starts at $18,945. The Mazda3 is an engaging car. It’s not simply an appliance to transport you from point to point. And, just because it’s a compact don’t think of it as just a basic car. The equipment offered on the all-new Mazda3 is innovative and often only found on luxury brands. It has many segment-firsts. The compact car segment is changing rapidly to bring drivers very well equipped cars that are loaded with features.

Mazda3 is offered in four trim levels – SV (sedan only), Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

In a recent day of test driving the 2014 Mazda3 I experienced the 5-door with the 184HP, Skyactiv-G 2.5L engine and 6-speed automatic and also the 4-door sedan with the 155HP, Skyactiv-G 2.0L engine and 6-speed automatic. The 2.0L engine also can be had with a 6-speed manual if you prefer working with three pedals. It will save you about $1050 too. Mazda says the 6-speed manual will be coming at a later date mated to the 2.5L engine.

The Mazda3 has a very high fun-to-drive quotient while delivering the all-too-important good real world fuel economy that drivers want today. EPA test fuel economy for i sedans is estimated at 29 city/41 highway/33 combined mpg (6MT) and 30 city/41 highway34 combined mpg (6AT). All five-door i models are rated at 29 city/40 highway/33 combined mpg with a manual transmission and 30 city/40 highway/33 combined mpg when equipped with an automatic. The more powerful SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine is reserved for s models, which are available only as Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. EPA test estimated fuel economy for the s-designated sedan is 28 city/39 highway/32 combined mpg or 28 city/39 highway/32 combined mpg when equipped with i-ELOOP. Five-doors are estimated to achieve 27 city/37 highway/31 combined mpg or 28 city/38 highway/32 combined mpg with i-ELOOP.

i-ELOOP is a capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system that reduces real world fuel consumption. Active grille shutters are also used to reduce aerodynamic drag and thus help reduce fuel consumption.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2014 Mazda3 is lower and leaner now sitting on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, yet the sedan is 0.6 inches shorter in overall length at 180.3 inches. The five-door extends to a smaller 175.6 inches, a savings of 1.8 inches from the previous model. With a height of 57.3 inches and a width of 70.7 inches, the Mazda3 reduces its overall height by 0.6 inches and gains 1.6 inches in width, all while retaining similar headroom space and offering more rear legroom. The rear seatbacks were lengthened nearly 2.0 inches for added passenger comfort. Front and rear shoulder room also was increased – 2.3 inches to 57.2 inches in front, 0.4 inches to 54.4 inches in the second row.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

Over about 4 hours and 200 miles of driving both my driving partner and I never felt fatigued and appreciated the good support and comfort from the front seats.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2014 Mazda3 is the first vehicle to feature Mazda’s all-new Active Driving Display, a clear pop-up panel that is vertically mounted behind the instrument cluster hood to provide vehicle speed, navigation directions and other pertinent driving information safely and directly within the driver’s line of sight. This feature not only decreases the amount of time a driver is focused away from the road ahead but the virtual information display being located beyond the instrument panel falls in line with where a driver’s eyes would naturally be looking. The Active Driving Display automatically folds back into a hidden position when the ignition is shut off.

As I said, the Mazda3 is an engaging car to drive and the driver-oriented cockpit has each control and function from the arrangement of switches and knobs to the physical location of driving controls, such as the shifter, specifically placed with intuitive utility in mind. The less time spent focusing on adjusting switches and tapping on-screen touch-display commands, the more time a driver is engaged in the act of driving.

All new for Mazda vehicles and being launched with the 2014 Mazda3 is a new HMI (Human Machine Interface) approach and MAZDA CONNECT, a next-generation infotainment system. Based on the head-up cockpit concept, the new HMI system aims to help drivers maintain proper posture, concentrate on the road and drive more safely, even while handling larger amounts of data.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

I hear a lot of complaints today and also experience myself a blind spot at the A-pillar, that are required to be somewhat hefty in this day for roof crush resistance. On the new Mazda3, the A-pillars are repositioned 3.9 inches rearward and the outside mirrors are mounted onto the doors instead of placement being at the base of the A-pillar post. This design allows for an expanded scope of visibility when looking outward.

I mentioned that the all-new Mazda3 has a number of segment-first features. One is Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) that helps prevent or soften impact with the vehicles ahead when traveling at speeds under 19mph by reducing brake pedal travel and then applying the brakes. Also, Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) determines the difference in speed and distance separating a Mazda3 from the vehicle ahead and automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance.

Mazda didn’t follow the industry norm of benchmarking competitors but instead benchmarked premium segment vehicles.


New 2014 Mazda3  (select to view enlarged photo)

More details, a breakdown of equipment by model, and complete specifications for the all-new 2014 Mazda3 can be found at www.mazdausa.com. If you want to compare to other compact segment cars you can do that right here on www.theautochannel.com.

2014 Mazda3: the new compact MVP.

Larry Nutson

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