2014 Mazda3 has been completely redesigned for
this model year.
idea that bad things happen in threes is embedded in our
cultural psyche. But hold on a minute.
that Mazda has unveiled its third-generation of the
Mazda3 for 2014. And that Mazda has sold more than 3
million Mazda3s worldwide. Oh, and the combined mileage
figure this year? Yep, 33 mpg. That sounds like pretty
good reasoning to say good things sometimes happen in
never mind that the Page 1 designer at The Miami Herald
just bought a 3, and that the photo editor just closed
on a 3 hatch (and this guy shops as intensely as I do).
important, itís about a fresh look, more power with
improved fuel efficiency. Itís about crisp handling, a
refined interior and this available hatchback version
that adds function plus is great-looking, too.
new 3i has a wheelbase that is 2.4 inches longer and 1.6
inches wider, and itís lower, too. It comes with the
new and aggressive grille design found on other Mazdas.
No more of that goofy grin.
3i models are powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
that gets 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque,
more than enough for a brisk ride ó especially with a
six-speed manual tranny. Zero to 60 takes around 8
you seek something quicker and even quieter, and can
afford a $3,000-plus increase, go for the 2.5-liter
engine. Youíll get an extra 29 horses, and there is
only a slight difference in fuel economy.
engines employ Mazdaís SkyActiv technology, which
offers variable-valve timing and direct injection.
optional six-speed automatic is a lesson in precision,
with timely and smooth shifts.
the road, the Mazda3 handles like, well, like a Mazda3.
I mean, has anyone ever complained about a Mazdaís
handling? Steering is crisp, and the car is stable on
curves and flat on the corners.
bonus is that the 3 is also a nice cruiser on the
highway. Itís smooth and comfortable, and wind and
road noise are insignificant, so conversation and radio
play comes easy.
the new 3 is classier and more refined this year, and
especially nice for this mid-$20,000 segment. Seating is
decently bolstered for the dynamic drives, and the
adjustable lumbar support reduces back complaints on
seat passengers will be happier, too, with enough
legroom and headroom even for 6-footers.
tightens up in the sedanís trunk, though, offering
just 12.4 cubic feet of space. The hatch is more
accommodating with 20 cubic feet of space behind the
rear seats. Lower those rear seats and it more than
doubles to 47 cubic feet, though vertical space is
limited as with most hatchbacks.
cabin even feels are more luxurious this year. The dash
and interior panels have a rich feel. What appear to be
carbon fiber accents on the Grand Touring trim are
really fakes, but most will never know it.
and controls are easy to use and within easy reach. The
infotainment knob between the front seats makes it a
breeze to navigate, too. Iím bothered only by the
location of the 7-inch touchscreen display on top of the
dash. Makes it seem aftermarket.
comes with the usual suite of safety features ó ABS,
traction and stability control and front-side and
side-curtain air bags ó but also has a nice lineup of
high-tech features often found in higher-priced
vehicles. New this year in a technology package are
lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring plus
rear-view camera with rear cross-traffic alert.
even is a low-speed collision-avoidance system that will
automatically brake the car if the driver doesnít see
the obstacle or vehicle in front.
3 comes in sedan or hatch and each is available in 3i or
3s trims. The base comes only as a sedan and has steel
wheels, but does offer full power accessories and
tilt-telescoping steering wheel.
3i Touring gets 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler,
sport seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options
include sunroof, 7-inch touch-screen display and
9-speaker Bose sound. Move up to the 3i Grand Touring
and get upgraded seats ó not real leather, but an
upgraded vinyl good enough to fool you.
3s group gets sportier with a more powerful engine,
18-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters to take more
control and a head-up display with the driving vitals.
guy on a car forum said three words sum up his new 3:
handsome, fun and tech. Hmmm Ö perhaps good things do
happen in threes.
price, excluding destination charge: $16,945
as tested: $24,635