New For 2014
The 2014 Mazda 3 is an all-new car.
The compact Mazda 3 is the most popular car from the company from Hiroshima, Japan. When the previous-generation Mazda 3 came on the market, it set a new standard for drivability among small cars from Japan. Perhaps more important, the Mazda 3 also led the compact segment in adapting to buyers who wanted a higher level of standard and optional equipment than had been previously available in the segment. This was a radical step at a time when most carmakers were more interested in building cheap, bare-bones transportation. As a result, the Mazda 3 has become a top choice of people who value fuel efficiency and reliability yet also prefer sophisticated convenience and comfort features as well as spirited performance.
The 2014 Mazda 3 has been completely re-engineered for the new model year. The front-wheel-drive car’s personality has been enhanced with an even greater degree of driving goodness and added safety features that are usually hard to find at this price point.
Available as a four-door sedan (particularly handsome) and a five-door hatchback (particularly useful), the 2014 Mazda 3 has a stout shell built from a high proportion of high-strength steel. More important might be the car’s long wheelbase, which delivers an impressively composed, resilient ride on the highway and predictable, European-style handling when you take the long way home.
There’s a choice between two engines, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 155 hp and a smooth-running, 2.5-liter four that makes 184 hp. A six-speed manual transmission is available for either engine, yet the six-speed automatic is a compelling choice, as special Mazda engineering has combined the smooth shifting and ability to creep in traffic that you expect from a traditional automatic with the responsive shifting and good fuel efficiency that comes from the latest dual-clutch automatics. With the automatic in place, the 2.0-liter engine delivers as much as 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-liter four gets as much as 28/37 mpg.
The 2014 Mazda 3 comes in three trim levels and can be outfitted with enough options that it becomes a less expensive and more fuel-efficient alternative to mid-size sedans. Among these options are a range of safety-oriented technologies, such as adaptive, distance-controlled cruise control; obstruction warning with brake assist; and a rear-view camera plus parking sensors.
- Two-lane handling agility
- Four-lane ride quality
- Convenience and safety features
You won’t like:
- Road noise
- Nav system is best for directions, not maps
- Looks of envy from Toyota Corolla owners
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Kia Forte
- Toyota Corolla