Reviews

2014 Mazda 3 Walk Around

Although they're roomier than the previous models, both versions of the new 2014 Mazda3 are shorter than the previous generation, the sedan by just over a half inch, the five-door hatchback by 1.8 inches. Reduced overall length and a longer (by 2.4 inches) wheelbase reduce front and rear overhangs, giving the new car a more athletic appearance, enhanced by the raked windshield.

The new fascia on the 2014 Mazda3 discards the ugly plastic smile of the previous version, and the slanted headlamps emphasize the wings of the new grille. The body side panels are prominently sculpted, and the net achievement of the design is exemplary aerodynamic efficiency: a coefficient of drag of 0.26 Cd for the sedan, 0.28 Cd for the five-door. Mazda's optional i-ELOOP system, employing capacitor-based regenerative engine braking and active grille shutters, reduces those numbers to 0.255 and 0.275, respectively, according to the carmaker, and these gains improve EPA fuel economy ratings in the 2.5 hatchback by 1 mpg.

The bottom line: hatchback or sedan, the new Mazda3 continues to be one of the most eye-catching designs in the compact realm.

Interior

The Mazda 3 interior is simple and verges on elegance, especially in the higher trim levels.

Our Mazda 3s Grand Touring five-door, the highest trim level, came with a sporty black interior (almond is also available), tastefully picked out with piano black and a little satin chrome. The leather-trimmed bucket seats were supportive, with generous thigh and torso bolsters, and the additional elbow room of the widened body is appreciated.

Rear-seat legroom makes for comfortable seating for a pair of adult-size people. This can't be said of the center seat, though that's true for all compacts. The hatchback's rear seats fold flat to expand cargo space exponentially.

Mazda3 offers an extensive array of infotainment and connectivity features, via its new MAZDA CONNECT system. Noteworthy under this heading is the new nav system option, whose 7-inch touch screen pops up from the center of the dash, a big improvement over the previous generation. There's also a small pop-up (Active Driving Display) in front of the driver with vital info like vehicle speed, a new approach to head-up displays that works well an undoubtedly costs less to manufacture.

Overall, the new interior exudes quality, versatility and comfort.

Request More Info