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Here's the impressive looking 2014 Mazda3

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Sexy, curvaceous, bold, thick - yet subtle and downright cool-looking. No, it's not a new RX7/8, it's the brand-new 2014 Mazda3! Using the KODO design ethic used in the Mazda6 and CX-5, the 2014 Mazda3 manages to update its style while avoiding common pitfalls - like bloated grill-work, happy-face styling and an inability to find congruence in the architecture.

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Mazda just released this information.

"With more than 3.5 million vehicles sold globally, the Mazda3 is the brand's best-selling and most recognizable name plate, and its redesign for 2014 shows just how much attention to detail and care we put into this important vehicle," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. "SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and KODO have performed as advertised and received critical acclaim, with even more technologies and materials to be introduced with the 2014 Mazda3. On the heels of the launch of the 2013 CX-5 compact crossover SUV last fall and the 2014 Mazda6 early this year, this is an exciting time for Mazda, and we're only getting started."

Lower and leaner than its predecessor, this third generation Mazda3 shares almost nothing with its older siblings other than a name. All new from the ground up, the 2014 Mazda3 sits on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, yet the five-door is 1.8 inches shorter in length at 175.6 inches. With a height of 57.3 inches and a width of 70.7 inches, the Mazda3 reduces its ceiling by 0.6 inches and gains 1.6 inches in the hips while retaining similar headroom space and offering rear legroom at 35.8 inches. The rear seatbacks are nearly 2.0 inches taller for added passenger comfort. Front and rear shoulder room also has increased to 57.2 and 54.4 inches, respectively. This efficient use of space is wrapped in the increasingly striking dimensions of KODO, Mazda's "Soul of Motion" approach to designs that exude emotional proportions and refined strength." - - MNAO

Mazda reshaped the all new 2014 Mazda3 to to get best in class drag coefficient of (Cd) 0.275. If equipped with the new i-ELOOP system and active grill shutter the 2014 Mazda3 can acheive a Cd of 0.255. ("Mazda's unique i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system employs a capacitor to store electricity generated when the vehicle decelerates. Brake energy regeneration systems improve fuel economy by reducing the inherent parasitic drag of the alternator when possible, to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle under all modes of operation. Unlike other battery-based systems, i-ELOOP, its name derived from "Intelligent Energy Loop," is the world's first capacitor-based system to power all of a vehicle's electrical components.")

The mpg numbers have not been released, but I hear the fuel efficiency will be substantially greater than the current model.

"The interior is no less impressive, starting with the driver-oriented cockpit. The pedals have been laid out symmetrically to the left and right of the driver's center-line with a hinged organ-type accelerator pedal as standard for added safety and comfort. Designed not only to appeal to the senses, each control and function also is specifically placed with intuitive utility in mind. The less time spent focusing on adjusting knobs and tapping touch-screen commands, the more time a driver is engaged with the actual act of driving, being alert to what is on the road ahead and, therefore, being able to react quickly, accurately and safely.

For added precision, the base of the A-pillars have been repositioned 3.9 inches rearward to afford greater range of vision for both the driver and front passenger. The outside mirrors also are mounted onto the doors instead of the base of the A-pillar to expand the scope of visibility when looking over mirrors from the driver's seat.

All-new for Mazda vehicles and being launched with the 2014 Mazda3 will be a next-generation human-machine interface (HMI) system. Based on the heads-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 information. The information used is divided into groups, and an innovative screen layout is employed to let the driver safely balance the primary job of driving with other peripheral information.

The 2014 Mazda3 also is the first vehicle to feature Mazda's all-new Active Driving Display, a clear pop-up panel that displays vehicle speed, navigation directions and other important driving information, and is vertically mounted behind the meter hood. This feature not only places necessary information comfortably in the driver's line-of-sight but also directs the display beyond the instrument panel, more in line with where a driver's eyes are naturally focused. The Active Driving Display panel will automatically fold back into a hidden position when the ignition is shut off." - - MNAO

North America does not get the diesel or a hybrid version of the 2014 Mazda3, but we do get a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine and SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gas engine which is used on the Mazda CX-5 and the all-new Mazda6.

"Both engines feature a new high-tumble-port 4-2-1 exhaust system that increases engine output. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter produces 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 150 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. As compared to the outgoing MZR 2.5-liter engine, the torque output on the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine at low- to mid-range speeds is increased by 10 to 15 percent, and its weight is reduced by 10 percent. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter produces a peak of 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm, both figures are increases of more than 10 percent over the MZR engine.

The 2014 Mazda3 will be available with a choice of the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual and SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmissions. SKYACTIV-MT offers the short, crisp shift pattern reminiscent of the MX-5 Miata. SKYACTIV-Drive achieves a direct shift feel and quick gear changes that contribute to quick acceleration, while maximizing the best features of a direct-shift gearbox and a conventional torque-converter system." - - MNAO

The Fast Lane Car & TFLCar.com are keen on testing the new 2014 Mazda3. I admit to being slightly biased towards most things Mazda. They always inject whimsy and fun in their vehicles, and I find the end products to be more driver-friendly than most.

Plus, I'm a sucker for a sexy face.

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