The Mazda3 was introduced in 2003 and quickly became one of Mazda’s most popular vehicles. Over the years the Mazda3 has continued to be sought after particularly by young thrifty drivers. This vehicle by some is considered a compact car that offers up plenty of space for an active lifestyle.
Today, the Mazda3 becomes more luxurious in that it offers plenty of features buyers have asked for on larger, more expensive for vehicles. Features such as full functioning infotainment systems and soft touch surfaces plus sporty driving characteristics are just a few making the 2014 Mazda3 fun and comfortable.
C-segment, which is the size group, vehicles is the largest selling category of vehicles worldwide. And the popularity of the Mazda3 only proves this is also the case here in North America. Mazda estimates the Mazda3 accounts for 40 percent of total Mazda sales here in the United States.
The new 2014 Mazda3 is offered with two basic drive trains yet also comes in a multitude of various trim levels. Mazda folks project there will be just a couple of variations that will prove to be the most popular, but know customers want to select features that best fit their lifestyle and needs.
Two engines are available the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Both can be outfitted with the newly engineered 6-speed automatic but only the 2.0-liter can be coupled to the 6-speed manual. This more basic package seemed to empress more than just me.
We were able to test both versions along wide stretches of San Diego freeways as well as the wonderful back country roads leading up into the Cleveland National Forest near the quaint little village of Julian know for its apple orchards. After the full day of driving we came away with a wide appreciation of the base Mazda3. Coupled to the 6-speed manual the 2.0-liter with its 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft. of torque felt sporty and responsive. Though it may not have as much horsepower and torque as the larger engine combination felt quite adequate at handing us the performance we needed to keep us happy tossing the car through the tight corners of these country roads.
The 2.5-liter felt smooth and powerful and gave satisfying performance. We particularly appreciated the paddle shifters for shifting through the gears in manual mode of the 6-speed automatic. Mazda folks seem to get the fact that most folks do indeed appreciate a more sporty drive even during the arduous commute to and from work. A mere few moments filled with a short bit of sporty driving can help shed the stress of a work day.
Many, actually we can probably say most of us, including the greater majority of automotive media do not know what Mazda’s SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY is or means. So, we went to Mazda and asked for the most complete, yet easy to understand definition. This is what we can away with; SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY is Mazda’s new design and engineering approach meant to increase overall vehicle efficiency, performance and fuel economy, while at the same time reduce emissions. Developed within Mazda Motor headquarters in Japan, SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY includes advanced engineering and manufacturing processes which produce redesigned stronger and lightweight components in the engine, transmission, body and platform structures.
We have seen a major growth in automakers equipping their vehicles from base to up-level models with more and more features in their infotainment systems. Mazda seems to have been able to make their newest system, MAZDA CONNECT, much more user friendly. Owners will be able to gain a basic ability to operate the system quicker. Three main buttons get you to the menus needed to navigate through the programs. A large control knob located on the center console just behind the shifter makes it easy to move between menus and functions. In just a few minutes we were able to feel somewhat familiar with finding the functions we wanted to access. We cannot say that about many other systems available today.
One move Mazda has made with the Mazda3 on their way to making the car more luxurious is offering leatherette seating surfaces rather than real leather. We realize bringing a car to market in the price category the Mazda3 rests is a mixture of tradeoffs. However, we think that leather would have been a better choice. We realize Mazda has offered a car full of features while attempting to keep the price in check.
Saying that, we do have to point out that the MSRP seems to be moving a scosh into the Mazda6 realm, when equipped with most of the features buyers want. However, the base model, at $16,945, is quite nicely equipped for a reasonable price.