All-New 2014 Mazda 3 Breaks Cover on Edmunds.com
ADVERTISEMENT

2014 Mazda 3 Breaks Cover

An All-New Generation of the Enthusiast-Favorite Hatchback


ADVERTISEMENT

For years now, ask any auto enthusiast which compact hatchback they'd buy and the Mazda 3 would be the inevitable answer. It's a tribute to the compact Mazda's intrinsic goodness that it's still the answer, as the Mazda 3 you can buy right now is more or less a direct descendant of a car that started life a decade ago.

Enough of that, Mazda declared as it pulled away the cover from the all-new 2014 Mazda 3 today in New York and four other cities around the globe. The 2014 model, going on sale this fall, fronts the brand's expressive Kodo design and gets power from the same direct-injected Skyactiv 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engines Mazda has been spreading throughout its lineup. Those hoping for a Golf-baiting diesel for the new Mazda 3 will have to keep waiting.

Larger in Some Ways, Smaller Overall
Sure, Kodo-themed sheet metal may not be everyone's cup of tea, but most will agree the Mazda 6 and CX-5 are sharp-looking vehicles, so the Kodoed-out 2014 Mazda 3 starts from a solid styling foundation. The five-point grille (no more grinning front) is familial with the Mazda 6 and CX-5 and there's the same kind of sharpness around the headlights and taillights.

The bulgy fenders and sharp body side cut lines reinforce the fact that the new Mazda 3 is a wider car: 1.6 inches to be exact. But before you panic that Mazda's sold out to the family-sedan wannabes, Mazda is quick (but not yet specific) to say the new-generation 2014 Mazda 3 is lighter.

A few of the specifications that Mazda did detail to the press are equally encouraging: Despite a wheelbase stretch of 2.4 inches, overall length for the five-door hatch is chopped by 1.8 inches. The new Mazda 3's wheelbase of 106.3 inches is 2 inches longer than a 2014 Ford Focus and 1.2 inches longer than the 2013 Honda Civic sedan and exactly the same as the 2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan.

Although height is down by 0.6 inch, Mazda claims increases for many interior dimensions, mostly owing to the newfound width. Body rigidity is up by 30 percent and Mazda said newly developed sound-damping material for the dashboard and floor mats also has helped to cut weight while improving refinement.

Familiar Running Gear
No real surprises under the hood, as the 2014 Mazda 3 comes gunning with the well-regarded Skyactiv gasoline four-cylinder engines we know from newer existing models. The 2.0-liter makes 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and remains airy in its torque output of 150 pound-feet.

As with the 2014 CX-5, more satisfaction will be found with the 2.5-liter variant of the Skyactiv four-cylinder, which develops 184 hp at 5,700 rpm and a healthier 185 lb-ft of torque at just 3,250 rpm. Mazda said the new 2.5-liter is 10 percent lighter than the outgoing Mazda 3's 2.5-liter and makes markedly better low- and midrange torque. Even better news is the fact that either engine will be available with the agreeable Skyactiv six-speed manual transmission; a six-speed auto is optional.

As expected, the company isn't yet sharing fuel economy numbers, but the current Mazda 3 already is fitted with the Skyactiv 2.0-liter and six-speed transmissions, so we'd expect something similar — unless there's a drastic weight reduction (early Mazda communications are calling the weight reduction "significant") or the 2014 Mazda 3's i-Eloop regenerative braking is good for some spectacular benefits.

Yes, the new Mazda 3 is the first vehicle equipped with Mazda's i-Eloop ultracapacitor-based system to recover braking energy, a technology Mazda's foreshadowed in recent concept vehicles. Instead of using heavy batteries, braking energy turned to electricity is stored by capacitors in what Mazda claims is a world's first for production cars.

Capacitors reputedly don't wear out and are quicker than batteries to store and release electricity. The i-Eloop system releases its electricity to reduce the engine drain of running the alternator.

Interior Interest
Once again, Mazda is forcing us to reevaluate what works and what doesn't inside the car. Surely the most notable new aspect of the 2014 Mazda 3's interior is the company's take on the use of a head-up display.

Mazda's Active Driving Display is a translucent screen that rises up between the gauge cluster's hood and the windshield, providing driving information, including navigation directions, at a focal point closer to that "where's a driver's eyes are naturally focused."

The gauge cluster itself presents a single central analog gauge with flanking digital displays, à la Ford's MyFord Touch. The markings on the gauge have a three-dimensional effect. Mazda also claims increased comfort for both front and rear seats, with the rears having an additional 2 inches of backrest height.

Mazda also is claiming advances in the 2014 Mazda 3's infotainment interface, which also borrows from head-up display tenets. Information provided on the center stack screen is grouped into organized categories, a setup claimed to allow the driver to better process and prioritize incoming information. The system also will read short e-mail and SMS-based messages, as well as Twitter and Facebook updates that can accept audio responses via Shout.

The new Mazda 3 also will have plenty of previously unavailable safety features, grouped under the umbrella of the newly coined i-Activsense. For the North American market, i-Activsense incorporates now-familiar warnings such as lane-departure and blind-spot monitoring, while also adding rare-for-this-class features like Smart City Brake Support (full automatic braking is possible at speeds of less than 19 mph) and automatic high beam headlight control.

A Mazda on Its Own
This is the first Mazda 3 that owes nothing to Mazda's former partner and part owner Ford. It's a vehicle that the only relatively recently-on-its-own Mazda can't afford to mess up. Not only has the Mazda 3 emerged to be perhaps as much representative of the soul of Mazda as the MX-5 Miata (particularly now that the RX-8 sports car is defunct), the Mazda 3 is in most senses much more crucial, as it is far and away the brand's best-selling model.

Given the generally fine character of the Skyactiv running gear in the current Mazda 3 and CX-5, we expect the same from the new Mazda 3. Historically, Mazda 3s have been the default compact car choice for those who prefer taking backroads instead of freeways to work. If Mazda's hints about lighter weight and a responsive chassis are true (we'll drive the car in a couple of months), the 2014 Mazda 3 may not have any trouble retaining that mantle.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

  • Sooo...as the enthusiastic owner of a first gen 2007 Mazdaspeed 3, who was disappointed of the look of the second gen 'speed 3 but likes the look of this third iteration...what's the word on a 2014 'speed 3? Is a lighter, stiffer, better-looking Mazdaspeed 3 in the pipeline?

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Fantastic, I'll take a 2.0L stick with no options. Should be a lovely little commuter.

  • jmnyc1177 jmnyc1177 Posts:

    Glad to see they went back to the style of itnerior from last generations. That bulbous center stack from the current generation was awful. This interior looks much more refined.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    There's a ton of front overhang, but overall looks pretty good. Most important is the performance of the aforementioned MS3!

  • fortstring fortstring Posts:

    Wow, that certainly looks better than the new Corolla. Do want. Maybe Mazda6's & Mazda3's will eat the market share of the traditional family/compact makers.

  • jpbran jpbran Posts:

    "ask any auto enthusiast which compact hatchback they'd buy and the Mazda 3 would be the inevitable answer." Inevitable? Actually, I'd say the GTI is right up there.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    The GTI is a performance variant, though. This compares to the Golf.

  • tp660 tp660 Posts:

    Did they have to bring the grille down so low? Don't get me wrong, I think it looks great all around and definitely much better than the current generation 3. But unfortunately, I live in a area where front license plates are mandatory and it looks like I would have to mount it on the grille which is going to look stupid. It's too bad they did not keep this in mind when designing it as this is pretty much a deal breaker for me and I'm sure others will feel the same.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    I've been a fan of the handling Mazda offers within the compact commuter class since the Protege of the 1990s. This iteration of the 3 has handsome sheet metal and a classier looking dash than the current generation. The gaping front end is a bit out of proportion. Reduce the height by 1/4 to 1/3 and it would look awesome. I will be interested to see the numbers on the 2.5 engine.... Is it updated with the Skyactiv treatment? It'd be nice to have a "More power!" choice over the base 2.0 that doesn't involve a major step backward in refinement and fuel economy.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    @duck87 Long overhang for crash test numbers? @tp660 Good catch. It is going to look weird with a plate on the front. @darthbimmer Maybe they can fit the proper Skyactiv exhaust manifold in this new car. That should pick up the performance.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    From what I can tell from the pics, it looks great inside and out .... this coming from the former owner of a Protege5 and Audi A3 and current owner of a Focus ST. I love hot hatches, which seems to put me in a definite minority in the U.S.!

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    "For years now, ask any auto enthusiast which compact hatchback they'd buy and the Mazda 3 would be the inevitable answer" BS. That's the rote autojournalist answer, but the Golf and GTI have been highly regarded for some time as well. I really like what I'm seeing in this new 3, though. The powertrains and interior look fantastic, the sheetmetal is no longer an embarrassment. I do hope they addressed the poor rear legroom, though, all the new width in the world won't make that backseat more habitable without it.

  • oldmansi oldmansi Posts:

    This car is looking sharp since they dumped that stupid bozo grin from the grill. Also, with less weight and the 2.5 engine this should make a reasonably quick car. Add to that the already good handling characteristics of the 3 this should be a winner for Mazda. Looking forward to test driving one of these with a 6 speed manual. This could be my next vehicle purchase.

  • unclebrud unclebrud Posts:

    Gorgeous....This is a spot-on redesign and a proper sequel to the '07 3S I have. I will be replacing my '12 Mk3 Focus with a 3 hatch. The only other serious contender (for me) is the Golf/GTI Mk.7. When will the new 3 sedan be intro'd?

  • robs249_ robs249_ Posts:

    I love it!!!!! Now where is the better looking and selling sedan???

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    No word on a mazdaspeed 3? As the owner of a 2010 example I am interested to see how this new 3 works. From the info so far it looks like they have evolved it to become a better car over all. Which is great news. My car as it stands checked most of boxes on my requirements list. But i'd be the first to admit there are some badly thought out aspects such as the tiny nav system with bad maps support. While maybe due to the new little one in my life my next car will have to be something with more room (or maybe not as wife's looking into a SUV for herself). I would still be interested to see what Mazda has in store in the future. Maybe finally the speed 3 will get the AWD it really needs to make use of all it's power? Or maybe like the 6 there simply will no longer be a model with extra power on tap. But that would be sad, cause that would mean the only option for a fun to drive small 4 door would be the even less refined subaru? Or the hit and miss fit and finish of the Focus ST?

  • ks55 ks55 Posts:

    Now if Mazda is really smart they will offer the same (upcoming) 2.2 liter 4cylinder diesel ( with 300 ft/lbs of torque) and 42+mpg. This engine is to soon be offered in the new 14 Mazda 6 as well. I believe they will be . Offer it in a sport version 4 door sedan ( not a fan of the hatch ) and I would get this. The 6 is too big for my needs.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT

New Car Buying Guides

See which cars and trucks our editors recommend

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411