2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Mazda 3: Windshield Washers Serviced

July 09, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

One day recently, the windshield washers in our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 refused to wash the associated windshield.

Instead of being deposited on the windshield, the washing agent would collect in a puddle beneath the car. Great for keeping the pavement hydrated; suboptimal when it comes to having an optically transparent windshield.

Cue ominous music?

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for June

July 07, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Our 2014 Mazda 3 travelled 1,100 miles during the month of June and increased its lifetime average by 0.2 mpg.

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2014 Mazda 3: A Sport Button That Actually Works

June 27, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Plenty of cars have "sport" modes these days, but not all of them are worth bothering with. They typically promise a heightened sense of urgency on the part of the engine and transmission through a change to their electronic programming.

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2014 Mazda 3: The Bike Fits Easily

June 25, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Here's another reason to like the 2014 Mazda 3: Order it as a hatchback and it's simple to throw things like a 29er mountain bike in the back.

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2014 Mazda 3: Piling on the Praise

June 24, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Recently, after what I thought had been a friendly discussion at work, I was informed that I had been "piling on," making the situation worse instead of better.

So I won't exactly be shocked if I'm accused of piling on yet again after this update on the 2014 Mazda 3 Hatchback. Because, like several other editors, I truly like this car.

With its sharp steering, composed handling, quick-reacting transmission and well-bolstered seats, the Mazda 3 drives unlike anything else in the economy compact class.

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2014 Mazda 3: Automatic Transmission's Manual Mode Works Well

June 23, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

We selected the "s" trim level for our 2014 Mazda 3, which means we got the upgraded 2.5-liter engine good for 184 horsepower. As Ed Hellwig previously commented, it's worth the extra cost given its stronger power and minimal fuel economy drop.

If you're a driving enthusiast, however, you might be bummed out that Mazda doesn't offer a manual transmission with this engine. It's a six-speed automatic or nothing. The good news for those car guys and car gals, at least, is that this automatic works quite well, particularly in its manual shifting mode.

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2014 Mazda 3: 39 MPG on a Highway Drive

June 19, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

In our last fuel economy update for the 2014 Mazda 3 we noted the car's lifetime average so far: 28.9 mpg. It's an OK number, but we've been doing a lot of urban driving these past 8,000 miles. I wanted to know what our 3 could achieve in a more theoretical sense.

Early on with our 3, we did record one fill that resulted in 41 mpg. But it's worth noting that we filled up after driving just 80 miles on that trip. It'd be nice to back this number up with a little verification.

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2014 Mazda 3: Child Safety Seat Installation

June 17, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I have two small children and am constantly wrangling child safety seats in and out of Edmunds long-term cars. Since I really like our 2014 Mazda 3, I was curious to find out how well the 3 would be for family duty and child safety seats. The top photo shows my main setup at this point: a Recaro booster seat and a Britax Marathon reversible child safety seat.

Installing the Recaro in a car is rarely a problem, and that was true here as well. Trying out the Britax seat was also straightforward in its front-facing position. The 3's rear seat bottoms do have some contouring to them, but I was able to use a towel to get the seat's base flat and aligned properly. The 3's rear seatbacks are angled in such a way that the Britax fit just about perfectly. Another bonus is that the rear headrests are easy to remove.

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2014 Mazda 3: More Than Just Basic Transportation

June 16, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

If you're shopping for a small economy car, you've no doubt found that there are plenty of choices. Almost all of them are likely to meet your expectations for practicality, fuel economy, performance and safety.

But what I like about our 2014 Mazda 3. is that it goes beyond just meeting my expectations.

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2014 Mazda 3: Easy-To-Use Technology Interface

June 13, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I really like the technology interface found in our 2014 Mazda 3. It has what I consider to be an ideal setup of both a touchscreen and a multi-use controller knob.

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update For May

June 4, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

May was a pretty normal month for our 2014 Mazda 3. We put on about 1,600 miles and posted fuel economy similar to what we achieved in prior months.

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2014 Mazda 3: Serious Seats

May 21, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Our 2014 Mazda 3's front seats mean business. They're not your usual economy car chairs. Check out those bolsters. And though they're comfortable enough, I wouldn't describe them as soft. Being full leather makes them a little more slippery than I'd prefer when cornering hard. Mazda could have fixed that the same way it did on the last-generation Mazdaspeed3.

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2014 Mazda 3: Useful Cargo Space, Sort of

May 20, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Last week, I had a few big boxes to ship with long, fragile car parts inside. Both boxes were 70 inches long by 12 inches high and 12 inches wide and I needed something to haul them in. So when the sign-out sheet came around and our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback was available, I thought, "Perfect, a hatchback. That'll haul my stuff." Getting the boxes to fit though, wasn't as easy as I expected.

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2014 Mazda 3: First Service, TSB

May 16, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I took our 2014 Mazda 3 to Mazda of Orange last week for its first service which included an oil change, tire rotation and curing of the windshield creak, a known issue handled via a technical service bulletin.

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2014 Mazda 3: Plenty of Plugs

May 15, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Our 2014 Mazda 3 has enough plugs to satisfy even the most device-heavy travelers. In total there are two USB plugs, one aux jack and one 12-volt outlet in the center console. I like that Mazda locates the plugs in the center console, too. It's cleaner.

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2014 Mazda 3: Securing a Flat Tire

May 14, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Turns out the folks over at Mazda think of everything. I'm a big proponent of securing heavy cargo so it doesn't fly around in an accident. And loads don't come much heavier in a passenger car than a wheel and tire.  Our 2014 Mazda 3 has the right equipment for the job.

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2014 Mazda 3: Larger Engine Worth the Extra Cost

May 13, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

When it comes to choosing which version of the 2014 Mazda 3 you want, one of the biggest decisions is whether to stick with the base 2.0-liter, four-cylinder or upgrade to the larger, 2.5-liter version.

For small hatchbacks like the 3, the extra power isn't always worth the reduction in mileage. In this case, however, I think the 2.5-liter engine is the better choice.

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2014 Mazda 3: Eighteen-Inch Wheels Fit Easily

May 12, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Our 2014 Mazda 3 easily fit four 18-inch Porsche wheels, remnants from a cross-country road trip, into the rear cargo area. Just drop the second row seatbacks to create a large, flat-load floor and slide them in. We didn't even need to remove the cargo cover clipped to the rear hatch. Hatchbacks are great.

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 8, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

It was a busy month of weekly test cars here at the office so our long-term Mazda 3 didn't get as many miles on it as usual. Those who did get behind the wheel clearly enjoyed the powerful 2.5-liter engine as the mileage figures dipped below 30 mpg on several of the tanks.

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2014 Mazda 3: May the 4th Be With You

May 4, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Yes, it's that time of year again. May the Fourth, the unofficial Star Wars Day, where geeks like me unite and Magrath rolls his eyes in disgust. This year, I'm only posting one, mostly because I can't think of other candidates in our long-term fleet.

Click on through to read more about this protocol vehicle and feel free to comment or tweet me with your ideas or your own creations.

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2014 Mazda 3: It's Got Spunk

April 14, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Despite it being a noisy tapping machine, I like driving our 2014 Mazda 3. I've always had a fondness for sporty hatchbacks and I don't mind the Mazda 3's firmer ride. I'll put up with some noise over a wishy-washy soft ride any day.

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 3, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

We drove our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 nearly 1,000 miles in March and the lifetime average fuel economy continued to climb toward the EPA combined estimate of 31 mpg (27 city/37 highway).

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2014 Mazda 3: 5,000-Mile Mark

April 1, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Not a big surprise here. Our 2014 Mazda 3 has crossed the 5,000-mile mark after just over two months in the long-term fleet. It's already a staff favorite thanks to its sharp handling, well-trimmed interior and overall usefulness.

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2014 Mazda 3: Americans Like Sedans

March 26, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Behold. The empty cargo bay of the 2014 Mazda 3 S. I loaded a shallow cabinet about three feet tall, six cardboard boxes full of books, and a handful of other loose knickknacks in here earlier. You didn't want to see the photo. Seriously. Looked like I was living out of the car.

When I finally cleared the hold, I stood back and stared. I decided a wagon/hatchback/truck bed will always have a place in my life. They will be a prerequisite before any coupes or roadsters are considered. They just make too much sense.

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2014 Mazda 3: A Place for Everything

March 25, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

And everything in its place.

There's not a lot of nook-and-cranny storage in the Mazda 3. A cavity molded into each front door panel holds an oversize bottle of water. There's a narrow box under the armrest, a sliver of flat space ahead of the shifter and a glovebox. It's enough, but we've grown accustomed to more (cue the chorus of "but it's a driver's car!").

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2014 Mazda 3: From 19 to 27

March 24, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

When I think of small hatchbacks like the 2014 Mazda 3, I think spunky, fun, convenient, and cheap.

Well, depending on how you equip your Mazda 3 the price can swell. The starting price of the base Mazda 3 five-door is in the upper $19s. But our Grand Touring long-termer is full of features and stickers for $27,585.

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2014 Mazda 3: Tapping Noises

March 21, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

A couple of weeks ago Mike Magrath mentioned squeaking noises coming from our long-term 2014 Mazda 3.

I drove this car for the first time last night. As I was slowly making my way along the freeway at about 20 mph, I noticed tapping noises. They seemed to be coming from under my feet, behind the steering column and from the passenger door.

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2014 Mazda 3: The License Plate

March 14, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

One of the new 2014 Mazda 3's many virtues is its sharp styling, especially at the front end. Unfortunately, should you not live in Arizona, Indiana, Florida or 16 other like-minded states (plus five Canadian provinces/territories and Puerto Rico), your pretty new Mazda 3 will be besmirched by a ridiculously placed front license plate.

Mazda certainly isn't alone in this folly, but how does any carmaker design a car without taking into account the front license plate? It's not like Japan, Europe or other global markets go without them, and only Californians (to my knowledge) take their chances by ignoring front plate laws to maintain their cars' pristine visages.

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2014 Mazda 3 S: Heated Seats Stay On

March 12, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

Our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 S is a Grand Touring model, which means it has heated seats. And no matter how many times I turned the car on and off this weekend, the heated seats stayed set to their highest level. Just turn the seat heaters on once and leave them that way. If I left them in the middle or lowest setting, that was exactly where they'd be when I returned to the 3.

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2014 Mazda 3 S: Driver-Oriented Interior Layout

March 10, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

The driver-oriented interior layout in our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 S is excellent. Mazda press material says that "each control and function has been specifically placed with intuitive utility in mind." After my first weekend in our Mazda 3, I'm inclined to agree.

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2014 Mazda 3: Squeaks

March 7, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Drive our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 on anything other than perfect pavement (or initiate a really hard turn) and one thing stands out: This thing's got some squeaks.

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 6, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

In January we announced we'd been averaging 28.4 mpg compared to the EPA's rating of 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway). We put just over 1,500 miles on our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 in February. Did that do anything to move the MPG needle?

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2014 Mazda 3: Head-Up Display Stubbornness

February 25, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

For those people who find head-up displays distracting, redundant or just plain dumb (or all of the above (*raises hand*), you won't find solace in our long-term 2014 Mazda 3.

Mazda calls its head-up display an "Active Driving Display." ADD. I kid you not. Dan Edmunds doesn't seem to mind it. Me, the first thing I'm looking for when I get into a head-up display-equipped car is the "off" button.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Mazda Mazda3 in VA is:

$161 per month*
* Explanation
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