2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Mazda 3: Exciting Styling

September 12, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Beyond the fact the 2014 Mazda 3 is the driver's car of this segment, I also really like the styling Mazda has going on with this thing. It's the kind of car that gets you excited to drive it even when it's just sitting still in the parking lot. There are lots of nice curves and creases.

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2014 Mazda 3: Yep, Mazda Gets It

September 10, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Want proof Mazda is bent on building cars for enthusiastic drivers, rather than just for those who want to get from A to B? Check out the center-mounted tachometer on the 2014 Mazda 3 S Grand Touring.

Josh Jacquot touched on this back in February. I'm expanding a bit (Josh is a man of few words).

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for August

September 5, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

We put 1,884 miles on our 2014 Mazda 3 during the month of August, burning 67.1 gallons of 87-octane fuel along the way. We averaged 28.1 mpg during that time, which dropped our lifetime average from 29.1 mpg down to 28.9, taking us a little further away from the EPA’s 31-mpg combined fuel economy rating.

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2014 Mazda 3: Dash Creak Is Back

September 4, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Back in May I took our 2014 Mazda 3 to the dealer for its first service and to have a TSB repair performed to eliminate the dash creak. I drove the car last week for the first time since then and it's clear the creak is back. However, since then I've made a discovery.

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2014 Mazda 3: More Should Do This

August 22, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Not only should more automakers adopt the dial-controller interface forward of the armrest, but they should include the volume knob along with it. Every time I drive the 2014 Mazda 3 I'm reminded of this little feature's genius. It's either a testament to advanced ergonomic thinking or just plain laziness (no more needing to reach out and extend for the volume knob). I'm with the former.

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2014 Mazda 3: I Like It

August 19, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I like small feisty cars. I also like big cars. OK, I like cars.

Travis posted recently about how the 2014 Mazda 3 reminds him of his Acura Integra. As the proud owner of a last-gen Integra, I agree in some ways. It's small, sporty, sits low, enjoys a curve, and has the versatility of a hatchback.

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2014 Mazda 3: Head-Up Display Revisited

August 13, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I've spent plenty of miles in the passenger seat of our long-term 2014 Mazda 3, but hardly any time behind the wheel. As I was struggling to find a driving position that allows me to use the Mazda 3's cool head-up display unit without the steering wheel obstructing the view, I came across Dan Edmunds' January post on the same topic. Dan noted some drivers not only need to adjust the seat, but also the angle of the Mazda's head-up display itself.

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2014 Mazda 3: Fuel Economy Update for July

August 5, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

More than 2,000 miles were added to our 2014 Mazda 3 test car's odometer in July, mostly during Jay Kavanagh's San Francisco road trip and during a couple of weeks in Brent Romans' care.

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2014 Mazda 3: Busy Wheel

August 1, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

There's a lot to like about our 2014 Mazda 3. A lot. I'm on record as being a little grumpy on its highway ride, but if you don't spend much time on rain-grooved interslabs, the Mazda 3 is a no-brainer. Driving around town reveals more and better sides to this car. It reminds me a lot of my late '91 Integra. It pulls hard like that old Integra and it's always willing to chirp the tires. I'd like to see factory torque curves on both cars. Old Integra had miles better visibility, though. Also sang better above 6,000 rpm.  

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2014 Mazda 3: Performance Testing

July 30, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Back in January, when our 2014 Mazda 3 S five-door joined our long-term fleet, it marked a huge step forward for the venerable hatchback. Vast improvements took place inside and out, along with a slew of new features that raised the bar for the entire segment.

Even though the Mazda 3 is far more refined than its predecessors, its lively spirit and fun-to-drive nature are solidly intact. For definitive proof, we ran it through our usual battery of tests.

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2014 Mazda 3: Compromises

July 29, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I've apparently become the Lexus demographic. This won't be a fair characterization to the fine folks who build F Sports and actively work to transform the brand's image from floaty to fiery. But as I get older and start chasing kids from my lawn, I'm less tolerant of tightly-wound ride compliance like the 2014 Mazda 3's.

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2014 Mazda 3: Like Our Macan, It Could Really Benefit From Summer Tires

July 24, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Last month, fellow editor Jay Kavanagh observed that our long-term Porsche Macan's handling abilities are tamed by its all-season tires. He recommended making sure to get the summer tires if you're buying a Macan. (You are getting a Porsche, after all.)

It's not the only vehicle in our fleet that could use a set of summer tires, though. I happen to think the same thing about our 2014 Mazda 3.

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2014 Mazda 3: Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Comes In Handy

July 22, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

The 2014 Mazda 3 is unusual in the small car class by offering a large amount of available safety features. Specifically, these are optional driver assistance features: a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic braking for low-speed collision mitigation.

Many small cars offer one or two of these features, but it's rare to have this much available. Our long-term Mazda 3 has all of them except the frontal collision warning and automatic braking. Yet in daily use, the one I appreciate most is the rear cross-traffic alert feature.

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2014 Mazda 3: Daily Life Is Just a Little Better With a Mazda 3

July 18, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Just about every small economy car sold today will get you where you want to go while still being respectably pleasant to drive. They're safe, quick enough to get out of their own way, decently comfortable up front and can be equipped with many of the latest convenience features.

Only a few small affordable cars, however, go beyond this and actually provide an engaging driving experience that helps to make normally mundane trips a little more fun. The 2014 Mazda 3 happens to be one of them.

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2014 Mazda 3: 10,000 Miles So Far

July 16, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Our 2014 Mazda 3 has been steadily racking up the miles and recently achieved 10,000 miles on its odometer. At the time of the milestone there wasn't any fanfare, just me pumping in some gas and then getting back on the road. But that's probably fitting since our little Mazda has been quietly getting the job done since day one.

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2014 Mazda 3: Road Noise

July 14, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

I recently hit the road in our long-term 2014 Mazda 3, running it to San Francisco and back for the holiday weekend. And I'm still a fan.

This trip underscored one area where this car really suffers, though.

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2014 Mazda 3: The Fan Club

July 10, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Seems I'm not the only one on staff who is smitten by our long-term 2014 Mazda 3. At this rate we have enough people to form our own fan club.

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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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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$135 per month*
* Explanation
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