August 1, 2014
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.
June 17, 2014
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.
May 21, 2014
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.
May 20, 2014
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.
May 15, 2014
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.
May 14, 2014
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.
March 26, 2014
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.
March 12, 2014
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.
March 10, 2014
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.
March 7, 2014
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.
February 25, 2014
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.
February 21, 2014
When I really like a long-termer, I inevitably revert to nitpicking the little things because everything else works great. File this one under nitpicking.
February 13, 2014
Our new 2014 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring is proving to be very popular. It's always on the go, racking up miles at an impressive rate. Yet, a weekend of intensive Los Angeles freeway driving has us looking elsewhere for a long-haul driving companion.
February 7, 2014
Mazda mounted the 3's tachometer (on "S" trim levels) in the middle. Lesser "i" trim levels use this location for the speedometer. Here, however, there are redundant digital speedometers, one tucked in the bottom right corner of the tach and another on the heads-up display. I prefer engine speed getting priority on any car with sporting intentions.
January 29, 2014
Rather than wimping out at 20 miles like a lot of cars, the Mazda 3's range predictor goes to zero. I'm a just-in-time kind of guy. I like that.
January 28, 2014
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the 2014 Mazda 3's control knobs — the multi-function control and temperature controls — are the most precise knobs in any compact car built today.
Seriously, these knobs have minimal lateral play, offer solid indexing, have a grippy, knurled surface. They look and feel expensive.