January 9, 2015
Our 2014 Mazda 3's one-year anniversary was fast approaching with the sporty compact still 1,000 miles shy of the 20,000 we strive to achieve for all our new long-term vehicles. I quickly mapped out a route that would get me to the finish line. I've always wanted to take a long route to Las Vegas, but I typically drive with three or more passengers, and convincing everyone to double the time it takes to reach a destination isn't really an option. I brought my girlfriend along with the intention of taking her out for dinner somewhere nice. At Meat Master Mark Takahashi's suggestion, I made reservations at Mario Batali's Palazzo restaurant, Carnevino. With visions of prosciutto dancing in our heads, we headed out...
December 23, 2014
It's the right size. It looks great inside and out. It comes as a hatchback, if you like that sort of thing (which I do). It's frugal, but also spunky. It's well built with quality materials. It can carry a decent load. It satisfies with engaging handling, yet still rides smoothly.
It is the 2014 Mazda 3, and I'm a big fan.
This I have known and appreciated since it arrived here a year ago. But new cars come in through the front door for testing and evaluation all the time. Week-long road trips, dirt road excursions and towing needs have drawn me away to larger, more utilitarian vehicles.
Today I had an errand to run 50 miles away from home and the office. The Mazda 3 fit the bill perfectly and made the trip as enjoyable as ever. After I got home I headed out once more to get a haircut and the odometer rolled over to 20,000 miles as I pulled up to the curb. It could just as well have been 2,000 miles. It doesn't drive or feel any different than it did when it was new.
December 17, 2014
Recently, I was sent to Napa Valley to drive the new Nissan Murano. Rather than take a short flight up, I decided to drive. As we're nearing the end of the term with our 2014 Mazda 3 and we needed some miles to get us closer to the 20,000-mile mark, it was the obvious choice.
November 26, 2014
After a 13-hour work day I like walking into a dusty parking garage and finding our 2014 Mazda 3 waiting for me. This car makes me smile after a long day.
I like the way it looks. I like the way it feels. It's not just transportation. Any car would get me home. The Mazda 3 changes my mood. It's a happy place.
November 12, 2014
I had the chance recently to drive our 2014 Mazda 3 within the same 24-hour period as its two generational predecessors. They weren't extensive drives, nor did I thrash anything about, but it really is an impressive evolution that has occurred over the course of 10 years.
November 3, 2014
Last we left our 2014 Mazda 3, there was a crazy noise coming from the front left suspension. We dropped it off at the dealer (that's what warranties are for) and had you take your best guess at the cause while we waited.
It's fixed and nobody was even close.
October 24, 2014
This is what I get for trying to enjoy the weather and driving with my windows down.
Driving down the absurdly unkempt Wilshire Blvd here in Los Angeles, our 2014 Mazda 3 sounded like it was being followed by a dryer with a fork in it.
October 15, 2014
"Claudine, this is a momentous occasion. I need your phone." This was me talking to my wife as were driving in Edmunds' long-term 2014 Mazda 3 on our way to a pumpkin patch with our kids in back.
"Why?" she replied.
"We've hit 15,000 miles! I need a photo."
"Where's your camera?"
"I, umm, left it in my backpack. Which is in the trunk."
She just sighed and rolled her eyes. Yes, it's a glamorous life being the spouse of an (often forgetful) automotive journalist.
October 9, 2014
It was very close to four years ago that I had a grand time driving Edmunds' red long-term 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 on some winding roads in the Sierra National Forest north of Los Angeles. That MS3 was a fun little car.
Even though we've had plenty of Mazdas in our fleet over the years (including the MS3), our 2014 Mazda 3 is the car that I like best and would be most willing to own.
October 8, 2014
Let's just say that you've been reading our fantastic collection of updates about our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 and you've decided to buy a Mazda 3 for yourself. But then you might be wondering: Which style (or trim level) should I buy?
September 19, 2014
The subject of this update is about the lack of storage spaces around the driver's seat in the 2014 Mazda 3. But since a photo proving my point is so dull, I'm putting up this more entertaining shot of the very beginning of U.S. Route 6 in Bishop, Calif., which stretches to the tip of Cape Cod. You may also be amazed and interested to learn that Route 6 is also known as the "Grand Army of the Republic Highway" in honor of Civil War Veterans.
Now, back to the topic at hand.
September 12, 2014
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.
September 10, 2014
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).
August 19, 2014
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.
August 13, 2014
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.
July 22, 2014
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.
July 18, 2014
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.
July 16, 2014
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.
July 14, 2014
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.
July 10, 2014
July 09, 2014
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?
June 24, 2014
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.
June 16, 2014
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.
May 4, 2014
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.
April 1, 2014
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.
March 24, 2014
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.
March 21, 2014
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.
March 14, 2014
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.
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 24, 2014
Our 2014 Mazda 3 Grand Touring has a navigation system that offers the guidance assistance you'd expect. But it offers one related feature that isn't very common, and it does this even when no navigation route has been input, when no actual route guidance is going on.
It points out the name of the upcoming cross-street and displays it at the top of the screen for a few seconds.
This cross-street notification is great for those times when you know where you are in basic terms but would like confirmation that the street you're looking for is coming up. It basically "reads" the street signs to you and displays them as text before you're close enough to see and read them for yourself.
I found this to be pretty handy when I first noticed it, particularly at night, but it's even better than that.
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.
February 6, 2014
I'm a fan of real-time traffic information even if it only tells me what I already know. The allure of hope is always enough to make me look at a screen. So I was impressed to discover the traffic history feature on our 2014 Mazda 3.
Though I'm yet to read about its specifics, it's easy enough to understand that that this feature gives an average of the traffic history for the specific time you're asking, a good thing to know for the commute you don't usually take.
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.
January 27, 2014
The "s" versions of the 2014 Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback are distinguished from their "i" counterparts by a more-powerful 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine instead of the 155-horsepower 2.0-liter motor.
There's no obvious external badging that sets them apart. One sure way to tell at a glance is to look at the top of the dash for a heads-up display; the Mazda3 S comes standard with one, the Mazda3 i does not. It can't be added as an option, either, so this method can be used to positively identify the engine under the hood of a given 2014 Mazda 3 sedan or hatch you might be looking at.
Mazda calls their heads-up display by the name Active Driving Display, and it's a pretty slick piece. Fire the engine and it pivots into position from its dash-top recess and begins displaying a digital speed readout. The numerals are easy to see (they appear larger in real life than they do in these photos) but they don't intrude on the view ahead one bit.
And when the navigation system is actively providing guidance, next-turn direction and distance-to-turn information appears alongside speed when such changes in direction are coming soon.