2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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2014 Mazda 3 S: Helpful Navigation Feature

February 24, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

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.

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2014 Mazda 3: Center-Mounted Tachometer

February 7, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

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.

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2014 Mazda 3: Traffic History Feature

February 6, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

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.

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2014 Mazda 3 S: Range Meter Goes to Zero

January 29, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

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.

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2014 Mazda 3 S: Best Knobs in the Segment

January 28, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

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.

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2014 Mazda 3 S: Heads-Up Display

January 27, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

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.

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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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