2014 Mazda 3: Performance Testing
July 30, 2014
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.
The following performance numbers were originally published along with our Road Test of the 2014 Mazda 3 that would eventually become our long-termer. We tested it again when it took part in a comparison test against the 2015 VW Golf and it went marginally quicker.
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front engine, Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,488 / 152
Redline (rpm): 6,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 184 @ 5,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 185 @ 3,250
Brake Type (front): 11.61-inch one-piece ventilated with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.43-inch one-piece solid with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink
Tire Size (front): 215/45R18 89W
Tire Size (rear): 215/45R18 89W
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport 5000
Tire Type: All-Season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,038
0-30 (sec): 2.9 (w/TC on 3.1)
0-45 (sec): 5.1 (w/TC on 5.4)
0-60 (sec): 7.8 (w/TC on 8.2)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.6 (w/TC on 7.7)
0-75 (sec): 11.5 w/TC on 11.83)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.8 @ 89.0 (w/TC on 15.9 @ 88.6)
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 126
Slalom (mph): 61.1 w/ESC on
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.80 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 2,250
Acceleration comments: After sampling Drive, Sport Drive, and manual-shift Sport mode, the best results came in Sport Drive because the manual-shift requests aren't registered/don't happen quick enough and result in hitting the rev-limiter. The car responded only a little to a modest amount of wheelspin, gaining about a half-second to 60 mph, but what advantage it had there is effectively erased at the end of the quarter mile. This is a peppy car, but not what I'd call exhilarating or fast.
Braking comments: Only a little bit of nosedive modest pedal-travel despite the pedal feeling firm and consistently confident. The car moved side-to-side a bit with each stop and distances were growing with each successive stop in a typical fade progression. First stop was the shortest of four. These tires don't seem like they can take full advantage of the mechanical system upstream. These are only so-so numbers from an otherwise sporty hatchback.
Slalom: The Mazda 3 has quick reflexes, precise and communicative steering, intuitive behavior at the limit, AND an electronic stability control (ESC) that's calibrated to go to DEFCON 2 in our rapidly transitioning slalom test. Just as the car begins to dance and respond, the ESC believes it's out of control. Some, more advanced systems are lenient so long as the driver's input reveals a skill level commensurate with the attitude of the car.
Skidpad: Here, however, in a steady-state exercise, the ESC is very lenient and intelligent, providing enough of a leash to effectively match feedback and results regardless of it being fully on or fully off. It's interesting that this Mazda 3 s Grand Touring (with its wider tires where one would assume more grip) was outperformed in handling by the Mazda 3 i Grand Touring we last tested. This car has slower slalom speeds and less measured grip on the skidpad.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 8,607 miles