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...
January 9, 2015
The orange wrench indicating a scheduled service for our 2014 Mazda 3 illuminated again. This marked the third time during its year with us. In addition to the routine oil change and tire rotation, we asked Santa Monica Mazda to investigate a slight pulsation under medium braking and a creaking noise made over bumps. We had a couple of final trips planned and wanted to make sure the car was in tip-top shape before we left town.
December 30, 2014
For the second time in less than 20,000 miles, our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 is in need of a trip to the dealer. A little wrench appeared on the gauge cluster this week and it led me to this service menu on the center touchscreen. This would typically mean a maintenance visit with an oil change and tire rotation but unfortunately, there are some strange noises and vibrations coming from underneath the Mazda that need to be addressed as well.
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.
December 8, 2014
During the month of November, our 2014 Mazda 3 rolled on another 1,622 miles. Roughly 600 of those miles entailed a trip to Las Vegas, where the little Mazda averaged 30.8 mpg. Most of that was steady cruising at 70-75 mph, but there was about an hour and a half's worth of slow-moving traffic for the round trip as well. Regardless, none of the needles budged as the 3's best, worst and average fills stood pat.
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 17, 2014
Our long-term 2014 Mazda 3's Active Driving Display isn't working properly. The unit's translucent screen should rise when the ignition is switched on and then display numerous bits of information including speed, lane-departure warnings, turn-by-turn directions and more. Ours rises but not enough to allow even the shortest of drivers to see the display. Something is wrong with the mechanism that raises and lowers its translucent reflective screen.
November 14, 2014
The 2014 Mazda 3 available navigation system includes some handy information on its map display. In the above photograph, note the speed limit information on the left and the lane information at the top. In terms of the latter, it lets you know which lanes will be continuing on and which turn into an off ramp.
November 13, 2014
Sometimes it's the little things. And with our long-term 2014 Mazda 3 it's more than that. Certainly this car offers one of the best chassis in the segment. But it's the detail work that's often overlooked in the compact class. Here, however, Mazda nails it.
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 11, 2014
With a little over 16,000 miles on the odometer, our 2014 Mazda 3 is starting to show its age. Driving home last night on the admittedly rough 405 freeway here in L.A. our Mazda 3's windshield emitted more than a few noticeable creaks. Nothing terrible, just the occasional sign it's no longer showroom fresh.
November 6, 2014
Our 2014 Mazda 3 got a rest from the roads in October, logging only about 1,000 miles. Most of this was due to more than a week of downtime at the dealer, first to solve our bizarre rattling issue and then to fix a brake dust shield knocked out of whack during the investigation.
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 17, 2014
Recently a friend of mine was checking out Edmunds' long-term 2014 Mazda 3 hatchback. We were waiting in a parking lot for another friend to show up for a hike we were supposed to do, and it was a good opportunity to examine some of the 3's qualities that don't come up every day. One of those was how comfortable we were sitting in back.
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 13, 2014
A few days ago we got an email from Mazda asking us if we'd take our 2014 Mazda 3 to get a software update for the Mazda Connect infotainment/navigation system. We replied that we just had an update that was part of our 15,000-mile service. But apparently an even newer update had just been released.
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?
October 6, 2014
September was a good month for our 2014 Mazda 3. We put on about 1,800 miles, and that included Phil's trip up and back to the Sierra for a hiking trip. Overall, we posted a slightly better fuel economy than what we achieved in prior months.
September 26, 2014
Back in June of this year I wrote about the 2014 Mazda 3, "If you're a driving enthusiast...you might be bummed out that Mazda doesn't offer a manual transmission with this engine. It's a six-speed automatic or nothing."
Well, Mazda's people must have read my update (or, more accurately, were already on the case) and made changes to address the issue. For 2015, Mazda's letting you pick the six-speed manual transmission with the 3i trim level's 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3s trim level's 2.5-liter engine.
Now the question is: Which one to get?
September 23, 2014
It's been about 7,500 miles since we brought our 2014 Mazda 3 in for regular scheduled maintenance. The Mazda bellowed "FEED ME OIL" by way of its little orange wrench lighting up last week. We obliged by taking it to nearby Santa Monica Mazda for its 15,000-mile service.
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 18, 2014
Driving around the city in the 2014 Mazda 3 it's easy to forget how sophisticated the bi-xenon HID lighting system is. But when I was driving down a mountain road near Lone Pine, Calif., it showed how both the directional capability and the leveling feature work together to provide a crisp, clear — and safe — picture of the road ahead.
At first, the moving beams caught me by surprise, as if my eyes were getting jumpy. Then, I grew to like the way that turning the steering wheel gives you a picture of where you want to go, not what you don't want to drive into. The auto-level feature is designed to adjust to road conditions as well as leveling when passengers and cargo are added.
September 16, 2014
My brother, who lives in Denver, Colorado, was car shopping recently and asked what I thought of the 2014 Mazda 3. It's a big hit with the other editors so I relayed this to my brother who went out and bought one.
Ever since then I've wished I had more time in our long term 3 so we could swap impressions about the car. Recently, I set out on a four-day trip to the Sierra (yes, it's singular) and finally got some seat time in the Mazda. Here's one of the first things that struck me.
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).
September 5, 2014
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.
September 4, 2014
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.
August 22, 2014
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.
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.
August 5, 2014
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.
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.
July 29, 2014
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.
July 24, 2014
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.
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.