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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
June 27, 2014
Plenty of cars have "sport" modes these days, but not all of them are worth bothering with. They typically promise a heightened sense of urgency on the part of the engine and transmission through a change to their electronic programming.
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 23, 2014
We selected the "s" trim level for our 2014 Mazda 3, which means we got the upgraded 2.5-liter engine good for 184 horsepower. As Ed Hellwig previously commented, it's worth the extra cost given its stronger power and minimal fuel economy drop.
If you're a driving enthusiast, however, you might be bummed out that Mazda doesn't offer a manual transmission with this engine. It's a six-speed automatic or nothing. The good news for those car guys and car gals, at least, is that this automatic works quite well, particularly in its manual shifting mode.
May 13, 2014
When it comes to choosing which version of the 2014 Mazda 3 you want, one of the biggest decisions is whether to stick with the base 2.0-liter, four-cylinder or upgrade to the larger, 2.5-liter version.
For small hatchbacks like the 3, the extra power isn't always worth the reduction in mileage. In this case, however, I think the 2.5-liter engine is the better choice.
April 14, 2014
Despite it being a noisy tapping machine, I like driving our 2014 Mazda 3. I've always had a fondness for sporty hatchbacks and I don't mind the Mazda 3's firmer ride. I'll put up with some noise over a wishy-washy soft ride any day.
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 3, 2014
Our new 2014 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring proved to be wildly popular in its first month with us. We piled on the miles, over 2,600 miles in fact. First, we followed proper break-in procedure, then we tested it at the track, and even drove it on the 120-mile Edmunds.com test loop. It's been a busy month.
Rated by the EPA to earn 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway), our average (even after deleting the 31.5 miles of wide-open throttle at the test track) is a disappointing 28.4 mpg. However, it is encouraging that we easily eclipsed the official 37 mpg highway figure with a remarkable 41 mpg stint on our high-biased test loop.
Clearly, the 2014 Mazda 3 can achieve remarkable fuel economy. That is, of course, depending on how it's driven. Here's its fuel log thus far.