Sunday, May 25, 2014

2014 Mazda 3: A Small Car With Big Enthusiasm

Packed with efficiency, technology and style; the 2014 Mazda3 shows up not only as a great car, but one that gets itself noticed by experts and car shoppers alike.  Already appearing on the list of Ten Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014 as well as making the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety list as a Top Safety Pick Plus in the Small Car Class for the models equipped with the front crash prevention system the Mazda 3 has a lot to offer anyone looking for a great car at a fair price.

Having undergone a complete redesign the vehicle shows up as a highly engaging and easy to love car.  Special attention was given to adding special highlights such as the available heads-up display, the i-Eloop system which enhances economy, adaptive Radar Cruise Control, and Smart City Braking Support.
The drive in the Mazda 3 is much smoother and easier to handle than ever before.  Offering an additional 2.4 inches to the wheelbase and a wider stance along with the Skyactiv chassis design, stiffer body and highly developed steering and suspension the car soaks in the road like a champ and handles with confidence and great ability.  With two engine offerings, the car can be both fuel efficient and quick with plenty of power from either power plant installed under the hood.

The first engine that is found under the hood is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque.  Quite a boring power offering but this engine is the one to get if fuel efficiency is what’s important offering 29 city/41 hwy mpg for the sedan with the six-speed manual transmission and 30 city/41 hwy mpg for the sedan with the six-speed automatic transmission.  For the hatchback version the fuel economy is only slightly lower for the highway coming in the same in the city.  The highway for both transmissions comes in at 40 mpg.

The second offering for power on the Mazda 3 is the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine offering a good boost in the power numbers to 184 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque.  The fuel economy loss is actually minimal to gain a nice power increase coming in at 28 city/39 hwy mpg for the same automatic transmission in the sedan and 29 city/40 hwy mpg for the automatic transmission with i-Eloop for the sedan.  In the hatchback the city numbers are the same as the sedan, while the highway number change only slightly to 37 mpg for the standard automatic transmission and to 39 mpg for the automatic with i-Eloop installed.  By giving up only a little bit of fuel economy any owner can experience the quickness and power offered by the larger engine which is well worth the extra cost.

Because of the wider stance, this year’s Mazda 3 offers more shoulder room than previous models making it a bit more comfortable to ride in.  Fitted with a much more user-friendly layout than before, the car offers the heads-up Active Driving Display and a high-mounted touch screen to allow the driver control while keeping their eyes on the road ahead.  If a base model is chosen the audio controls are located closer to the sightline of the driver to offer a minimal distraction to the driver.

On the outside the car appears to be in no way a car that should be under $25,000.  With a beastly front face that appears to smile at the road as the car eats up the pavement and strong lines from front to back with just enough curves to look fast on the road, this car is really impressive looking.  Sitting on standard 16-inch wheels that are well designed to add a really nice finishing touch the car can be fitted with up to 18-inch wheels for an even more impressive look.  Higher models can also be fitted with bi-xenon headlights and LED front and rear lighting elements to offer an almost luxury appearance to the lighting package.

For a small car, this one packs a great list of standard features for any owner to enjoy.  Starting with air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, push button starting, a long list of safety features, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, touch screen navigation with a 7.0-inch display, a Bose audio system, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and adaptive front lighting all dependent upon the model chosen.  All three levels of the Mazda 3 offer bi-xenon headlights, shifter paddles, and the heads-up Active Driving Display to assist the driver and are part of why this car is an IIHS award winner.

Although a fairly short list of options is available, just like the standard features it is also dependent on the trim level chosen.  The list does include a power moon roof, Technology Packages, navigation, Bose audio, a color touch screen, auto high-beam control, and a lane departure warning system, Radar cruise control, forward obstruction warning and Smart City Braking Support.  With such a list of even optional safety features it’s no wonder this car won the IIHS award.

Starting out at $17,750 for the iSV Sedan model, the i Sport Hatchback comes in with a starting price below $19,750 offering a great car for a very easy to live with price.  Add all the bells and whistles to this little beauty and the Grand Touring Sedan comes in at $26,600 with the similar hatchback showing up at $27,100, which is still very easy to afford for most budgets, especially when all the added features and safety equipment are considered.  

Overall, the 2014 Mazda 3 offers the owner some driving excitement with a quick and responsive car, enough power to zoom down the interstate or dodge traffic in town and as an IIHS award winner, a very safe car to drive or ride in. As either a great family car or daily commuter the Mazda 3 has a lot to offer any owner.

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