The long-awaited 2014 Mazda 3 was revealed to the world yesterday, replacing the highly acclaimed, yet increasingly stale version currently on dealer lots. The 3 is all-new, boasting the KODO design language in the exterior, while receiving an also all-new interior, as well as the option of having two four-cylinder engines. The latter will bridge the gap between the sedate daily drivers and the tarted-up hot hatches, coupes, and saloons in its class.
At least until the (rumored) Mazdaspeed version comes out.
In the meantime, here’s the rundown…the exterior is all-new, from the new corporate face that ditches the loathed smile for a far more handsome mug, to the sloped rear glass in the hatch (the saloon should ape its older brother, the Mazda6). A great redesign was critical, as the 3 is the best-selling and most recognizable vehicle in the lineup, while winning numerous awards and comparison tests, having only been bested recently by the (also) all-new Kia Forte.
Overall, it follows the familiar formula of longer, lower, and wider, while being marginally larger. Oddly enough, the hatchback is actually a couple of inches shorter, yet interior space and comfort have been maximized, thanks to employing the latest tricks to squeeze every little bit of room out of the cabin that they possibly could. One particular needed feature is the increased height of the rear seatbacks, in order to prolong passneger comfort.
Up front, The driver-oriented cockpit is capped off by a pop-up screen dubbed the Active Driving Display, showing off all of the important numbers. The main benefit of its location is that it’s in the driver’s line-of-sight, thus minimizing the amount of time that they take their eyes off of the road. Ergonomics played a key role in the layout of the buttons and switches. Designed with being as intuitive as possible, the result is that the driver spends less time with fiddling with them, and more time with their hands on the steering wheel. The driver’s seat cushion is now larger, with the seat back redesigned for a more natural seating position, perfect for those long commutes or road trips. Outward visibility has been increased as well, thanks to the base of the A-pillar is been moved about four inches forward.
Under the bonnet is the availability of the aforementioned four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G engines. Base models will see the familiar two-liter four banger, putting out 155 hp/150 lb ft. of torque. Uplevel models will see the 2.5L engine, with 184hp/185 lb. ft of torque. Transmissions come in two flavours, The SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission, as well as the SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmissions…both come with six speeds. Performance numbers have not been released as of yet, but expect to see them later this year. Its best-in-class handling has been further enhanced, thanks to mechanical improvements and the increased use of lightweight materials.
The combination of SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis results in increased body rigidity, straight-line stability, tire grip, ride comfort, as well as lower body weight. In addition to weighing less, coupled with Mazda’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system, should significantly improve fuel economy, a critical factor in this class. Braking has improved as well, with stopping distances being amongst the best in its class.
A host of safety features are present as well, from things like Lane Departure Warning System, High Beam Control, and Mazda Radar Cruise Control, amongst others. Another key benefit of the SKYACTIV-Body is the ability to absorb impacts from any direction, while minimizing the composure of the body structure. Of course, the usual safety suspects are in place, such as ABS, EBD, DSC, TCS, and TPMS.
Look for additional information on performance, price, and fuel economy to be released closer to the time that the new Mazda3 hits the dealership lots…
Source: Car Fanatics