2014 – 2015 Mazda Mazda3 Review

hello everyone today we are in sunny San Diego taking a look at the all-new for 2014 mazda3 this has been completely redesigned for the 2014 model year and shares very little with the outgoing Mazda 3 model it’s a very good thing because although the old Mazda 3 was a very good compact car in this segment it wasn’t as exciting as some of its direct competitors that’s all changed for the
2014 model year up front we have an

entirely new design language for the
2014 model year and it incorporates this new Kodo design language from Mazda this front end looks very much like the current generation Mazda 6 a look that I wasn’t exactly sure about when the 6 rolled out but it’s one that I’ve really grown to like it’s dominated by this very large and very vertical Mazda grille right here we have this trim strip that’s chrome and it wraps all the way around the bottom and off to the other side it’s off a lot more attractive than the smiley face at the last generation 3 had our particular
model has the optional hid headlamps

that is kind of an interesting thing to
note because this segment is really going up market HID headlamps are optional on the Mazda 3 but the 2014 Toyota Corolla now includes LED headlamps as standard we have optional active grille shutters down here to help improve fuel economy depending on the version of the Mazda 3 you get and in certain models hidden right behind this Mazda logo is a radar sensor for some of the active collision technologies as well as radar cruise control in the new Mazda 3 overall I think this front end is the most aggressive and most attractive in this segment I find it a lot more interesting to look at than any of the current Japanese competition or even the current
Ford Focus right now we’re taking a look

at the hatchback version of the Mazda 3
there is a sedan version we’re going to pop a picture right in this video so you can see what that looks like on the side profile one of the nice things about the Mazda 3 that I noticed right up front was the overall proportion of the vehicle the hood is fairly long for front-wheel drive car it is longer than the last generation Mazda 3 and proportionally it’s probably the longest of any of its direct competition the front overhang is fairly short for a front-wheel drive car and the distance between the trailing edge of this tire and the leading edge of this door is also fairly large for a front-wheel drive car giving this a more rear-wheel drive car proportion it’s not quite BMW 3-series or BMW x1 of course but I think that the overall profile reminds me an

awful lot of that BMW x1 a lot of

has to do with the the sort of cross trainer or tennis shoe overall shape of the mazda3 hatchback which i think is very attractive also very attractive are these character lines which swoop down from the back and then swoop down across from the front sort of avoiding the slab-sided look that you get in an awful lot of the compact cars most notably the Honda Civic and that Nissan Center which are definitely more boring from every angle than this Mazda 3 Outback the design cues that made the Mazda 3 very unique up front continue around the back with these tail lamps mimicking the headlamps up front and this accent strip going across inside the lamp module mimicking that daytime running lamps are untreatable in the compact sedan segment a lot of that has to do with the way that Mazda is positioning the Mazda 3 it’s not really positioned as a Corolla alternative in some respects because the

model line for the Mazda 3 goes way up
beyond the current Civic or the current toda Corolla this particular model here is about $29,000 and it’s not fully loaded there are models of Mazda 3 that will take you over the $30,000 mark and the current generation Toyota Corolla stops just under $24,000 so this could be seen as a premium compact entry rather than a mass-market compact entry especially in the higher level trims because our Mazda 3 has the optional 2.5 liter engine we have these dual exhaust tips out back if you opted for the base 2-liter engine you’d get hidden exhaust tips that would be located right under this bumper cover for 2014 there are two different engine options there’s a 2-liter SKYACTIV gasoline direct injection engine produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound feet of torque that’s made it to a

standard 6-speed manual transmission or

an optional 6-speed automatic if you want to spend a little bit more cash you can upgrade to the 2.5 liter SKYACTIV direct injection engine produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound feet of torque unfortunately that engine is only mated to the 6-speed automatic transmission which is a very nice transmission but I prefer to row my own front seat comfort depends on which model of Mazda 3 you get base models do not come with a power adjustable driver seat but our model does have that which really improves driver comfort means the seats an awful lot more adjustable than you’ll find in of the current generation Toyota Corollas Honda Civics number those other entries the segments that are manual only we also get adjustable lumbar support which I find very important in any car it makes the Mazda 3 one of the most comfortable seats in this segment it also makes it compete very well with the
near luxury entries like the Buick

Verano and that acura ILX the rear seats
in the Mazda 3 are not as spacious as you would find in the Nissan Sentra or in that new Toyota Corolla remember the Toyota Corolla has grown considerably for 2014 and sitting behind myself in that new 2014 Toyota Corolla I had about 6 inches of legroom left here in the Mazda 3 I only have about 2 to 3 inches of legroom right here if I move over to the right side where the front passenger seat is moved all the way back in its tracks my knees are touching the front of the seat backs that is something to keep in mind if you need a large back seat overall seat comfort is very good these seats are more softly padded than you’d find in that tota Corolla so just something to keep in mind if I move over
to the middle it’s obvious that the hump

in this Mazda 3 is also more pronounced
than you’d find in some of those other entries that means that this middle passenger isn’t going to be quite as comfortable I do have a decent amount of headroom even in our sunroof equipped hatchback the rear armrest in our Mazda 3 features two large cupholders which are notably larger and easier to use than a number of the other competitors in this segment we have rear seats that fold nearly completely flat with that hatchback load floor we’re going take a look around the Mazda 3s cabin right now we have the height adjustable seat belts over there keeping in mind that we are in an almost top-of-the-line Mazda 3 some of these options may not be available on the lower end models right here we have the perforated leather seats leather seats are not optional in most versions of the Mazda 3 only in the very top and trim do you find real cow the other versions all get a fake leather product over here on the dashboard and doors we have soft touch plastics let’s continue all the way across the dashboard I find the shapes overall very pleasing in the Mazda 3 it’s very harmonious when you compare it to something like the new Toyota Corolla or the new rav4 which you know just have very discordant shapes going on with them and I find the dashboard an awful lot better looking than splits in the
current generation Honda Civic with that

dual level – up here we have the
optional 7-inch touchscreen infotainment unit if you don’t opt for this particular unit then you get a smaller unit right here that’s just radio it’s man buttons and a small two-level electro fluorescent display we don’t have access to that but we’ll post a picture right here so you can see what that looks like this reminds me an awful lot of the current generation BMW idrive system I think that’s a good look to go for down here we have the dual zone climate control which is unique in this segment there aren’t very many vehicles that have this pretty much dust the forte and this current generation Mazda 3 we have heated seats up here we have a little warning display there for the passenger we have a single slot CD player there below sport button on our particular model the automatic transmission does have a manual mode with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel this knob right here is the command knob for that infotainment screen this is greatly improved over the previous generation of Mazda infotainment system we’ll go over that in a bit down here we have two large drink holders he’s not adjustable

but they are quite large as you can see

they easily accommodate a large take out style drink you move on back to the center console lift this out of the way we’ll find two USB ports right there you can see one two this is the SD card for the navigation data an auxilary input and this is the only power outlet that’s available right up front close this lid see a fairly decently built armrest with contrasting stitching in our particular model one nice feature is that the release handle for this is all the way around the front so you can grab it from this narrow portion of the front or from the larger portion of the front so it’s easy to open if you’re a driver or passenger if we take a look at the steering wheel this is the same steering wheel that you’ll find in the Mazda 3 we have a little bit of carbon fibre esque trim going on right here on the steering wheel that matches what you’ll find on that gauge hood right up there our particular model has the push button start you can see it right there behind that stock we have cruise control buttons right here on the front if we had radar cruise control on our Mazda 3
there’d be some additional buttons there

and then over on the left we get our
radio control buttons the Mazda 3 scores seven out of ten points in our exclusive trunk comfort index I have the largest roller bag you can care in a domestic flight back here with me so you can see you can fit several of them in the trunk it is notably smaller than the Nissan Sentra’s trunk but we do get a nice trunk closed assist handle which makes it easier to close the trunk one of the biggest changes for the 2014 model year is this all new infotainment system – seven-inch touchscreen LCD with this control knob that’s down here in the center of the dashboard this bears very little resemblance to the system that I disliked in the mazda6 and the current generation cx-5 so if you recall that video I had a lot of negative things to say about that infotainment system but this software and this control unit are completely different than that system so forget everything that you know about the mazda6 is infotainment system as we dive into this one if you don’t care about infotainment just follow the instructions below and skip on over to the drive section everything is
controlled by this command knob right

here in the center of the dashboard but
we also have a touch screen LCD so you can also touch this screen if that’s more convenient for you I really like that option it’s something that not very many manufacturers give you and it’s kind of hit and miss some of the GM vehicles do that some of the Nissan and Infiniti products do it but not all of them I do like the ability to choose those options you know whichever one is easier for you because some people find the knob and joystick down here just a little bit more difficult to use that home button takes you back to this screen this is not a rotating option screen so there’s nothing off the screen that you can choose everything is right there it’s just those five options applications entertainment communication navigation and settings so we’re going to go over these one by one the apps option can be selected by that knob or again by just touching the screen this will give you your HD radio traffic map this does not require a subscription we don’t have anything in our particular area we have the fuel economy monitor which will also give you information
about your ie loop system if your

vehicle is so equipped we have direct
access to our other applications we can hit over to the next screen using this system and see the fuel economy for this drive as well as the average for this drive and then right back to that same fuel economy screen we can go back to the applications tab via that screen go on to maintenance see what needs to be maintained on the vehicle there’s also the ability to vehicle data transfer onto a USB stick so you can get that to your dealer or whoever else we hit the home button we’ll go on to the entertainment system that can also be accessed by this knob right here on the dash that’s a fixed knob right there we have source over here am/fm entertainment it’s all very logical and easy to use especially if you use something like BMWs iDrive we have aha Pandora stitcher radio bluetooth integration dual USB ports right there in the center stack CD player and an auxilary input as well the joystick not only rotates and clicks to enter you can all so go side-to-side to click back we go to the channel list you’ll see XM channels very easy to use going back to our favorites is like presets we have a scan mode we have forward and backward then we have our sound settings right over there we do have the optional center points around system in our particular tester hit back to that music note we can change our audio source down
to the Apple devices connected so we can

see what that takes a look like as you

can see this is considerably faster than previous generations of the system most under believe that mazda6 where if you plugged in a USB device it could take up to 15 minutes before the car started playing that doesn’t happen with this system the system caches all the information so it starts playing immediately on your device and it will remember devices that have been plugged in in the past we have full access to our I devices playlists artists album genre songs etc all voice-command able just like most of the other products in this segment most notably Ford’s my touch over here on the song list you can see what’s in the current playlist that you’re already on hit back again to go back a repeat shuffle you can play more like this that’s dependent on your device and how your device defines what is like this in music forward backward pause etc and again those same sound settings going back to the screen you’ll find Bluetooth Pandora and stitcher in integration these are all fairly self-explanatory they do require a smart phone like this paradise on five in order to work but the systems do integrate very nicely back to the home button we’ll see the communication option is right there any time you’re in an option in the system where you don’t have a device paired it will prompt you if you’d like to pair a device the pairing was very easy on our iPhone and I device as well as Android devices that we tested the system it’s a fairly standard phone interface over there to
click on over to the nav system

we’ll find a much improved nav interface

versus the last generation product as well as you can see zooming in and out on this system is considerably faster than it was in the previous generation clicking the knob again we can find the screen to enter a new destination or here we can find an address navigate home etc we want to click that find the address button we can start by entering one here and this is where touching the screen is easier so for instance if we wanted to spell out a city here in Los Gatos right there and we’ll browse on down to Main Street this is an area where this system surpasses anything currently out there on the market like I Drive that uses a command knob in this fashion because entering an address is just far easier even in something like a Adi MMI system with that little finger scrolling thing this works an awful lot better you can just hit the navigate to button and navigation happens very quickly in the system compared to some of the others we are navigating you no more than five or six hundred miles here for turn 80 miles there so you can see how quickly that was to route to that address the nice thing about the system also is if we’re here in the new destination screen and we’re you know finding a place and we’re filtering by name something like this and we decide that we want to change something about our audio system and we hit the audio button like this we can go
and switch tracks we want to listen to

Taylor Swift now and then when we click

back to the navigation button you’ll notice that we’ve popped right back to where we left off this is very intuitive because computers operate like this so if you’re on your desktop computer and you know your web browsing and you need to go and answer an email and you switch over to your email to answer an email and you switch back to your web browser you expect it to stay where you left off most systems do not do this but this system will it makes it very easy to use compared to some of the other competitors you can enter that nav button to get right back to that navigation screen go to the home button and we can see what’s in our settings in our settings is where you’ll find all of your various vehicle and device settings right here we have clock we have vehicle this is another area where you can toggle up and toggle down the only problem with the system that I did notice is in order to go from this portion of the screen right here to the top portion you toggle to the right for some reason to go to those various tabs rather than just clicking up to the tab and then scrolling across them really very minor comment on that one the system is supposedly also upgradeable so as a Mazda begins to release additional features for the system most notably new apps right over here in this application section they claim that you’ll be able to add those vehicle upgrades they haven’t really said how far that will go

because most vehicles that do allow

upgrades like this seems
those apps never happen or happen very infrequently and then you’re left behind so I don’t expect something terribly different out of Mazda but I do expect you know additional applications to be able to happen right over here they’ve also said that they’re going to open this up to third-party developers so again we’ll see how that really progresses before we go out for a drive let’s take a look at the rubber these are two 1545 r18 tires on of course eighteen inch rims these really help the Mazda 3 handle better than some of the competition that has higher profile rubber and narrower rubber but it does mean that there’s a little bit more cabin noise going on inside the Mazda 3 out on the highway but we’ll talk about that later the Mazda 3 has long been known as the performance and handling alternative in the compact sedan segment and that continues with the 2014 version this sedan has electric power steering just like pretty much everybody else in this segment but Mazda has done a few things to tweak the suspension in this car and make the electric power steering a little bit more engaging the first thing they’ve done is the change we changed the suspension geometry up front in the Mazda 3 allowing there to be more feedback from those front tires to the steering rack and because electric power steering numbs those steering responses they have to increase the inputs that you still get something out of it in the end and the change really does make a difference in the 2014 model even though there is still a little bit of a numb feeling out on the roads and it’s still not as exciting as previous generations of Mazda 3 with hydraulic steering it is

more engaging than anybody else in this
segment and that includes the current generation Ford Focus the ride in the Mazda 3 is a little bit stiffer than you’ll find in the rest of the competition that’s simply a trade-off that needs to be made when it comes to performance and handling in a compact stand it’s not rough however so don’t think of the Mazda 3 as harsh I would just describe it towards the firmer side of most sedans something that I would normally equate with performance luxury stands like BMW or Audi or something along those lines in their relatively mass-market models which are typically stiffer sprung than economy cars or at the mass market segment true to Mazdas mission there is still a manual transmission available in the Mazda 3 but it’s only available with that base 2-liter engine a 2.5 liter engine version that we’re in right now a six-speed Automatic only all the transitions are very nice to drive I don’t think that the six-speed manual is quite as accurate or quite as precise as Honda’s 6-speed manual in the Honda Civic Si but that’s really high praise for any sedan the Civic Si just has a very nice feeling transmission I would rank that above both quite a number of rear-wheel drive transmissions to be honest Honda just has a very nice unit and very nice touch feel but the Mazda 3 is a very close second the 6-speed automatic transmission is essentially the same unit that’s found in the Mazda 6 and has a very nice feel to it as well part of sky actives design and that’s their efficiency technology built into the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 6 is a transmission that uses the torque converter lockup feature quite frequently so unlike most transmissions would spend maybe forty to fifty percent

of their time in torque converter lockup

the transmission in the Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 will spend 80% or more time in lockup mode which makes the transmission feel more like a dual clutch or a manual transmission than you’d find in most normal automatics that’s most obvious when you’re going downhill and you need engine braking because that torque converter is still locked up so there’s a direct mechanical connection between the wheels and the engine rather than going through that fluid converter that makes the transmission and the engine feel much more connected it makes the shifts feel a little bit firmer than you’d find in some of the other transmissions and overall just a little bit more engaging as a result of that transmission design fuel economy is also greatly improved the 2-liter version of the Mazda 3 with the automatic transmission will get 41 miles per gallon on the highway and that is a very high number the average of the Mazda 3 sedans with the 2-liter engine is also right there among the top CVT competitors like the all-new Toyota Corolla as well as the Nissan Sentra all of the other automatic transmission models in this compact sedan segment are all just a little bit below those three
vehicles which are almost tied with one

another at the top end of the fuel

economy market that’s really a big improvement over the previous generation Mazda 3 and real saying something about the SKYACTIV technology in general and its ability to improve performance as well as reduce fuel consumption in terms of absolute performance numbers we scored seven point six seconds from zero to sixty in this 2.5 liter equipped Mazda 3 hatchback with the automatic transmission if you’re in the sedan we expect that time to be just a little bit shorter because the sedan is a hair lighter if you’re in the 2-liter version of the Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback we expect that time to be about a second longer just because that engine isn’t quite as powerful one thing to know is that those times are considerably shorter than the competition most notably the tota Corolla or the Honda Civic if you’re in the top level Kia Forte the performance is relatively similar and if you’re comparing this to something like a Buick Verano or an Acura ILX at the very top end performance isn’t that far off the Acura ILX with the 2.5 liter engine in this Mazda and the 2.4 liter engine in that accurate but the Buick Verano is going to be considerably faster with that 2-liter turbo when it comes to road noise the Mazda 3 score is a little bit better than the outgoing model we ranked 73 decibels in our test at 50 miles an hour on an asphalt road surface that is just a little bit louder than the Acura

ILX or the current generation Honda

Civic it’s about the same as the current 2014 Toyota Corolla of course the differences between most of the entries this segment are about 3 to 4 decibels and that’s really a very small difference between vehicles so that is something to keep in mind they’re all fairly similar when it comes to road noise the Mazda 3 is just a little bit higher than some of the others because of the size of the tires 215 with rubber on this particular vehicle the number of the other vehicles we’ve tested in this segment had smaller rubber and if you get narrower rubber in a car then you’re going to have less road noise because there’s less of a contact patch that’s just something to keep in mind we haven’t had much of an opportunity to test braking in the Mazda 3 but I expect it to score very well based on the low curve weight of the Mazda 3 as well as the fact that we get for corner disc brakes in all versions of the Mazda 3 whereas the base versions of the Toyota Corolla still employ rear drum brakes
which don’t have the same fade

resistance of disc brakes so overall
based on prior performance the Mazda 3 I would say this ranks fairly well but we’ll let you know when we get a chance to review one for a full week and we get to put it through our normal battery of tests including a new 60 to zero test that we plan on doing in all your vehicle’s Mazda has priced the three very aggressively for 2014 the sedan starts just under seventeen thousand dollars and the hatchback is about a two thousand dollar premium in base form over that sedan you do get a few more features in that base hatchback then you do get in the base sedan so do keep that in mind that the real cost difference between the two is just a

little bit smaller than that two

thousand dollars fully loaded a Mazda 3 hatchback ends up over $31,000 which means that the Mazda 3 also crosses over into the entry-level luxury category so you can compare this to something like a Buick Verano or an Acura ILX and I think it actually compares very favorably with the likes of those two vehicles and over $30,000 for Buick Verano doesn’t seem that

abnormal to most Buick buyers honestly when you take a look at the interior of the Mazda 3 the exterior the Mazda 3 and all the options that you can get in the Mazda 3 that you cannot get in an Acura ILX or a Buick Verano then the price is justified in my opinion so where does that place the Mazda 3 in terms of the competition well that’s a very good question I would call this the current leader in the compact sedan segment easily beating the current generation Kia Forte for a number of reasons part of that has to do with the luxury options available in the Mazda 3 but also the handling performance I like the Kia Forte because of its overall value proposition and the overall luxury items on the inside its overall size and style etc but it’s not the best handling or the best feeling vehicle out on the road the former Mazda 3 was the best handling and best feeling vehicle out on the road but it didn’t deliver any of those luxury features that I personally like this new 2014 Mazda 3 however combines all of the features that you can find in the Kia Forte plus a few extra and incredible styling and incredible

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