This 2014 Mazda3 tester came in the Soul Red Metallic exterior paint color and it definitely fits the character. There’s one word that can describe the all-new 2014 Mazda3; sporty. Mazda has produced one of the most fun to drive four-door sedans on the planet. This week we are testing the 2014 Mazda3 5-Door hatchback Grand Touring model.
What’s new for 2014?
Mazda didn’t leave anything untouched on the Mazda3 remodel. It’s roomier on the inside with increased interior volume, particularly in the rear seat. Mazda says that torsional rigidity was increased by 30 percent which translates to more agile handling in the corners. And Mazda was able to reduce overall weight in the new Mazda3.
Outside, the new hatchback is visually appealing and Mazda clearly set it apart from others in this compact class. Inside, it gets new instrument clusters, a new dashboard with improved secondary controls in the center stack, and upgraded materials throughout. The front seats are sporty and supportive, and there is a multitude of infotainment features.
Mazda 3s Grand Touring 5-Door, Mazda’s top trim level ($26,495) comes with perforated leather-trim seats; 7-inch touch-screen control; multi-function Command control system; rain-sensing windshield wipers; adaptive auto on/off bi-xenon headlights with auto leveling.
It features a sporty black interior with piano black and satin chrome trim. The leather-trimmed bucket seats were supportive, with generous thigh and torso bolsters, and the additional elbow room of the widened body. Rear-seat legroom has increased and comfortable for two adults. The hatchback’s rear seats fold flat to expand cargo space for carrying large items. I had to transport two wheels and tires, and with the seats down, there was plenty of room.
Out on the road
We couldn’t wait to see what Mazda had done to the driving dynamics of the new Mazda3. This tester came with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, naturally aspirated with direct fuel injection. The 2.5-liter power is increased in the 2014 Mazda3 by 17 horsepower and 17 pound-feet of torque. It comes with 184 hp and 185 lb ft of torque. It came mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. It’s EPA rated at 28/38 mpg city/highway.
The new Mazda3 is exceptionally agile, and was a pleasure to drive up a two-lane twisty mountain road from Morrison to Evergreen. Even though the Mazda3 isn’t the most powerful 5-door, it handles well in the corners and the new rigidity keeps the car planted where you put it. We have construction leading to our house, and we have been rerouted up the mountain around a number a hairpin tight corners. I was thoroughly impressed with the Mazda3’s ability to handle the tight dirt corners. I pushed the 5-door hard and it responded well.
On the highway, the Mazda3 is smooth for a compact car and is a great commuter car in the city. The cabin was fairly quiet on the road at highway speeds. The automatic transmission is a bright spot and was a surprise. The shifts are quick responsive and smooth out on the highway. Mazda included a Sport mode that increases the responsiveness during more spirited driving. Braking performance is good and the pedal feels firm under quick stopping situations. They match the Mazda3’s sporty persona.
In addition to its agility and sporty ride quality, the all-new 2014 Mazda3 stands out in several areas. It comes with improved fuel economy, an upgraded cabin and sporty styling. Mazda have definitely raised the bar in the compact sedan and 5-door hatch segment. If you are looking for a fun-to-drive sporty hatch, the new 2014 Mazda3 5-door needs to be high on your list.
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