Mazda has been trying hard for decades to establish their place in the North American and even global auto market. Rotary engines as well as an attempt to launch a luxury sub-brand to compete against Lexus and Infiniti have some less than fruitful endeavours. Mazda has ultimately realized their strength is and should always be devoted to small cars. The difficulty with focusing on the compact vehicle segment for Mazda is the same that all other automakers face in developing compact products. A carmaker has to essentially develop an affordable, compact car that attracts motorists who are not simply looking for the budget-minded vehicle. Documented through the advent of SKYACTIV and KODO design language, Mazda has been etching their name into solid cornerstones for a competitive auto brand. Already seeing the full-extent of Mazda’s new car execution in the Mazda6 and CX-5, the 2014 Mazda3 is next product showcasing their engineering to consumers.
Officially rolling out at several events around the world (including one in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood), the new 2014 Mazda3 premieres weeks after of leaked images. An important model renewal, the compact car accounts for above 57 percent of Mazda’s North America car sales. A sedan and hatchback version of the 2014 Mazda3 will be fresh competition in the highly competitive compact car segment.
Though the car may not look like it, this Mazda3 is a heavily-reworked. Set on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches (2.4 inches longer than the outgoing counterpart), the 2014 hatchback is actually 1.8 inches less in overall length compared to the 2013 car. The roof of the new Mazda3 has also been lowered modestly by 0.6 inches. The lower, longer wheelbase 2014 Mazda3 will have an exceptionally low coefficient of drag posted as 0.255 for the sedan and 0.275 for the five-door hatchback.
Observing the exterior styling, gone is the smiley face front-end treatment replaced with the brand’s KODO design language. Details now give the 2014 Mazda3 a more fluidic appearance. The larger, taller center grille integrating in flow with the highly detailed headlamps is reminiscent to the Mazda6. The rear passenger door windows and the taillights are also in keeping with the design philosophy shown on the Mazda3’s larger brother.
A lot of thought has been devoted to the interior design of the 2014 Mazda3. Increased cabin dimensions, enhanced technology and improved visibility are all part of riding in the new car. Shoulder room in the front and rear rows is expanded while the rear seatbacks are now two inches taller. Described as a human-machine interface (HMI), great care has been devoted to provide the driver with an effective, safe yet comfortable way of operating the 2014 Mazda3. Mazda’s Active Driving Display will debut on their new compact car consisting of a clear pop-up panel over the instrument cluster posting vital information closer to the driver’s line of sight. Aha by HARMAN radio and an infortainment system incorporating text-to-voice technology will also be available on the vehicle.
Some of the biggest upgrades coming to the Mazda3 in the 2014 model year revolve around SKYACTIV and i-ELOOP. For the North American market, engine power for the 2014 Mazda3 will be derived from the SKYACTIV-G powerplants either 2-liter or 2.5 liters in displacement. The SkyActiv-G 2.5 liter engine produces 184 horsepower and 185 pounds feet of torque making it sharply more potent choice than previous top powerplant on the Mazda3. Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are available configured for optimum efficiency.
Recently debuting on the new Mazda6, the capacitor-based i-ELOOP system will be a high-tech addition to the 2014 Mazda3. Through brake energy regeneration, the i-ELOOP will supply power to electrical components. The system directly improves fuel economy since it reduces the alternator’s workload. An active grille shutter system also assists with enhanced fuel economy by controlling airflow into the radiator.
The 2014 Mazda3 is also available with a set of safety features under the i-ACTIVSENCE banner. Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart City Brake Support, radar cruise control and High Beam Control are part of the i-ACTIVSENCE array of features.
The 2014 Mazda3 will be listed for sale this fall in North America marking the 10th production year to the model name.
Information and photo source: Mazda Motor Corporation