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2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Review

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2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.5

The best-selling model in the entire Mazda lineup, the compact Mazda3 is all new for 2014 and now incorporates the full suite of Mazda's efficiency-enhancing Skyactiv technologies as well as the automaker's latest Kodo styling language. This comprehensive makeover elevates the car to an entirely new level of sophistication and a place on our list of the 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000 for 2014. The stylish sedan now shares much visual DNA with the larger Mazda6 while the Mazda3 hatchback puts a sportier spin on that refined appearance in an even more practical 5-door configuration. Multiple trim grades, two fuel-efficient engine choices and several class-exclusive convenience and safety features make the Mazda3 an even more enticing alternative to rivals like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, and Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

Its 3rd-generation remake has given the Mazda3 a far more engaging personality that encompasses both its visual and functional elements. The new Mazda3 drives as great as it looks, and introduces new technology and safety features not found in any of its current class rivals.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Some buyers may not be ready to fully embrace the Mazda3's new sense of style, while those wanting a compact with maximum interior volume – particularly in the rear-seat area – will likely be happier with one of its competitors like the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla or Volkswagen Jetta.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.5
  • 9.0
  • 7.5
  • 9.2
  • 7.8
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#7

out of 26

Fuel Economy

#7

out of 26

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.9 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

Beyond the 2.0-liter engine in Mazda3 i models, every other meaningful component has been redesigned for 2014. That remake brings better in-car connectivity plus numerous innovative "class-above" touches, highlighted by an available head-up display, Mazda's econo-enhancing i-Eloop system, adaptive Radar Cruise Control, and low-speed Smart City Brake Support.

Driving the MAZDA3
2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions With 2.4 inches of additional wheelbase, wider track dimensions, a stiffer body and a new Skyactiv chassis design, the 2014 Mazda3 feels even smoother and more confident than its predecessor...

... – as well as most of its key rivals. Ride control/compliance, steering feedback and brake response have all been enhanced in ways that see this new Mazda rivaling the Focus for best-in-class dynamic status. And more driver-centered control layouts, better seats, improved cabin isolation and outstanding forward visibility minimize fatigue factors while maximizing driving enjoyment – especially on top-line Mazda3 s versions with the head-up display and touch-screen infotainment system. Enthusiasts will prefer the extra kick of the 184-horsepower 2.5-liter engine, but the even-more-fuel-efficient 155-horsepower base 2.0-liter is quite capable, if a bit less exhilarating.

ACTIVE DRIVING DISPLAY
Standard on all 2014 Mazda3 s models, this class-exclusive, auto-deploying head-up screen sits atop of the main instrument cluster and provides quick, virtual line-of-sight access to pertinent information like vehicle speed and turn-by-turn navigation directions.

i-ELOOP (INTELLIGENT ENERGY LOOP) SYSTEM
Included in the s Grand Touring Technology Package, i-Eloop can improve real-world fuel economy up to five percent. It uses a special alternator that converts kinetic energy normally lost during deceleration into electricity which gets stored in a capacitor that seamlessly metes it out to various vehicle systems as needed.

2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Details
2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

While total passenger volume stays roughly the same, additional shoulder room makes the Mazda3's cabin feel more accommodating, particularly up front. In addition to better materials, improved fits/finishes and more user-friendly control layouts, the redesign sees the first use of Mazda's new "Human-Machine Interface" philosophy. Fully implemented in upline models with the head-up Active Driving Display and high-mounted touch screen, even the base Mazda3 i variants have audio switchgear positioned closer to the driver's line of sight to help minimize distraction. Rear legroom still falls on the low side of class average, but there's still room for a pair of average-size adults.

Exterior
2014 Mazda MAZDA3 photo

Smart styling on the 2014 Mazda3 brings a new level of elegance to the appearance and proportions of both the sedan and hatchback variants, while helping improve their overall aerodynamics. The recast grille replaces the previous "happy face" with a more distinguished character, and repositioned A-pillars improve the driver's forward sightlines. While the base SV and 3 i Sport Sedan come with 16-inch steel wheels, all of the other 2.0-liter cars feature same-sized alloy alternatives that move to an 18-inch upfit on the 2.5-liter 3 s models. The 3 s variants also boast self-leveling bi-xenon headlights and LED-enhanced front and rear lighting elements.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The features roster expands as you move through the Sport/Touring/Grand Touring hierarchy, but even the sedan-only Mazda3 i SV comes with numerous power assists, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering column, push-button start, and a full complement of safety items. At the volume-leading i Touring level, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert join the lineup, while all Grand Touring variants feature touch-screen navigation with a 7.0-inch display, Bose audio, dual-zone climate control, and more. All 3 s models add bi-xenon headlights, shifter paddles and the head-up Active Driving Display, while 3 s Grand Touring variants get leather upholstery, corner-following Adaptive front lighting, and more.

Optional Equipment

Optional equipment on the Mazda3 is modest and trim-dependent. A power moonroof is available on the 3 i Touring, while both the 3 i Touring and 3 s Grand Touring offer their own Technology Packages. The former brings 3 s standards like navigation, Bose audio, a color touch screen and the Commander multi-function controller to the mix while the latter adds Mazda's new mileage-maxing i-Eloop regenerative engine-braking system, auto high-beam control, a lane-departure warning system, and two segment-exclusive features – Radar Cruise Control & Forward Obstruction Warning and Smart City Brake Support that helps prevent or mitigate potential low-speed impacts.

Under the Hood
2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Engine photo

The new 2014 Mazda3 offers two engine choices, both with a Skyactiv pedigree. All i models share the familiar 155-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 used in the 2013 Mazda3. The 2.5-liter found in all s variants cranks out 184 horsepower, as it does in the 2014 Mazda6 and CX-5. While the 2.0-liter is still a capable performer, it trades a measure of enthusiasm for better fuel economy numbers – 41 mpg highway in the sedan and 40 mpg in the hatch with either the 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The automatic-only 2.5-liter won't stretch a gallon of gasoline quite that far, but notably amps up the car's sporting character.

2.0-liter inline-4
155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
150 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Sedan: 29/41 mpg (manual), 30/41 mpg (automatic)
Hatchback: 29/40 mpg (manual), 30/40 mpg (automatic)

2.5-liter inline-4
184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
185 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Sedan: 28/39 mpg (automatic), 29/40 mpg (automatic w/i-Eloop)
Hatchback: 28/37 mpg (automatic), 29/39 mpg (automatic w/i-Eloop)

While not the lowest-cost player in this intensely price-sensitive segment – that honor goes to the 2014 Kia Forte – the 2014 Mazda3 lineup still reflects solid value when you factor in both the content and character of its overall package. The well-equipped i SV Sedan starts under $17,750 and the entry-level 3 i Sport Hatchback starts below $19,750 while at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Mazda3 s Grand Touring Sedan and Hatchback ring in closer to $26,600 and $27,100, respectively. However, adding the Technology Package that brings class-exclusive safety features and the i-Eloop system does bump those numbers by an additional $1,600. KBB.com has yet to establish residual values for the 2014 Mazda3, but based on current figures, this Mazda compact is likely to retain a slightly better percentage of its original selling price than the Cruze or Focus but less than the Civic, Forte and Corolla.

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2014 Mazda MAZDA3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 50 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

After 18 months I love this car more than ever

By on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fuel economy, handles well, infotainment system"

Cons: "None yet"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I drove all the compact hatchbacks, with special attention to those with manual transmissions. I ended up choosing a Mazda 3 iGrandTouring. My reasons at the time were, of all the cars in its class, it was by far the most fun to drive and it got the best fuel economy. While those reasons still hold true true today, now I love it for other reasons. The screen and knob combination quite simply is easier and better to use than any system I have seen on any car, ever. It works so well, with hardly a thought or movement I can check the map, look for the nearest Wawa, get a traffic report, and change the music. The overall style of the car is really nice, both inside and outside. My gas mileage the first year came in right at 36.0 and so far this year is 37.4. Those are the combined numbers, not just highway. And it is so fun to drive, it loves to accelerate and practically jumps into corners. Everything on the car still feels tight, like this thing is really well made for the long haul. Good thing, because I plan on keeping this for quite a while!"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value and sporty"

Cons: "GPS expensive, smaller trunk"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have the 6 speed manual and have loved it. The infotainment system is great, and you can blutooth with your phone to stream audio. I am 6'3' and have plenty of headroom, and my tall friends say the back seat has a lot of headroom as well. I have a roof rack and it works great to haul my canoe and kayaks. I wish GPS came standard, and the memory card is a steep 500 bucks which I am not going to pay. Overall I love this car. It will be intersting to see how long I can drive it without issues. I plan on driving it into the dirt."

A great choice if you want a premium small car

By on Thursday, July 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Driving dynamics, fuel economy, interior comfort."

Cons: "Center armrest too small, no light in glove box."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"2015 Mazda 3 iTouring sedan / 6 sp Automatic If you prefer a firm and controlled driving experience, this is the car for you. Seating position is good for a medium-sized person and seats are comfortable during a long drive (3+ hours behind the wheel). Standard 2.0L engine is adequate but not exciting. Body structure is solid; but it should be as it's brand new. We'll see how it fares over the long haul; I tend to keep my vehicles to 200K miles or so. Initial body hardware/paint quality appear to be very good. Paint finish is uniform but I plan to polish/clay to remove the minor orange peel. Looking under the hood, it appears to be fairly serviceable but low maintenance. There's a timing chain instead of a timing belt; nice to see. I upgraded the horrible audio system speakers and now have much better sound clarity. I plan to put some Eibach springs and Koni shocks to lower the car about 1 in. and provide better handling. For my preferences, this is the best car in its class; I'm really enjoying it."

34 people out of 56 found this review helpful

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