The 2014 Mazda 3 marks the third generation of the compact car favourite. In this redesign, Mazda set out to preserve the car’s traditional strengths – including its everyday practicality, great styling and fun-to-drive nature – while simultaneously improving the Mazda 3 saloon’s overall refinement. The 2014 Mazda 3 is based on the same new lightweight chassis that underpins the CX-5 and midsize Mazda 6 saloon, and sits atop a wheelbase that is 2.4 inches longer than the current model.
Like its siblings, the new Mazda 3 gets the distinct KODO face, featuring the contoured grille and the sculpted signature wing. A line flows out from under the vertically enlarged grille to the sleek headlamps. Their sleek, sharp shape and clean structure is made possible by positioning the turn signals outside the headlamp assembly. Simple, solid character lines, extending back from signature wings and headlamps along the sides of the car, unite at the powerful fenders to emphasise the car’s nimble agility.
The Mazda 3’s hind quarters are parallel to the front in many ways. Like the grille, the muscular tailgate seems to protrude. Borrowing their inspiration from the headlamps, the tail lamps signature, which features sporty round tail light rings and quality two-tone internal finishing, is perhaps best described by the words “zooming away.”
|Coupe influenced profile|
|Comfortable whichever the seat|
Under the new Mazda 3 saloon’s hood is a choice of three naturally-aspirated petrol power plants and one turbo diesel. Their engine sizes range from 1.5-litres to 2.2-litres for the diesel version. Power output figures are quoted from 74kW (100hp) for the 1.5-litre power unit to 110kW (147hp) for the large 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D. Mated to all engines is a choice of two transmissions: The SKYACTIV-Drive (automatic) and SKYACTIV-MT (manual) gearbox.
|LED rear lights|
The new Mazda 3 saloon rides on a perfectly-balanced suspension and offers the driver with a precise steering. Both deliver an exceptionally comfortable yet nimble and reassuring experience. High-tensile steel is used for the lower suspension arms on the front MacPherson struts and rear multi-link trailing arms.
The brakes get smaller cylinders, retuned boosters and reduced pedal play to suppress motion resistance. These improve brake control, responsiveness, and fuel economy. In combination with new high-grip tires, they’re particularly effective on wet roads. Stopping distances are also considerably shorter than the outgoing model.
|Available in a hatchback as well|
The new Mazda 3 saloon’s cabin is leaps better than any previous model. An intuitive, driver-oriented dashboard and console put all the controls in easy reach, so that you aren’t searching around through button arrays or menu screens to accomplish basic tasks. Although your front passenger might be put off by the vast expanse of plastic on that side of the dash, the new interior has a modern, flowing and striking design. The front seats provide great comfort thanks to their mildly sporty bolstering and fine materials.
On top of the dash, the 7-inch touch screen is easily accessed by the passenger or driver, but without distracting the latter from operating the vehicle. Mazda 3 saloon’s luggage compartment offers comfortable access to the abundant capacities of 350 and 419 litres respectively – in both cases more than in the current model. Fold down the rear seats of the hatchback, and there’s 1,250 litres of cargo space.
The new Mazda 3 saloon provides suitable levels of economy and practicality. More importantly, the new 3 adopts Mazda’s newest, more aggressive-looking grille design, which means the 3’s smiling Nemo face is gone. To be honest, we’re not going to miss it.