Launch of 2014 Mazda3: Part 1

Vancouver, BC — A few months ago, I gushed about the exceptional value and thrilling drivability of the new Mazda6. A few years ago, I very nearly bought a Mazda3 Sport—that’s the hatchback. It placed second overall on my final list for its compatibility with our family’s downtown city life: 1) performance 2) space 3) fuel efficiency 4) looks and 5) price.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m very excited to get behind the wheel of the 2014 Mazda3 later today. According to what I’ve read and seen, taking its cues and technology from the 6, Mazda has improved on the first four reasons to buy without harming the fifth.

You choose between 2.0 and 2.5L Skyactive-G engines with automatic or manual transmissions. The former puts out 155hp and 155 lb-ft of torque, the latter 185hp and 185 lb-ft. For the compact market, that’s quite good.  However, they’ve subtracted from 60 to 100 lb in weight, depending on which trim you purchase. That’s very good.

As for handling and space, they’ve lengthened the wheelbase, while trimming the length ever so slightly, stretching the width and lowering the height. The result of these adjustments would be room enough in the back for grownups. For the driver, however, they should mean better road hugging from a squatter table-like shape.

So again, the thrills should increase. Stay tuned.

Between the lighter weight and the much-touted Skyactiv technology, I’m going to keep my eye on the fuel efficiency. They’re reporting a massive improvement of 2.0L/100km in city numbers over the last engine.

The previous generation Mazda3 hatchback had the looks. The sedan? Well, it trumped most direct competitors. But both the 2014 models are sexy little beasts. The sedan looks like the little brother of the gush-worthy Mazda6, while the hatchback borrows lines and moves from old school roadsters.

So join us tomorrow for Part 2, when we actually report on the drive up the Sunshine Coast.

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

Photo courtesy of the author. 

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